If there is one thing that can put your sobriety to the test, it is stress. The world is full of challenges and problems that make a lot of people feel worried, anxious, and stressed. Sadly, stress is by far one of the largest contributors to alcohol and drug dependence.
How do you deal with stress without alcohol?
It’s crucial to learn how to deal with stress without using alcohol or drugs. Although you can’t completely get rid of stress, there are effective techniques to handle it better. If you are currently experiencing emotional and mental stress, here are 5 ways to stay sober and manage stress while under pressure.
1. Practice Positive Thinking and Eliminate Negative Self-Talk.
Some studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking, but this takes a lot of time, patience, and practice. Put positive thinking into practice by:
Mindfulness Meditation. Sit down, breathe. Pay attention to your body and the breath that goes in and out. And notice where your mind wanders. This practice of bringing our attention to our breath and then returning back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness. When you feel anxious and stressed, it is important to stop, breathe in and out, and remind yourself to live in the moment and stop worrying about the future. Mindfulness meditation helps you manage your negative thoughts with a positive attitude.
Grounding Exercises. These are ways that can help you distract yourself from anxious feelings and refocus yourself on the present moment. This is usually done by involving the use of your five senses, which are the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Some examples of this technique are smelling a fragrant flower, savoring the taste of a food or drink, holding a stress ball, or listening to your favorite music.
Gratitude Journaling. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to stay positive in life. A gratitude journal is a diary that you can write in and fill with the list of blessings you receive every day and are grateful for. Get a pen and paper, open a blank document on your computer, or make a note on your phone, and simply start writing whatever comes to mind. Doing this every day will remind you how lucky you are to have gotten this gift called life. It is important to learn to be thankful for everything.
2. Practice Self-Care.
Self-care is the process of giving yourself the best possible attention in order to look after your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. It encompasses all the actions a person can take to handle stressors in their life and to look after their own health and wellbeing. This includes maintaining good personal hygiene, eating healthful foods, and getting medical attention when necessary. Some examples of self-care are:
- Dedicating time for yourself
- Having regular sleep; at least 6-8 hours
- Using skincare and products
- Nail and hair salon sessions
- Having body massage sessions
- Nature tripping
3. Exercise and Release Stress
Almost any type of physical activity or exercise can improve your fitness while reducing your stress. Pick an activity or exercise that you enjoy the most. There are so many activities to choose from, such as walking, jogging, dancing, bicycling, wall climbing, swimming, surfing, weightlifting, yoga, tai chi, etc.
Exercise can help your body cope with stress by simulating its effects by giving your body’s systems practice cooperating through those effects. Any form of physical activity can help you relax, unwind, and ease stress.
4. Go Out and Enjoy
According to the American Institute of Stress, going out 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 that next time you feel overly anxious or stressed, you will have a place to go to. Spending time outdoors on a regular basis, even for at least 15 minutes, will help you lower your stress levels. It will also teach you to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.
5. Share Your Thoughts and Join Our Sober Talk Community
When life gets tough, we often feel alone in our experiences and become desperate for fast relief just to keep going. But alcohol and drugs only make things tougher in the long run. The worst thing you can do while recovering is to pretend that you’re okay when in reality you’re not. Reach out to your family and friends who are aware of your commitment to sobriety. Share all your thoughts and worries. Venting to someone who knows about your struggles can help you see your situation from a new perspective. Talking about the things that are stressing you out can give you instant stress relief.
You can also reach out to trained and compassionate medical professionals for consultations and psychotherapeutic sessions. Try joining support groups such as the Sober Talk community. If you’re still in the process of recovery, it’s important to know that you don’t have to face addiction alone. Sober Talk was created to provide a safe place for people to tell their stories, ask for help, celebrate their accomplishments, share their struggles, and connect with other real people going down the same path.
Stay happy and alcohol-free! Check out our other blogs.