Life throws us many uncontrollable stressful situations. Social conflicts, finances, finding a new job, and worrying about health can be a fork in the road to recovery. The more you stress, the more likely you will place your stress back to the addiction you were trying to get away from as a means to an escape. Stress can touch every major system in our body. Our bodies release hormones made to allow us to react to danger. When threatened, veins tighten to send more blood to major muscles so we can either flee or defend ourselves. The best way to cope with stress to help your recovery is to listen to your body and be aware of stress symptoms.
There are many ways that your body responds to stress that you should recognize. You can go through headaches, back pain, or muscle tension. Your heartbeat can move really fast and can experience a loss of appetite or overeating. A lack of concentration and memory problems can occur as well as irritability and a short temper. Any one of these symptoms or more are warning signs that you must engage in tactics to de-stress yourself.
The first thing you need to do is manage your time. This is useful especially in the first 90 days of recovery. If you have a long list of duties, chores, assignments, and appointments that need to be completed, this will overwhelm you. If you fail to do any of these things when you expect to complete them, you will be more stressed. It helps to clear your schedule as best as you can except for what is important for your recovery like 12 Step meetings and counseling. Spread out your to-do list and only do one or two things a day.
The second thing is to express your feelings with a friend, relative, sponsor, or counselor. Ask these people how to handle setbacks and discouragements. It is best to stay away from those kind of people in your life who do not support your recovery. If you do not feel like talking, write in a journal what is causing you stress and possible solutions on how to calm down.
The third thing is to find out what is stressing you in advance so that you’ll know what to do going forward. Stressful conflicts are temporary issues that come with solutions when keeping your mind open.
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