Reducing Stress in Recovery

photo of a sign post in beautiful green nature that reads You are now entering a stree free zone - reducing stress in recovery - hired power breakawayReducing stress in recovery is one of the most important aspects of sobriety. Having too much stress and/or not discharging stress properly will negatively affect a person’s well-being. Sobriety will not last long if a person’s well-being is compromised. Using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress is no longer an option. Reducing stress in recovery means finding positive ways of dealing with stressful events, beliefs and behaviors in one’s life.

Sources of Stress

Reducing stress in recovery involves looking past the symptoms of stress in order to find the source of the stress. Stress comes from positive events in life, negative events and from one’s own attitudes and behaviors. Once a person identifies the things that are creating stress in his life, he can take action to address them which will contributed tremendously to reducing stress in recovery.

Some positive or neutral sources of stress include:

  • Buying or remodeling a house or making other large but necessary purchases such as a car
  • Empty nest or return of children to the nest
  • Family events such as reunions or holiday get-togethers
  • Getting married
  • Getting promoted
  • Going on vacation
  • Having a baby
  • Moving to a new house or city
  • Starting or going back to school
  • Switching to a new job

Some negative sources of stress include:

  • Acquiring an injury or disability
  • Dealing with a loved one who is struggling with a mental health or physical problem
  • Having legal and money problems
  • Having too much to do, not having downtime or time for self
  • Job stress such as tight deadlines, losing a job or having problems with co-workers
  • Loneliness, grief and losing a loved one through death, divorce, separation or irreparable issues

Personal attitudes and behaviors that can be a source of stress include:

  • Being impatient
  • Being unnecessarily competitive
  • Lacking humor
  • Lacking tolerance for others and other’s views
  • Not being able to own up to one’s mistakes
  • Not being able to relax and enjoy downtime
  • Requiring control over people
  • Requiring perfection
  • Resisting change

Techniques for Reducing Stress in Recovery

When it is not possible to completely remove the source of stress, there are many different types of coping skills and various techniques for reducing stress in recovery. However, not all stress reduction techniques work for everyone, so each person must find techniques that work for him. There are many resources available to teach a person more about stress and handling stress using basic and advanced techniques. A few proven ways to discharge stress include:

  • Changing unhelpful beliefs and self-talk
  • Learning meditation and incorporating relaxation and rest into one’s life, engaging in them consistently throughout one’s week
  • Practicing acceptance towards people and things that are out of one’s control
  • Talking out issues with a trusted friend, mentor, counselor

Taking Stress in Stride

Everyone responds to stress differently. A person might appear to be handling stress well, but over time the stress will have a negative impact on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing if it is not discharged properly. Reducing stress in recovery is critical for maintaining sobriety and makes life’s little, big, positive and negative stresses manageable. The more a person learns and practices stress reduction techniques, the more a person in recovery will be able to take stress in stride and protect his recovery for life.