Everyday millions of Americans face numerous stresses in their everyday lives. We live in a fast paced society with so much on our plate that we often forget that we are people and people need self-care. Not having the proper outlet for stress release can build up our anxiety levels which more often than not tend to take us down a path of unhealthy and even dangerous decisions to help us unwind. Many people rely heavily on drugs and alcohol to take the edge off and this is something that could potentially escalate to levels far beyond our control. There are plenty of healthy ways to relax and deal with triggers in life.
Keeping fit is not just essential for your health but another great to relax. Physical exercise releases endorphin which really help with mood swings, anxiety disorders and triggers which is very helpful when trying to stay sober. You can join a gym and get additional advice on the best workouts and a healthy diet or work out your own. Swimming, playing sports, running and jogging are all great ways to stay fit and release stress. Find out what works for you and incorporate it into your everyday life.
For centuries, people have relied on the calming and healing effects of meditation. It is known to reduce stress, anxiety, depression even alleviate pain. There are two common types of meditation: concentrative and mindful. In concentrative meditation, the focus is on a single image, sound or mantra whereas mindful meditation focuses on all the sounds and images in the mind. Regardless of which one resonates with you, it’s a great tool to try for your relaxation needs.
Practice Controlled Breathing
Breathing is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. Your life literally depends on it. So it’s no surprise that how you breathe is essential to your wellbeing. During times of stress and anxiety, our breathing becomes shallow and even strained. Take some time to sit down and practice controlled breathing exercises for about 5-10 minutes a day. Breath in and out using your diaphragm, clear your mind and just focus on the sound and rhythm of your breathing. It will get easier the more you practice and after a while you will feel a sense of inner calmness and relaxation. You can even try it the next time you’re in between meetings and just need to quickly reflect and relax.
A good book can do wonders for the soul. Whether you want to travel to far away lands or get lost in a spectacular mystery, this is a great way to keep your mind off of your worries. Remember as a child you would get lost in the story for hours at a time, no care in the world? You can still achieve that level of bliss by setting aside time to read a book you enjoy.
Listening to Music
Whether you enjoy classical hits or radio pop songs, a little bit of music everyday is a healthy part of the healing regiment. Music is a universal language and it doesn’t matter what culture or language you connect with, you can just enjoy the song. You can get a small or a large sound system, either way you can relax or work with music playing in the background. It’s a wonderful way to destress. Don’t forget to dance like no one’s watching!
Many people find journaling to be a very helpful in keeping track of their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. It is often referred by therapists as the writing itself is very therapeutic. Some keep their journals others choose to get rid of them once the writing is complete. Through journaling, you can keep track of triggers, breakdowns and even the coping mechanisms you used to deal with them. You can keep the journals private or share them with friends, family even a therapist. All in all, journals are a good way to see how much progress you made or just be an outlet for you to release.
Another trend that is becoming quite popular is floating. It can be done in a pool while lying on your back staring up the sky or at the beach of that’s accessible for you. The sounds and images around you can be relaxing or you can also opt to close your eyes. There are also certain spas that have floating pods which look like tanning beds filled with salt and water to allow you to float while relaxing in a safe setting. Always use caution and stay safe when floating!
Nature is one of the best ways to heal. When you’re in the garden you’re away from the hustle and bustle of city life and this is the perfect opportunity to take some time to connect with yourself. Working with your hands is a great way to deal with triggers particularly if you’re working on staying sober. It was fun to get dirty in the dirt as a child and it’s still fun as an adult. Go out into your yard or around your apartment and find out what area needs some attention. Plant flowers or build a rock garden either way this your time to relax and have some fun.
Spend Time Doing Something that Will Make You Laugh
While we don’t know for sure if laughter is the best medicine it certainly is a great way to release stress. Whether it’s a comedy show or comedy club or just hanging out with family and friends laughter, giggles and chuckles release tension by engaging your sense of humor. What if life is just too hard and you can’t find anything to laugh about. Then you’ll have to work at it. Rent movies, hang out without comedians just try to relax your body and mind and enjoy the moment. Practice laughing like you did when you were a child, freely and without judgement.
Celebrate all That’s Good in Your Life
Celebrate yourself. Celebrate all you have accomplished to get where you are now. You’re a warrior, brave and battle-tested and you have overcome so many obstacles to get to where you are now so take some time to celebrate that. Celebrate alone or with the people you love, celebrate life in the healthiest way you know how. Being cynical and worrying all the time will put you in a destructive mindset and you might feel that you need drugs or alcohol to take the edge off. But you now have so many other tools in your toolbox that you can refer to either one when the stresses of life become overbearing. You don’t need drugs, living your life to the fullest is the greatest thing you can do for yourself.