When someone is recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, stress can be a major trigger. Stress can cause someone in early recovery to return to using substances in order to cope.
Here are ten proven stress relief techniques to consider.
1) Have a Belly Laugh
The Mayo Clinic indicates that laughing relieves the stress response, soothes tension, and helps muscles to relax. If you are feeling stressed, put on a funny movie and enjoy some relief.
2) Take a Deep Breath
A deep breath can lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Studies cited by Harvard also show that deep breathing lowers blood pressure temporarily.
3) Take a Walk or Run
Exercise, even moderate exercise, causes an endorphin rush that can eliminate the feelings of stress and replace them with an overall positive feeling. Mayo Clinic and others have found a direct link between exercise and lower stress levels. Aim for 20 minutes of physical activity at a minimum.
4) Learn Progressive Relaxation
Progressive relaxation involves relaxing from the fingertips to the toes, mindfully relaxing each muscle group at a time, and letting the stress ease from your body.
5) Chew Gum
In a study reported at the 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine in 2008, researchers found that chewing gum improved alertness, reduced stress, and relieved anxiety in a laboratory setting.
By testing salivary cortisol levels in gum chewers, they found that levels were 12 to 16 percent lower than when compared to non-gum chewers.
6) Take a 10 to 20 Minute Nap
Napping in the right time period allows sleep-deprived people to recharge and de-stress.
Dr. Kevin Soden, family practitioner, recommends a 10-minute nap to avoid feelings of grogginess while still enjoying the stress relief benefits of a nap. For those who can’t settle in for 10 minutes, a 45 minute stretch is ideal to allow the body to cycle through the sleep cycle naturally.
7) Practice Aromatherapy
Certain essential oils, including lavender, Frankincense, and rose, have a known stress-reducing effect. The National Institutes of Health published one study that found significantly lower levels of stress among high school students receiving aroma therapy than those receiving a placebo.
8) Drink Hot Tea
Chamomile tea has been used for centuries to reduce stress, and studies have found that chamomile essential oils have a calming effect on the nerves. A study from the University College London found a similar effect with black tea in a double-blind trial.
9) Play Soothing Music
Music that is not too intense can decrease anxiety levels, blood pressure, and heart rates, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Choose a calm, soothing playlist for your phone and have it ready when you start to feel stressed.
10) Play with Your Pet
The University of Maryland Medical Center also indicates that pets reduce stress and provide long-term anxiety relief. As an added bonus, having a pet helps give you another motivation for staying on the path towards full recovery.
The next time you are feeling stressed, check over this list. Try to deal with stress in a healthy way. If you are unable to deal with stress and are considering using substances instead, it may be time to talk to a professional.