Three Essential Coping Skills for a Healthy Life

Three Essential Coping Skills for a Healthy Life

During the addiction rehab process, those who are in recovery learn coping skills to help them manage the stressors of everyday life. Learning to recognize relapse triggers, situations and people that cause emotional ups and downs can help those who struggle with addiction face challenges in healthy ways. One of the most important things to remember when recovering from addiction is that recovery never happens all at once. Recovery is a life-long journey that requires a life-long commitment. To simply stop using your drug of choice is not true recovery, but creating a life that makes not using easier will reduce the likelihood of relapse. Putting the following three coping skills into practice on a daily basis will make your recovery journey easier and give you the healthy life you and your loved ones deserve.

  1. Avoid High-Risk Trigger Situations

Avoiding situations where you are most strongly tempted to use is one of the most important steps you can take each day to protect your recovery. Avoiding people, places and situations that you associate with your former way of life actually shields you from your strongest temptations. During your time in rehab, your psychotherapists and counselors will help you identify your most prominent relapse triggers and why these places or people are so deeply connected with your substance abuse. Once this list is created, you will be able to identify not only specific people, places and situations that contributed to your addiction, you will be able to determine what new situations or locations might be similar enough to derail your recovery. Recognizing the patterns of behavior in others that could cause you to falter in your resolve helps you quickly identify a dangerous situation and remove yourself from it. It’s not that you intend to avoid making new friends or building new relationships, but having certain red flags that help you stop, think, analyze and retreat from potentially dangerous people or circumstance is vital to recovery success.

  1. The Importance of Relaxation

According to Psychology Today, relaxation is important for everyone. However, it is especially important for those working to develop a healthy life free from the control of drugs and alcohol. Stress can be an enormous contributing factor when it comes to the temptation to use again. Stress over jobs, family members and other relationships can often drive those who struggle with substance abuse to drink or use. Physical stress and emotional stress can trigger changes in brain chemistry. This can lead to a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction. Relaxation techniques can reduce stress and help the person in recovery make healthy choices rather than turning to a substance to cope. There are many good ways to relax and reduce stress. Some of these include the following:

  • Meditation – Meditation focuses the mind of away from the stressful situation, ushering in a state of calmness for both mind and body.
  • Time Alone – Sometimes, simply getting away from people and pressure is all it takes to help a person unwind. Being alone with your own thoughts and sorting through them at a pace that works for you takes the pressure off trying to perform on someone else’s timeline.
  • Physical Activity – Physical activity and an increased heart rate actually cause the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s “feel-good” hormones that also promote a state of relaxation.
  • Reading – Reading is a relaxing way to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Reading before bed can help you sleep, and reading in small intervals throughout the day can relax both your mind and your body when stress comes on.
  • Friendship – Healthy friendships can promote relaxation. Having one or two people that you can talk to about your feelings and emotions gives you a safe place to cope without turning to a substance.
  • Humor – The saying that laughter is good medicine is truer than you might think. There are very few things that bring your mind and body back into a state of balance more quickly than laughter.
  • Pets – Caring for a pet reminds you that you are not alone and that something else is depending on you. Stroking a dog or cat can actually lower blood pressure, and knowing you are responsible for another creature can keep your focus outward rather than inward.
  • Good Nutrition – Giving your body the quality fuel it needs to stay strong and healthy can actually help relieve stress. Eating foods high in fat and sugar can actually bring on feelings of depression after the high from consuming them wears off.
  1. The Power of Honesty

Recovery from substance abuse requires honesty. If you are not honest about your level of strength, your emotional health and your cravings, you will not be able to meet temptation head on when it comes. Being honest about your feelings towards friends, loved ones and others involved in both your addiction and your recovery can help you identify positive relationships in your life. It can also help you let go of those people that cause pain and stress. Learning to be honest with your support group and accountability partners can also help you release the burden of guilt for your feelings and struggles along the way. Honesty with yourself and others is cleansing and can help lift the burden you carry.

Finding Help for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline – it’s available 24 hours a day – to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.