The Drug Class Blog

May 04

Manage your stress

Most Substance Use problems are, in some way or other, a reaction to perceived stress.  Recovery is abouts learning how to deal with life on lifes terms.  Here are some suggestions.  Thanks too Lisa S. for the contribution.

 Stress Management Techniques


Today's culture rewards the ‘hustle hard’ and busy mentality. Personal happiness is less important than personal success. As a result, society in general is burned out and struggles with the negative effects of stress, such as high blood pressure, depression, obesity and insomnia. From office politics to tight deadlines and managing family and social lives, there’s never a moment to relax and smell the roses.


When the body experiences stress, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released by the adrenal glands. If there is too much cortisol in the body for a long period of time, the hormone, initially meant to help the body deal with stress, can cause more harm than good. It can make you more prone to stress, anxiety, and even depression. And chronic stress, especially when paired with any of the above, can lead to substance abuse.


That doesn’t mean that you’re destined for substance abuse, of course, especially if you work to manage these issues before they become big problems. Here are five stress management techniques:


  1. Sleep


Sleep is often seen as a necessary evil – something to add to our to-do lists rather than something to make a priority. The truth is that sleep is vital to our mental and physical health, however, and that adults should sleep seven to eight hours per night. According to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC), as many as one-third of Americans do not get enough rest and are dealing with a host of health problems as a result. Why mention this? Well, it turns out that sleep itself is a great stress management technique. Make getting quality sleep a priority and you’ll find stress is much easier to process.


  1. Exercise


Have you ever finished an intense workout and experienced a “high”? Those are endorphins, another hormone, and can be compared to natural painkillers. This hormone helps create a sense of well-being and minimizes pain and anxiety. Exercising for only thirty minutes a day can have a huge impact on your mental health, helping to reduce the stress as you do yoga, walking, running or simply stretching your muscles in nature. 


  1. Take a Break


Sometimes, just taking a step back from the situation that is causing stress helps to alleviate it. If it’s an email, proposal, or assignment, consider doing something that you enjoy for 15-20 minutes before you return to the issue. This might mean watching something funny on YouTube, for example, or calling someone you trust to help clear your mind for a few minutes.


  1. Createa Mindfulness Practice


Creating a mindfulness practice that works for you is not only great for creating mental clarity but is also a good way to get better sleep. Both of these things help you keep your focus on things that you can control during the day. Mindfulness practice can take place wherever and whenever you like. It’s easy to do, too, and includes things like deep breathing exercises and guided meditations.


  1. Write it Down


Sometimes the best way to manage stress is to write it down. Keeping a journal, for example, allows you write down all your thoughts and feelings without stopping. Let all your emotions go on the paper. This will help clear your mind and give you a different perspective on your challenges.







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