Dealing with Stress Without Using Alcohol and Drugs to Cope

One of the reasons many people start abusing drugs and alcohol is due to stress. For those who struggle with alcohol or substance abuse, learning how to deal with stress in a healthy way is incredibly important for maintaining your sobriety. By learning what stress can do to your body and developing healthy coping strategies, you will be better able to face stress head on without relying on drugs or alcohol.

Signs Your Body is Being Affected by Stress

The first step is being able to recognize stress in your life. Sometimes it can creep up on you. By knowing the signs our bodies give us when we are stressed, you will be better prepared to react appropriately. The following symptoms are signs that you are likely too stressed:

  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Racing thoughts
  • Over or undereating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping problems
  • Stomach issues
  • Muscle tension
  • Memory issues

Finding an alternative solution to cope with stress is something you must work actively to do. How you respond to stress is your choice. Creating your response plan is necessary when avoiding your natural impulses to use substances. Here are some ideas for handling stress in your life.

Engage in Physical Activities

Being physical can naturally combat the physical changes that stress brings to your body. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, such as running or aerobics, and get moving. You can also choose activities such as yoga that allow you to focus on your mind and body together. Yoga can be especially soothing because it creates a focus on what is happening in the moment, allowing you to turn off your mind for a while and not think about anything else.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

You can also help reduce the symptoms of stress through ensuring you are living well and developing healthy habits. You should strive to always get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Also, increase your water intake and avoid drinks that contain sugar and caffeine. In fact, reducing sugar in your overall diet will easily get you onto a healthier path in no time!  Making these simple changes will make you feel better, which enables your body to better react when stressful times hit.

Express Interest in New Hobbies

You can also throw yourself into a hobby. Find something you really enjoy. It could be building model ships, knitting, or writing. Find a hobby that lets you completely focus on the task at hand and makes you feel good. When you start to spot the signs of stress, pick up your crafting supplies, pencil, paint brush, whatever it is and get to work on your hobby.

Reach Out for Additional Support

Sometimes dealing with stress on your own isn’t the answer. You may want to find support. It could be a friend or family member you talk with about the stressful things in your life. Talking about your problems can help you to focus on, deal with, or even solve them. If you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with a stressful issue, your support system will also be able to help you identify if your habit has become an addiction.

Are you looking to speak to a third party about the stressful events in your life? Maybe someone who can also help you with substance abuse or alcohol problems? See what our admissions process is like and call us today to enroll in one of our counseling programs!