April 2019 marks the 33rd anniversary of Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Educating children and families about treatment and prevention of alcohol addiction is one of the main goals of the CORA Clinical Services Division at CORA. Alcohol is still the most commonly abused addictive substance in the United States, with stress representing the most cited reason for use. CORA Clinical Services Counselors suggest other ways of managing your stress without drinking. Below are some suggestions.
Writing in a journal allows you to freely express your thoughts and feelings without the fear of judgment. Take some time to write about the situations that are stressing you out. Putting things on paper might help you sort out what is causing you stress, and what you can do to alleviate it.
Studies show that exercise can stimulate and rebalance endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals that reduce pain and elevate mood. Regular exercise helps to regulate your mood in a healthy way. Most importantly, exercise feels good and releases the tension that you might be carrying after a stressful day.
Do things that bring you happiness.
Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to enjoy life, even when things seem overwhelming. Maybe you enjoy gardening or reading a good book. Whatever it is, it is important to continue living your life amidst the stress of everyday life. Also, spending time with the people you love the most can fill your brain with the positive chemicals it needs and reduce stress.
Meditation forces you to focus all of your senses on the present moment. “Stay in the moment” is an old cliché, but a good one! Meditation has been linked to reductions in stress and anxiety as well as improvements in physical health. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a few moments to focus on your breathing and become present at the moment. And if you need a little help (like me), try downloading an application on your phone like Insight Timer or Calm.
Take care of yourself.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, try making the commitment to treat yourself right, rather than finding temporary relief in a drink. A healthy diet, plenty of sleep and a good laugh can go a long way in relieving stress. This can also help you feel more refreshed and better equipped to manage stress as it comes.
The CORA Clinical Services Team including Katie Cardone, Kara DeVoe, Kate Eingorn, and Sharon Gratz, and Sam Weidman contributed to this article.