People turn to substance use for a variety of reasons. Many times, they are looking for something to do for fun, to take the edge off, or to distract them from a more pressing problem. Stress is another common reason people turn to substance use, and there’s a close link between stress and addiction.
However, something that might seem like a quick solution to relax can easily become a much bigger problem. How does stress impact substance use, and what other coping methods for stress can you use instead of having a drink or using substances?
Stress and Addiction
Everyone experiences stressors in life. Important exams at school, big deals at work, sudden job changes, or unexpected loss of loved ones are all things that occur with some regularity. Most people develop healthy coping skills to help them through these hard times, but everyone is susceptible to using substances to cope.
How often do you hear about people pouring a drink at the end of a long day? Sometimes, people turn to other substances as a way to unwind after a particularly stressful event. While it might be harmless for some, using substances to cope with stress can quickly set off a negative cycle.
Stress and addiction is also a two-way street. Substances may help ease the stress for a short period, but they typically make the problem worse over time. Substance use comes with its own set of problems that only worsen as use increases. What might have started as a small inconvenience or even a life-altering experience can develop into a substance use disorder that is far more challenging to overcome.
Developing Healthy Coping Methods for Stress
Instead of turning to substances to manage stressful situations, what are some healthy coping methods for stress you can use?
Go for a Walk
Going for a walk may seem like a simple solution, but getting outside and moving is a great way to clear your mind. You might think you don’t have the time for a walk, but even five or ten minutes of movement can make a massive difference for your mindset.
Write in a Journal
Maybe you kept a journal when you were younger but left the practice behind in childhood. However, journaling as an adult has just as many, if not more, benefits. Keeping a journal provides you with a neutral space to process your thoughts and emotions about your stressors and other difficult situations.
Mindfulness is a helpful practice for anyone, but it’s especially helpful when you’re experiencing stress. Learning mindfulness helps you remember that every experience and emotion is transient, and you won’t feel stressed forever. It may take some practice to develop it, but mindfulness is a wonderful coping method for stress.
Find a Therapist
Finding a therapist is one of the most effective coping methods for stress. A therapist is a fantastic resource and tool for anyone experiencing stress, whether you have a mental illness or not. Therapy is a fantastic resource for both short-term and long-term struggles.
Silver Pines offers a range of programs for anyone needing help with their mental health, and we can equip you with some excellent alternatives to substance use. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer and find out how we can help, call us at 267-719-8689 or submit an online contact form today.