Stay Off Alcohol

There are many reasons a person drinks alcohol. They may do it because they feel it relaxes them; everyone else is doing it; alcohol makes them open up; it numbs physical or mental pain; or any one of many other reasons. In 2011, 51.5% of Americans said that they drank alcohol on a regular basis and found it hard to stay off alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with having a drink now and again, alcohol is not good to use as a crutch. This can lead to dependency.

Alcohol works by increasing the chemical that is responsible for transmitting the pleasure signals from one neuron to the next in your central nervous system. Alcohol encourages your body to relax and actually makes your whole system slow down. This includes your breathing, heart rate and more. This is why some people drink when they are stressed. The drug relaxes them and “loosens them up”.

Ways to Handle Stress To Stay Off Alcohol

There are limitless ways to handle stress which don’t include drinking alcohol. Some of these are as follows:

Identify The Source of The Stress

If you are stressed out, it can help to find out where the stress is coming from. For example, if your job is stressing you out, and you feel you must get drunk in order to forget about it, it’s possible there’s something wrong there. Maybe an associate is claiming your work as theirs so they can get a promotion; perhaps an acquaintance is continuously making snide comments; or maybe a competitor is constantly emailing you about how terrible the company you work for is. Little things can eat away at your nerves and you might not even realize how much it actually gets you down. Take a moment when you are relatively calm and look to see if you have any such situations. Then start to smooth them out through good communication and you may experience a reduction in your stress level.

Take A Walk To Help Stay Off Alcohol

We’ve all heard “go cool off” or “walk it off.” Factually, it’s good advice for stressful situations. It may seem like the last thing you should do when you’re in the fray. Maybe you have a deadline to meet and home life has been troubling – all at the same time. Sometimes it’s best to take a walk and cool off as the first step. Letting your spouse or a babysitter take care of the kids for an hour and taking a walk around your neighborhood will give you a little breathing room and allow you to get your wits about you. Taking a walk is a basic therapy that has universal application.

Stay Off Alcohol By Eating Nutritiously

It’s so easy to just shovel some food down your throat and get going – especially when you’re stressed out. But what you eat will likely affect you physically and mentally all day. Foods that are high in sugars and saturated fats will likely exhaust you later on in the day – making your most active times the hardest to push through. If you take a moment to stop and enjoy a healthy meal, you are more likely to be able to get through your day and come out the other end feeling more relaxed than usual.

Exercise

Stress can cause things like insomnia, heart disease, depression, and inability to focus – not to mention drug or alcohol addiction. Exercise is a proven method of bumping up endorphins, boosting mood, and increasing concentration. It also helps fight heart disease and can help wear you out physically so you can sleep. Less than 50% of Americans exercise regularly and over 70% of Americans report feeling stressed throughout their day.

Deep Breathing

This one seems obvious. But too few people do it. Taking deep breaths oxygenates your body and helps you relax. It’s a fast and healthy way to gain some of the relaxation a beer might give you.

Aroma Therapy

Certain scents have been proven to relax people and make them feel less stressed. The most traditional stress-fighting scent is lavender. Other stress-beaters are citrus fruits, basil, ginger, cardamom, chamomile, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang – funny names for herbs with calming aromas. Sometimes a stress-beating scent can be one that makes you think of happy moments of your childhood – such as the smell of chocolate chip cookies or the scent of mint tea brewing.

Get A Massage

Relieving physical tension can help you view a stressful situation from a different perspective. Massages can be renewing, relaxing, and can even give your energy level a bump after sitting in a chair all day.

Take A Nap

Napping has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress. Taking a nap can reset your mind, relax your body, and help you feel renewed and refreshed. Feeling brighter and more rested will help you tackle stressful situations.

Pets As Therapy

There is some evidence that pet owners have longer life expectancy and are at a lower risk of heart disease. So, play fetch with your dog, pet your cat, feed your turtle, etc. If you don’t have a pet there are plenty of shelters who would welcome your volunteer hours of visiting and walking their homeless animals. Who knows, you might find the perfect pet for you or your family, and help reduce the stress factor in your home.

Express Yourself

Art is excellent therapy. You can write out your frustrations in a journal or made-up story. You can paint or sketch your way through it. You can work through it with ceramics or by knitting. You can take up a musical instrument. Using your hands and creative impulses to express yourself can help relieve stress in profound ways.

Your Anti-Stress Plan

No matter the situation, there are many ways to reduce stress that have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. You can always find a healthy, natural solution to stay off alcohol. These types of solutions help you resolve the stressful issue rather than adding to it. Formulate your anti-stress plan. Each day, engage in some activity that helps reduce your stress level. If you keep this up, you’ll be far less likely to reach for the bottle. Over to you!

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