The following is a guest post by Saint Jude Retreats, an alternative to traditional substance use treatment. Saint Jude Retreats provides a program for people with substance use problems that concentrate on self-directed positive and permanent change. Through the program, we offer the opportunity for individuals to self-evaluate and explore avenues for life enhancement.
Stress. We all have in one form or another and we always will. It’s just a part of life. In the pioneer days, stress was much different than the stress we experience in the modern world. For example, drought was a huge stress factor for the Jamestown colonists in the 1600’s. It caused famine, poor water quality, hostility, disease, and even death. While today, with all of our modern conveniences, we still have stress, albeit a different kind of stress. Some are stressed financially or maybe their job causes stress, and some people’s family lives causes them stress. Still, many of us will turn to alcohol to relieve stress. But, does it? Do those who turn to alcohol to relieve stress actually accomplish the intended result?
More often than not, drinking to relieve stress doesn’t always have the desired outcome and is a very dangerous choice. In fact, in many cases, the negative consequences associated with habitual or excessive drinking only adds to or amplifies the level of stress for people in these modern times. People experience DUI, anger their family members, lose jobs and feel guilty when they turn to the bottle to relieve stress. Certainly, there are strategies and other alternatives different than turning to alcohol that we can implement into our modern lives that can actually relieve stress.
- Exercise: Regular exercise helps us release tension and promotes an overall feeling of well being. Exercise also releases endorphins which makes us feel happy and reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. There are so many options when it comes to exercising such as hiking, walking, running, jogging, weight training, group fitness classes, yoga, dancing, boxing or karate. Next time our modern life’s little annoyances and frustrations start to build up, take your mind off of it for a while with some exercise.
- Hobbies: Every now and then, it’s a good idea to “check out” and distract yourself from the things in your environment that are stressing you out. A hobby can be a great way to accomplish this. Drawing, painting and gardening are some good examples of activities that can relax your mind and are enjoyable things to do. Even cleaning or organizing can help you to change your thoughts for a while and gives you the sense that you’ve accomplished something as well. If you make time on a regular base for your hobbies and interest you will feel more balanced and less stressed.
- Pampering Yourself: Our modern lives are oftentimes very busy and taking care of yourself on a regular bases helps to manage stress. Sometimes a massage or pedicure is all you need to lift your spirits, feel rejuvenated and more emotionally stable. Massage also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and boosts the neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. Massage alleviates pain and lessens anxiety and depression. If your schedule does not allow you to take some time to get a massage, purchase a massage chair for your home. This way, you can put on some calming, soothing music, sit back and relax.
- Positive Attitude: Stress is subjective. What stresses one person out, does not stress another. Much of what we perceive as being stressful is due to our own negative thought process. Always focusing on the negatives causes fear and anxiety. In every situation, there are positive aspects we can focus on. Training our minds to focus on the positive helps to have a positive outlook and attitude, which in turn be a less stressful way to live.
So, the next time your modern life is causing you stress, take a deep breath and remember these strategies before you go to the bar, the liquor cabinet or open a bottle of wine.
Why not do something that will promote and enhance your happiness and relieve stress in a positive way?
For more information on Saint Jude Retreats, please visit their website at http://