Restorations Therapy Blog

Five Things to Do When You’re Feeling Stressed

by on Friday, September 11th, 2020

For those recovering from addiction, stress is a common trigger for relapse. Learning to control your stress in a productive and healthy way is instrumental to your recovery. Here are five things to do when you’re feeling stressed.

1. Exercise

Putting physical stress on your body can actually help alleviate mental stress. Exercise can alleviate feelings of anxiety by lowering your stress hormones, such as cortisol. It also releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that help improve your mood and work as natural painkillers. Exercise can also help improve your sleep, which can also be negatively impacted by stress. Your self-confidence and overall well-being will also improve.

The benefits of exercise are stronger if you exercise regularly. Find an activity that you enjoy such as walking, dancing, yoga, swimming, or rock climbing.

2. Yoga/Meditation

Doing yoga or meditation alleviates stress and can serve as a form of exercise. These activities can help join your body and mind, as well as help you practice mindfulness. Your awareness of your body and your breath will increase, and your mood will improve.

This is made possible by the lowering of your cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure while doing yoga or meditating. The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders—also increases.

3. Deep Breathing

There are several types of deep breathing exercises you can do to ease stress. These include:

  • Abdominal breathing
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Paced respiration
  • Belly breathing

Your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response in your body, is activated during these exercises. It helps fight against your body’s natural fight or flight response to stress by lowering your heart rate, relaxing blood vessels, and slowing your breathing.

4. Listen to Soothing Music

When you listen to slow-paced music or even just the music you enjoy, it helps your body to relax. Good genres of slow-paced music include Celtic, Native American, Indian, and classical music. You can also try mixing nature sounds with the music to bring on an even more calming effect.

5. Laugh

Though it sounds simple, laughing can actually alleviate stress and tension in your body. Long term benefits of laughter also exist, such as the improvement of your mood and immune system. Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with your friends who make you relax and laugh.

Recovering from addiction is a long and difficult process. It can bring on feelings of stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for relapse. However, there are ways to combat these feelings. By engaging in any of the activities listed here or other calming activities, you can drastically change your perspective and mood as you progress in your recovery. For more stress relief techniques or questions about addiction, contact Restorations Therapy at (720) 446-6585.

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