Stressful situations are add spice to life. After all, you cannot appreciate the good without the bad. There are many things in life that can lead to stress, such as problems or situations involving work, family, social life, health, and even just the daily traffic. It is just how you respond to the stressors, whether they are big, small, simple or complex, that define whether you will let life’s challenges get the best of you or you will rise above them all.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
So instead of resorting to drugs or alcohol–which can definitely make you sick or even kill you, sooner or later–why not choose the more difficult, yet more fulfilling route? To stare at stress straight in the face, find a solution, and ride it out–SOBER.
Below are 10 simple ways that can help you deal with stress without the need for medication, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Whether you are just a busy person, someone who wants to minimize chemical dependency, struggling with addiction, or even someone in recovery, these tips can help you cope with the many situations life has in store.
- Take control. Often we are faced with an unexpected situation and it wouldn’t have stressed us so much had we known exactly what to do. We feel powerless over a situation, and this helplessness is what is making us stressed out. So what you can do is to take a minute to assess the situation, empower yourself, and take control. Make a conscious decision to do something about the situation, and set your mind and your actions to solving it instead of just continually worrying about it.
- Be active. When we are idle and bored, this is when many counterproductive thoughts creep in. We think about our problems, and sometimes these problems are just so simple but we just overanalyze them, further causing us stress. Physical activity helps improve mental activity, so go for a walk, jog, do some household chores, garden, just keep your mind off dwelling into dangerous territory. After all, the simple act of doing something, anything, can bring in the feeling. So if you are sad and you don’t feel like smiling, just make yourself smile. It may not solve the problem instantly, but at least you’ll realize that your problems aren’t really as awful as you first thought they were.
- Connect with other people. Sometimes, it helps to just be around other people. Talking to them about your problem, whether or not they give you advice, is helpful enough in relieving stress. You don’t have to get the answer to your problem, but just having someone listen and have you speak about your situation out loud to someone can alleviate your worries and even make you see your problem in a different light.
- Be confident. You may feel stressed about something in your life because you don’t think you can handle it. Stress erodes your confidence and this lack of confidence further makes you even more stressed. It’s an endless cycle, but you can break it by seeing the problem as a challenge. Train yourself to face challenges and overcome them by setting simple goals such as learning a new skill or starting a new hobby. This will make you feel even more confident that when a real challenge comes along, you know you can handle it.
- Reward yourself. We go through each day with the same work-work-work routine that it can really take a toll in your life. Spending too much time at work or being busy with all your other preoccupations means you do not have time for doing things that you really love. Give yourself some time to just enjoy life, even as a reward for your hard work or accomplishments. Don’t deny yourself that pat in the back before you move on to your next task. This energizes you and prevents you from being burned out. Just make sure these little rewards are productive and does not involve substances.
- Get rid of bad habits. Bad habits are bad for a reason. While fun, they don’t actually add anything worthwhile to your life. These bad, unhealthy habits are just crutches in your life as you ignore the real issues that cause you stress. Therefore, ditch these bad habits and learn to face your problems with a clear head and standing on your own two feet.
- Have a positive attitude. Have an attitude of gratitude. When you wake up, the first thing you should do before you get out of bed is to create a mental list of the good things in your life and the things that you appreciate, even the bad ones. Better yet, list down the things that you are grateful for. Stick it on your wall or in your office cubicle, so each time you are feeling down, you have a reminder to keep you grounded. This will help you stay positive and therefore be resilient throughout life’s storms.
- Don’t procrastinate. You are faced with a problem that’s been bringing you down, but you don’t do something about it. You keep putting off what you know you should do because you may be afraid of the solution or you just don’t want to face it. The more that you leave things unresolved, the more it will gnaw at you and leave you restless. It may even cause more problems in the long run.
- Work smarter, not harder. And this doesn’t just apply in work, but in life in general. Practice effective time management, especially at work so that you can minimize the work-related stress that plagues you day in and day out. Work smarter by prioritizing the most important things and leaving behind the least important tasks. This applies in life too, so that you can focus all your time, energy and effort on your goals and easily reduce stress.
- Accept things you cannot change. There are certain situations that come to us but they are out of our control. You need to recognize the things that you can change and those that you can’t. Once you accept that certain things, such as a loved one getting terminally ill, or you getting fired from your work, are out of your hands, then you will be more at peace with your situation. You will learn to let go and move on. It may not be as easy as it sounds, but once you have acceptance, you can focus on things that you have more control over, such as your reactions and your way of coping.
Stress is always there in our life. It is an integral part of living. It is how we let stress affects us that matters. People cope with stress in different ways, and with the wrong perspective on the matter, stress can damage our physical and mental well-being.
Many people resort to drugs and alcohol to cope with stress, and this would have been avoided if the tips below are followed and exercised.
If you are undergoing a stressful situation and are resorting to drug and alcohol abuse, know that there are people who can help you better manage your stress. Talk to your closest and trusted family and friends, meditate, or pray. We are also here to help you with your drug and alcohol problems.