While the past 18 months of life have been exceptionally stressful, let’s not fail to remember that even a “normal” life is stressful. While we were not built to deal with stress long-term, there are many short-term coping methods available to us as we combat stress in our daily lives. Our bodies, in particular, respond to stress in multifaceted physiological ways by releasing chemicals, hormones, and initiating primal reactive behaviors. These temporary solutions aren’t always the healthiest ways to relieve stress, and many have developed unhelpful habits that detract from positive life changes. It has become more common that adults and even minors use alcohol, prescription drugs, and other street drugs – often in combination – to cope with daily life.
There are a plethora of natural, holistic techniques to relieve stress in the body without the use of potentially deadly substances. These activities should become a go-to list for those recovering and living with addiction and substance use disorder. By choosing quick natural ways to relieve stress, you become more able to handle unexpected stressful situations. For those dealing with addiction, being able to maneuver a stressful situation quickly without drugs is essential to successful recovery.
Ways To Relieve Stress Without Drugs:
- Body Movement
- Go for a hike, walk or run
- Play with pets
- Mindfulness Practice
- Listen to favorite music
- Self-care Practice
1. Body Movement
Sometimes taking a brisk walk around the block can be enough to relieve stress. Getting outside and exposing your senses to different stimuli can disrupt the brain enough to overturn a snowball of stress. Getting out in nature for a hike, walk, or run is a great choice to relieve stress without drugs for many reasons. Not only are these activities great for clearing the mind, but your body will appreciate the movement and cardio as well. Making a regular day or time to take a walk or run can even work as a preventative to lower overall stress. So step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view and move your body.
Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to bust stress and find balance. Taking the time to tune into your body and mind can help you clear out emotional stress and become more aware of internal root issues. Having a regular yoga and meditation practice will work much like other regular physical activities – consistency counts. Yoga and meditation also help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, which indirectly will lower daily stress levels. Doing yoga and meditation outdoors can add to the depth of the experience.
2. Play with your dog or cat
Take some time to enjoy the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur. Sitting in a quiet, comfortable space with your pet can lower your stress level significantly. Spending time with your favorite furball can quite literally change your whole mood. Not only is this a quick way to relieve stress without drugs, but your pet will also surely enjoy the attention as well.
3. Mindfulness Practice
Taking part in regular mindfulness practice is beneficial for many reasons, namely, giving you the chance to take a break from your internal narrative and experience a reset. Experiment with your sense of smell. Breathe in strong scents, like that of fresh flowers or coffee beans. Indulge and savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite vacation, like sunscreen or a seashell. Use visualizations. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place. Think of waves crashing on a beach, or a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends. If these ideas fail to spark your imagination, you can always look up a mindfulness meditation on youtube or follow an app that can guide your thoughts.
4. Gratefulness Journal
Start a journal to document things you are grateful for. Carrying a small notepad or book around with you provides a quick way to relieve stress and calm your mind. By jotting down things you are grateful for when stress levels are high, you can change your line of thought. By focusing on positive and good things in your life, the things that are really stressing you out will become less powerful.
5. Self-care Practice
Pamper yourself. Make yourself a steaming cup of caffeine-free tea, give yourself a neck or shoulder massage. Soak in a hot bath or shower. Give yourself a manicure and do a face mask. Taking some time to give yourself a spa-like experience can quickly relieve stress without drugs. Sometimes that little bit of extra attention to self can lift spirits and increase confidence to handle those very situations that are stressing us out.
Life is stressful, we can’t avoid that. But learning to deal in healthy, natural ways will get us a lot further and with a better quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or recovery from substance use, The Haven has a dedicated team to see you succeed at long-term sobriety. Contact us today to discuss your best path forward.