The world is a stressful place, and it’s practically impossible to find a single person on this planet who isn’t worried or anxious from time to time. Unfortunately, stress is one of the biggest factors of alcohol and drug abuse by far. When life gets tough, we often feel alone in our experiences and become desperate for fast relief just to keep going. But substance abuse only makes things tougher in the long run, and many people suffering from addiction end up abusing substances more and more just to try and regain some small level of comfort.
Fortunately, life doesn’t have to be this way. With over 20 million people (over 10 percent of adults) suffering from addiction each year in the United States, you’re not alone in your experiences. Furthermore, with the right addiction treatment program, many people can both obtain sobriety and learn healthy coping skills for addiction recovery that can help them through stressful times.
In the meantime, here are several time-tested techniques you can use to keep stress levels at bay without relying on unhealthy activities for relief:
Use Breathing Techniques
There’s a lot you can do to lower your stress levels in general, and we’ll get to those in just a moment. When your stress levels are spiking in the moment though is when you need the most help, because this is when you are most likely to want to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief, using focused breathing techniques has been shown to help calm you down and bring your stressful thoughts back to a more grounded state. Find somewhere comfortable to sit if possible, and shut your eyes so you don’t have any visual distractions. Take long, deep breathes, focusing on filling your lungs to capacity with air and then slowly releasing it all out. Do this for as long as you need to. Meditation can also help.
Even milder physical workouts have been shown to be almost instant stress relievers. Incorporating regular exercise into your weekly schedule will also help lower your stress levels over time as well as keep you occupied. This is especially important, as keeping busy with physical tasks (like working out) will leave you with fewer “empty moments” where you may otherwise feel urges to use substances.
According to the American Institute of Stress, getting outside and into nature has also been shown to help reduce stress levels almost instantaneously. Try looking up local parks or nature walks ahead of time so you have a destination in mind the next time you’re starting to feel overly anxious or frazzled. Likewise, spending time outdoors on a regular basis will help lower your general stress levels in the long run.
Avoid Stressful Triggers
Does reading or watching the news get you all stressed out? Do you have an exhausting work schedule or a relationship that may be toxic? Some things that stress you out are easy to avoid, while others may take a firmer stance. Nevertheless, it’s important to take steps in reducing your exposure to these stressful triggers. If a relationship (either personal or professional) may be stressing you out constantly, talking about your issues can sometimes help. If it does not, then it may be time to end the relationship and move forward into less stressful situations.
Sobriety is far from the only thing that will help keep your life in recovery stable. It’s all about attitude. Studies have shown that actively focusing on the people, experiences, and objects you are grateful for every day can help you find joy in the little things. With this, stress levels decrease and general contentment wins over. Focusing on things you are thankful for having in life is also a good practice for whenever you do start feeling anxious or stressed out. Some people even make a list of these things and carry it around with them for such occasions.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Reaching out to others and talking through the things that are stressing you out can also prove to be quickly relieving. This is one reason why many people in addiction recovery still attend regular support group meetings and keep in touch with their rehab program. Focusing on building a strong support network of family and friends will also give you people you can rely on as an outlet for life’s problems.
If you’re still trying to reach life in recovery, it’s important to know that you don’t have to face addiction alone. Our team of substance abuse professionals at Soba Texas is here to help you through detox and addiction treatment safely and avoid falling back into relapse. In our luxury treatment center, you can start building the healthy, productive life you deserve. Everyday life will still come with stress, but we can help you learn to cope effectively without turning back to drugs. Get in touch with us when you’re ready — change can start today!