Stress and addiction go hand in hand, which is why effective stress management is a key element in becoming sober. As we mature and grow older, we are forced to take on new responsibilities and we can’t afford to be as careless as we once were. Staying on top of work, keeping up with bills, and staying in touch with family and friends can quickly become overwhelming, and without an effective way to regulate stress, it is not uncommon for people to turn to substance abuse to lighten the load.
While this may provide a quick fix, relying on substances to get you through the day is not sustainable, and can cause you harm in multiple areas of your life. Here are a few healthy ways that can help you decompress and manage stress without running the risk of addiction.
Exercise to Reduce Stress
Getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping is a proven stress reducer. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 14% of Americans already rely on exercise to reduce their stress levels. Vigorous exercise releases endorphins that lift your mood and give your brain a break.
Start Healthy Eating Habits
In terms of mental health, you really are what you eat. The food that you consume has a direct impact on how your body responds to stress. If you are living a stress-filled and busy life, greasy fast food may be the most convenient option for you but finding a healthier alternative can be a real game-changer. Processed sugar and oily foods have been shown to amplify the physical effects of stress. Going grocery shopping and planning out your meals for the week might feel like a big to-do, but your body will thank you for it later.
Breathing Exercises and Mindfulness Meditation
At one time or another, I’m sure all of us have been told to slow down and take a deep breath. This is because your body has a built-in calming device that is activated by deep and steady breathing. By steadying your breath, you lower your heart rate and bring your parasympathetic nervous system to a state of greater relaxation. Many people pair this kind of breathing exercise with mindfulness meditation. Recent research at Harvard has shown that this form of mediation relieves mental and emotional stress.
Many people find that spending time in nature can be very calming and restorative for them. While it may be difficult to peel our eyes from the endless scrolling of our smartphones, our connection to nature runs deep. The earliest humans were hunters and gatherers, so it is not surprising that many of us feel relaxed and at home on nature trails and away from the buzz of the city.
Find a Hobby
A hobby is anything that you enjoy doing. Whether it is going fishing, making art, or playing an instrument, finding things that you enjoy and doing them is a great way to relieve stress.
Talk about Your Problems
Dealing with everything all on your own is not the best way to handle stress. People that recover from traumatic and stressful life events often succeed because they had people that they could lean on. Talking about your problems with a trusted friend or counselor can lower your stress levels, give you a different perspective and provide you with a sense that you are not going through this alone.
Get Help Today With American Treatment Network in Dover, DE
Making the decision to get help can be a difficult one. Here at American Treatment Network, our mission is to help those whose lives are affected by addiction. Dealing with the pressures of everyday life can be difficult, but we are here to help. At American Treatment Network, we have a four-step process to help any individual dealing with substance abuse take control of their future. We have American Treatment Center locations in Dover, DE, Newark, DE, and Havertown, PA. If you want to know more about how drugs affect the body or if you need help finding new ways to cope with stress, don’t hesitate to reach out.