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Stress and Relapse

Stress and RelapseThe truth is that there are a million reasons people relapse during recovery. Loneliness, depression, peer pressure- these are all common enough and they have something in common – stress. Reasons aren’t why people relapse. Stress is why they relapse.  Reasons are just the names people give their stressors.

Learning to deal with stress in a healthy way is an important living skill that will make all the difference between success and failure of your recovery.

Exercise the stress away

The number one way to beat stress is to work it out physically. Exercise relieves stress and gets those feel-good hormones pumping. Because of this, exercise can be addictive. The upsides to an addiction to exercise is better health, more energy and no time for stress!

  • Dance your cares away
  • Walk, walk, walk
  • Join a gym
  • Learn a new sport
  • Play with your kids

Become socially active

Loneliness is stressful. Alone time can be good for self-reflection but too much alone time gives you too much time to convince yourself to use too. Instead of looking for social occasions that inevitably lead to using, find ways to stay socially engaged without it.

  • Volunteer
  • Have lunch with friends
  • Go to the movies
  • Use social media to keep in contact
  • Go for a walk or to the gym
  • Take classes
  • Join clubs
  • Get involved with church or community

Avoid stressors

Stress is unavoidable. It’s in every aspect of our lives.  However, some things cause more stress than others and avoiding those situations is just a matter of changing the habits that lead to them.

  • Learn to say no
  • Stay clear of stressful people
  • Make an effort to avoid stressful situations

Practice Flexibility

There are things in life that cannot avoid. Many of these will cause stress.  Once you identify a stressor that can’t be avoided, learn how to bend instead of break.

  • Express your feelings
  • Compromise instead of control
  • Give yourself enough time

When it won’t change: Adapt

When you can’t avoid it or change it, learn to adapt to it.  Many of the situations that you find stressful can be dealt with by simply examining them and deciding that they are not going to change, therefore you must change how you deal with them.

  • Reimagine your situation
  • Get some perspective
  • Be realistic

“Accept the things you cannot change”

This particular line of the serenity prayer is one of the most powerful things you can ever learn to do in this lifetime.  The truth is that the only thing you genuinely have control over is yourself and even that takes work.  With as much focus as you have to put into keeping yourself in check, why waste time and energy on things you have no control over whatsoever?

  • Accept the things you have no control over
  • Find the silver lining
  • Forgive
  • meditate

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