These stress management tips can help you stay calm and prevent stress-related relapse.
Managing stress in early recovery is one of the most important considerations for relapse prevention. Stress is a risk factor for developing an addiction, and stress in recovery can quickly lead back to drinking or using drugs as a form of self-medication. But while drinking or drug use can seem to reduce stress in the short-term, it actually worsens it in the long-term, increasing your body’s natural stress response and making it more difficult to cope with stressful situations. Here, then, are some stress management tips to help you with effectively managing stress in recovery.
Meditation has become a mainstream practice for helping to treat a wide range of conditions, including physical pain and mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and addiction. Meditation has been shown to not only reduce stress on the spot, but also change the way your brain and body respond to stress in the future. Many high quality treatment programs, including WhiteSands Treatment, offers meditation as a complementary therapy for managing stress in early recovery.
Yoga, like meditation, not only helps reduce your stress on the spot, but it also helps you better weather stressful situations that come up during your day. Yoga is the practice of breathing and movement, and in addition to reducing stress, it increases body awareness and promotes mindfulness in recovery. Yoga is another popular treatment therapy high quality programs use to promote managing stress in recovery.
One of the best stress management tips in recovery is to get plenty of exercise each day. Exercise immediately reduces blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and it promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals that leave you feeling calmer, happier, and enjoying a higher sense of wellbeing.
Stress can come from any number of sources, including finances, relationships, your job, and the kind of acute stress that comes from running late, forgetting something important, or having a lot on your plate and not enough time for everything. One of the key stress management tips offered in treatment is getting ahead of your stress by controlling as many stressors as you can.
Make a list of the things that cause you stress, and ask yourself what you can do to reduce them. For example, if your relationship causes you stress, consider couples therapy. If your job causes you stress, find ways to mitigate it, or look for a job that’s less stressful.
Eat healthy food.
A nutritious diet promotes healthy brain and body function, and this includes reducing your stress. Healthy food promotes the release of serotonin and other feel-good brain chemicals that leave you with a sense of calm and wellbeing, and it increases your energy levels so that you can deal more effectively with the stressors in your life.
Strive to eat a healthy diet that consists mostly of plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Avoid excessive sugar and processed foods that can interfere with healthy brain function and leave you feeling lethargic and bloated.
Deep breathing reduces cortisol blood levels on the spot. Meditation and yoga both involve being aware of your breath, but deep breathing alone can be an effective way to reduce acute stress and calm your nerves so that you can think more clearly and feel less anxious in a matter of minutes.
The 4-7-8 breath is an effective breathing exercise for reducing stress. Sit quietly, and inhale through your nose to a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of seven, then exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound, to the count of eight. Repeat this a few more times until you feel calmer.
Managing stress in recovery is essential for success. Whenever you feel stressed or anticipate a stressful situation coming your way, take the time to follow one or more of these stress management tips. You’ll find that reducing your stress helps keep cravings at bay, improves your mood, and increases your quality of life–and your motivation to stay in recovery for the long haul.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.