Today is National Stress Awareness Day.
Little daily stressors add up and have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Today is meant to help people identify stress and reduce its negative effects.
International Stress Management Association defines stress as “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.”
It doesn’t matter your age, your location or what field you work in, everybody stresses out. When feeling overwhelmed, some of us have trouble telling that we are feeling stressed.
Unmanaged stress has many short-term impacts. This list includes: energy loss, headaches, muscle tension, aches and pains, insomnia and loss of sexual drive.
Long-term impacts of unmanaged stress include depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and more.
There’s also evidence that unmanaged stress and anxiety increases one’s vulnerability to develop addiction. Between 6-8 percent of the general population has post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the National Institute of Health, 46.4% of that population have comorbid alcohol or drug use disorder.
Identifying stressors is one thing, but dealing with them in a healthy and productive way is another. For many, turning to risky behaviors like drinking large amounts of alcohol, using drugs or having unsafe sex are escapes. Stress and addiction go hand-in-hand.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says both men and women who report higher levels of stress tend to drink more than their counterparts.
While these behaviors might cause temporary relief, indulging them will ultimately make the symptoms of stress worse. They will probably only create more stressful situations.
If work, money, family or relationships are sources of stress, try these activities to stop stressing.
It might seem trite to have someone tell you to sweat it out as a form of stress reduction. But there are good reasons for why it is suggested to stressed-out folks so frequently. Exercising releases endorphins which feel good not only in the moment, but also can increase self-esteem in the long term.
Exercise can work as either a stress reliever—taking away the edge after a long day of work—or a stress inoculator—getting the endorphins flowing early to prevent stress.
Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
Stress can arise from poor communication, and so can drinking habits. Whether at work or in our relationships, bottling up what we want to say causes stress. By withholding our feelings we might act aggressively, letting those bottled emotions turn to anger. More stress ensues.
Like exercise, being assertive helps build self-confidence and self-esteem. Creating an open and honest communication exchange with those around you. Increasing the chances of agreements and win-win situations prevents stress in the future.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Meditation isn’t only for hippies. At least it shouldn’t be.
Practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation is a great form of stress reduction. Sit in a comfortable, upright position and pay close attention to your breaths. This can lower your heart rate and slow down your stream of thoughts. Repeating affirmative thoughts to yourself during meditation practice can also help build self esteem.
Build a Nurturing Community
Talk to someone besides yourself.
Create a supportive community of friends, family and even trained professionals like a counselor, therapist and psychiatrist. This team can help you cope with stress by letting you confide in them. Being exposed to stress causes us to feel unwanted burden. Sharing that load minimizes its effects.
Reduce Stress, Stop Drinking and Drugging
Turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with stress is not a sustainable solution. Having a substance use disorder will make managing levels of stress worse. Whether you are using alcohol, prescription drugs, methamphetamine, opioids or heroin, it is important not to try to detox on your own.
There is help.
At Atlanta Detox Center, our staff’s expertise in substance use treatment and co-occurring mental health disorders allows us to address not only our clients’ physical needs while detoxing but provide premier treatment for suppressed emotional or mental conditions. We can help build the physical, emotional and mental foundations to launch our clients into a successful life of recovery.
During treatment, you or your loved one will complete a personalized plan of action. Our team consists of licensed professional therapists, behavioral health technicians, and a 24/7 nursing staff. We will help you return to a place of peace. Then, you can allow yourself to build a brighter future.
Atlanta Detox Center is one of the Amatus Recovery Centers, a division of Amatus Health. ARC offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders in facilities across the country. To learn more visit amatusrecoverycenters.com.