Managing stress is an everyday issue. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking a short walk or finding time to sit down and relax. But if you suffer from addiction, stress can trigger urges or, worse, a relapse. How you handle the stress in your life makes a critical difference in your recovery.
Just like with any skill, you must practice and refine your ability to handle stress. More importantly, learn to recognize the warning signs indicating unhealthy coping mechanisms. There are many techniques that can help manage your day-to-day tension, and in this article, we will explore some of them.
Step one: Self-assessment
Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself. Take daily stock of your feelings. This includes sadness and anger, but also happiness and confidence.
Even if you’re feeling low and don’t even have the will to get out of bed, take a moment to write it down. It is helpful to verbalize your feelings to go over them later, and keeping a record can identify patterns in mood and behavior.
If you have never made a personal journal before, now is a good time to start.
Step two: Help someone.
We often wallow in our own problems and blow them out of proportion. To gain some perspective, or simply to have a small way to escape, reach out to others in need.
Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter. Get out there and contribute to your community. The productivity can help uplift your mood and outlook.
Not only that, but you may end up helping someone else in the process.
Step three: Physical Exercise.
Even something as small as a daily ten-minute walk can do wonders on your mood. It has been proven time and time again that exercise comes with numerous health benefits.
It’s not only good for your body but also good for your mind. Consistent exercise, no matter how small, helps reduce stress levels and is a healthy way of coping with long-term stress.
Step four: Create something.
If you haven’t exercised your creativity muscles, it’s time to wake them up. Finding a creative outlet can help you relax and may even give you a new way to express how you are feeling.
Contrary to what you may have heard throughout your life, we all have a creative side. If you have not exercised your creative muscles in a while, it’s time to wake them up. Find something creative you enjoy doing – you don’t even have to be good at it. As a matter of fact, it helps if you are a novice in this endeavor.
Here are some suggestions for people struggling with ideas: drawing, painting, photography, music.
There are endless ways to create something, so find a medium that suits you. These are only a few examples. If all else fails, look back at step one. Writing is a creative exercise, even if it’s writing about how you feel. The goal is to find something that helps you relax and explore alternative methods of self-expression.
Step five: Be calm and quiet.
Some people pray. Some meditate. Some simply sit still to find peace within themselves. It is important to have quiet time for yourself, especially in today’s busy world.
Every day, make time to turn off your electronics and find a quiet place to sit and be still. Examine your innermost thoughts and feelings. The world can be loud and sometimes hostile, and taking a break from the cacophony of life is a way to relax.
Take the opportunity to find peace within yourself whenever you can. Take deep, even breaths for a few minutes. Clear your mind and become calm.
I sincerely hope these suggestions help you in coping with the stress levels in your life.
Remember, managing long-term stress is not a sprint but a daily process. Doing even these small things every day can reduce your stress over time.
But remember – when it comes to your health, there is no shame in contacting a healthcare provider for help. While these methods can help you deal with your stress, sometimes things are too much for you to tackle on your own.
If you feel overwhelmed or helpless, you are not alone. There are professionals waiting to help you.