acquiesce - February 16th, 2022

Methods to Prevent Resorting to Drugs in Times of Stress

Stress is our body’s natural response to pressure and it is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or when we feel like we have little to no control over a situation. 

Some stress can benefit us, helping us to take on and master new challenges or saving our lives in a fight or flight situation. Too much stress, however, can take its toll on our mental and physical health and, for those with a drug addiction, can be a major trigger for a relapse.

In this guide, we’re going to be looking at ways in which you can avoid resorting to using drugs during times of stress.

Identify the Source of the Stress

If you find yourself feeling tense or stressed, the first step you should take is to work out what it is that’s getting to you. Is it an upcoming deadline for work or school? An untidy home? An argument with a loved one? Being able to pinpoint what it is that’s causing you to feel stressed can help give you a better perspective and feel less overwhelmed, especially if you know there is a solution to the problem. 

From here, you should try to think about the ways in which you can resolve the situation if possible, which should help you to have a more clear mindset and goal to accomplish.

Sometimes, however, there are times in our lives when there isn’t an obvious reason for why we feel stressed. It can often be a culmination of much smaller things, or it can be due to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. More recently, many of us have felt particularly stressed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and all of the uncertainty surrounding job security, staying well and seeing our loved ones.

If this is the case, there are some steps which you can take in order to minimise your stress. Let’s take a look…

How to Handle Stress in Healthy Ways

1. Eat and Drink Well

Whilst the connection between our diet and mental health is complex, research has found strong links between the things we eat and how we feel. This is because of the way your brain and gastrointestinal tract (often called the ‘second brain) interact with each other.

Eating healthier food and maintaining a good diet promotes the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, which in turn positively influences the production of neurotransmitters which help to combat stress. On the other hand, a diet that is filled with processed unhealthy foods can cause inflammation of the gut which negatively impacts the production of neurotransmitters and in turn lowers your mood.

Sugar is a common culprit of this type of inflammation and feeds the bad bacteria living in your GI tract. This causes a temporary spike in feel good transmitters such as dopamine, however, a sugar rush is fleeting and is often followed shortly by a crash, causing you to feel down and stressed.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercise has also been proven to be a powerful stress reliever as it releases endorphins- the natural substances that help you feel better. If exercise isn’t already part of your regular routine, you may wish to start with something simple such as going for a walk after work or going swimming.

3. Stop Using Tobacco and Nicotine Products

Many people use nicotine in order to relieve stress, however, nicotine can actually make us more stressed by reducing the body’s blood flow and breathing. Not to mention, smoking has numerous long term side effects which significantly impact your health and can therefore lead to more stress.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Taking time out of your day to relax can help you to manage stress and improve your mental wellbeing. There are a number of relaxation techniques for you to try, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Nowadays, there are plenty of sites, videos and apps that you can access from your phone to guide you for free.

5. Get the Right Kind of Support

If you find yourself feeling incredibly overwhelmed to the point where you worry you may relapse, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Acquiesce, we provide a programme and treatment which can help you develop better skills and techniques for managing stress and preventing relapse.

For more help and information, get in touch with a free confidential consultation on 01204 771940.

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