If you’re an adult in the United States, chances are that you’ve experienced stress at some point in your life. We’ve all been stressed before, and we can sometimes try to relieve this stress in unproductive and potentially dangerous ways.
When someone feels stressed, it’s normal to want to reach for a beer or puff on a cigarette. But if someone gets used to coping with stress in this way, it can become a problem. So how can you relieve stress without engaging in unhealthy habits? We put together a list of our favorite ways to successfully ease stress without drinking alcohol or using substances.
Signs That You Might Be Stressed
Life is full of everyday stressors. Work deadlines, financial obligations, family responsibilities, health concerns, and more stressors can pile up and make people feel overwhelmed.
When people feel stressed, they may begin to get frustrated or irritated more easily. They are also likely to have nervous energy, hold tension in their bodies, have a racing heart, experience chest pain, have insomnia, and display a flight-or-flight response in stressful situations.
Unhealthy & Dangerous Stress Relief Methods
Stress can have a negative impact on both the body and mind. Nobody wants to feel stressed, so they might reach for whatever can eliminate this feeling right away. This could result in developing unhealthy habits and responses toward stress. These habits include coping with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much caffeine, consuming tobacco, or eating too much food.
While these “stress-relief methods” may feel good in the moment, they will make you feel more stressed down the line. Instead of reaching for a bottle or cigarette, consider coping with stress in a more effective and healthy way.
10 Tips for Naturally Relieving Stress
Here are some ways to naturally relieve stress without drinking alcohol or using drugs:
- Implement an exercise routine – walk, jog, bike, swim, or do yoga.
- Listen to or create music. Don’t be afraid to move around & dance!
- Get creative and try new hobbies like painting, sewing, or gardening
- Meditate regularly and try to clear your mind. Practice mindfulness daily.
- Spend time with friends and family. Try to laugh and enjoy yourself more.
- Surround yourself with animals and furry friends.
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night.
- Keep a journal and write down your thoughts.
- Minimize phone use and screen time.
- Try herbal teas or supplements.
While it might seem difficult to hop into these healthy habits, it could be easier than you think. Try to prioritize your mental health and work at least one stress-relief method into your daily routine. Once you’re comfortable with practicing one of these habits per day, you’ll have a better idea of when to set everything aside and focus on relieving your stress.
Living A Stress-Free, Drug-Free Life
Even though these stress relievers can be very successful, they may not work if they always stand alone. Stress can also go hand-in-hand with mental health issues like anxiety disorders, so further treatment may be required.
If you’d like a little extra help with relieving stress, you’re encouraged to consider counseling. By talking one-on-one with a trained mental health professional, you can discuss the stress-relievers you’re using and determine which ones work best for you.