Why do people drink excessive amounts of alcohol, day after day, to the extent they lose their jobs, their friends and their relationships? Chances are – they drink because of stress. As mentioned in a previous article, in the first stage of alcoholism, people with drinking problems use alcohol to unwind and relax after a stressful day, or to numb painful memories or emotions that cause them to feel tense and out of balance.
Photo Credit to Jenny Morros
Rather than continuing with this misguided attempt to manage stress with an addictive substance, there are many other healthier ways to keep your stress level in check. Although you may feel like drinking is the only way to handle unpleasant feelings or difficult life events, it is most definitely not.
There are many different quick stress relief strategies out there but the key is to find one that works best for you and helps you calm down when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This is important so that you don’t fall back on your addiction to alcohol to cope. Once you’ve learnt to effectively deal with stress without turning to the bottle, facing strong feelings will not seem quite as intimidating or overwhelming.
Some suggestions for stress-relieving strategies :
- Exercise. It’s a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress and promotes emotional well-being. Walk in the park, swim in the local pool or jump rope.
- Sun up! Step outside of your cubby hole and savour the warm sun and fresh air. Don’t stay cooped up all day.
- Yoga and meditation. I personally find these excellent ways to relieve stress and find balance in my life.
- Get a pet. Play with your dog or cat, the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur is therapeutic.
- Music. Switch off the lights and put on calming music of your choice.
- Aromatherapy. Light a scented candle, burn some aromatherapy oils or get a massage with scented oils. Scents such as lavender have been proven to have a calming effect.
- Visualise. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach with swaying palm trees. Or conjure up a fond memory, such as time spent with friends, or winning a prize in something.
- Massage. Book yourself a full-body massage if you can, or a neck or shoulder massage will suffice. Massage is proven to have a therapeutic effect on our minds and bodies.
Got any special stress-busting strategies of your own? Do share them with our readers below!