Pretty much everyone has experienced anxiety from time-to-time. It’s one of those emotions that can creep up on you before you realize it. While there is no way to 100% curb your anxiety in life, there are some powerful strategies available. As you stay sober, you’ll start understanding that coping with it is half the battle.
Anxiety is a Normal Emotion
A lot is going on in the world to feel anxious about. You can’t let yourself freeze in place because of these feelings. Anxiety can do a lot of damage to your daily life, and you may start to think yourself into a dangerous situation. After all, the disease of addiction is primarily a disease of the brain. It wants you to self-destruct. Staying focused on your recovery, and learning new tools is essential.
It’s a hard time in the world right now. But you’ve made it through other hard times, haven’t you? And you now have the support you need to make it through challenges. Don’t you let your fears take control of your recovery. Start taking control and trying to manage it before it takes over. Before all else, know that you can always pick up the phone and call somebody in recovery if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Methods of Coping With Anxiety
While this too shall pass, when it comes to anxiety, it may feel like the moment lasts a lot longer than it does in reality. Learning to cope with stress will help you have a plan when you feel overwhelmed.
- Keep a worry box. Write down the things that you’re worried about, and then place them into the box. If you have a higher power, this can be symbolic of turning your worries over to them.
- Learn breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can help you regulate your anxiety in-the-moment. So many people forget to breathe freely when they’re anxious. This can cause your blood pressure to go up, which will also fuel your anxiety.
- Get some sort of physical activity every day. Exercise helps release natural feel-good hormones, calming your emotions, and also regulating your blood pressure. Ideally, get 15-30 minutes of physical exertion daily.
- Stretch tight, sore muscles. In addition to restricted breathing, anxiety often manifests itself through tightened muscles. Some people tighten their muscles in response to emotional stress, causing a physical toll on the body. If you’re going through stress and feel an aching back or shoulders at the end of the day, try stretching in the morning or the evening. Make sure there is a back exercise in your routine.
- Try doing something creative that you enjoy. This could be painting, drawing, or building something with your hands. Your mind relaxes when you’re doing tasks like this. Let your spirit flow free and “zone out” for a half-hour or more a day.
Walking through your fears isn’t always easy. However, as a person with a substance use disorder, you’ve already proved you are brave and resilient by getting and staying sober.
Don’t worry if what you try doesn’t work the first time – use the above items to practice until you’re feeling more confident.
Life is a journey and not a destination. Right now, you may have a lot of worries or fears. But you’ll take each of them as they come. Just focus on coping and staying sober, one day at a time.
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