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How To Cope With Stress Without Illicit Drugs Or Alcohol Use


Lengthy periods of stress can have serious health implications. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety or depression in your mental health. If a person develops depression during treatment, they can resort to illicit drugs or alcohol use.

Stress can lead to drug use, but can also inspire individuals to pursue recovery care, according to an opioid dependence and diversion survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Many other studies show that after a time of abstinence, stress may cause relapse.

Drugs such as cocaine stimulate the brain’s stress mechanism and strong “reward centers”. Without drugs or alcohol, you can learn to cope with stress. Here are eight ways that can help you relax without relying on anything else.

1. Recognize Your Source of Stress

Think about what is stressing you out now. If you can identify your source of stress, whether it would be searching for a job, not being able to do household cleaning during your busy schedule, or reeling from an argument with a loved one, you can get insight and control over it.

2. Control Only What You Can

You cannot control all stressors, but you can control some factors. If you are getting stressed about job searching, you can work on it for 1 to 2 hours at a time and take breaks or ask someone for job search advice. Make time for chores by breaking down your chores into smaller cleaning tasks  throughout the week rather than sacrificing one day from your weekend for cleaning.

3. Create Healthy Boundaries

You cannot be vulnerable to more stress without creating or protecting your personal boundaries. You can say “no” sometimes and protect your time. Saying “no” sounds tough, but you realize that people are not easily disappointed as you might believe and you prevent adding stress.

4. Keep Perspective and Take Mental Breaks

In tough times, it is necessary to bring stress into perspective and rest your mind. Find relaxing ways to overcome stress if you are a perfectionist. Avoiding stressful situations at work or home can be beneficial for your mental and emotional health.

5. Eat Balanced Meals

Eat nutritious meals to sustain a balanced diet. It is important to get good nutrition for recovery. A well-balanced, high nutrition meal and energy-enhancing snacks may lead to mood change. Caffeine and alcohol can also intensify distress and trigger panic attacks. Proper eating, sleeping well and staying healthy will help people cope with stress.

6. Enjoy Your Favorite Hobbies

Do things you enjoy whether you are cooking your favorite breakfast, playing guitar, or watching your favorite movie or TV show. Singing, chatting with a loved one on the phone, or reading a book can help you refresh and relax from stress.

7. Write in a Journal

You can help to cope with stress by writing your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a journal. People in recovery often use journals to sort through their feelings about their difficulties, relationships, and events. You may, for example, write about the lessons learned from a therapy session or how to avoid triggers every day.

8. Make Time to Exercise

A 15-minute lunchtime stroll at a nearby park or a half hour tending to your garden can help ease stress and to get out of your head for a while. It does not have to be strenuous. Playing basketball or walking the dog is good enough to boost your mood.

9. Remember to Laugh!

Laughter is a fantastic way to relieve stress. Laughter eases stress, releases any tension, and invigorates your heart, lung and muscles. Not in the mood to watch a comedy sitcom or movie? If not, maybe you can find something funny online. The Internet is full of funny images, memes, and blogs.

10. Do Not Add Unnecessary Stress

Positive health habits can influence the impact of stress. It’s helpful to get enough sleep, have breakfast before starting work, and control your consumption of caffeine. Minor things can stress you out more, but you can avoid them by taking care of yourself first.

Stress can contribute to substance addiction. Stress and the way the body responds play a part in a person’s vulnerability to alcohol and other drugs. The choice to seek treatment and the chances of recurrent recovery can affect our stress response.

We urge you to read more about our counseling services if anyone who you know is dealing with substance addiction and alcoholism. Talk to a professional about your stressors and coping mechanisms.

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