One of the contributing factors to a developing addiction is the use of substances as a means to cope with life. When a person begins to over and over again rely upon their drink or drugs to feel better, then the foundation for addiction is slowly developing.
When there is stress, tense emotions, physical or emotional pain, mental health symptoms, or other experiences that make life challenging, it’s common to turn to drugs and alcohol.
Avoiding Stress and Relapse Is Important for Recovery
For this reason, having tools to relax both the body and the mind can ease the experience of recovery. When a person knows the experience of relaxation, it becomes easier and easier for them to continue using tools of relaxation to avoid stress and relapse.
Interestingly, mental health experts have discovered that the ability to manage stress is the same ability to manage challenging emotions. Stress and difficult emotions are experienced in similar ways and require techniques of relaxation in order to help better manage them.
There are a variety of relaxation tools to learn in addiction treatment, all of which can help a recovering addict better cope with stressful moments in life and therefore avoid a relapse. For instance, the following are tools for relaxation:
Practice Deep Breathing
Taking a few minutes in the morning to breathe deeply can create a sense of relaxation before you begin your day. Then, if and when the day gets stressful, either at work or in the middle of driving on the freeway, you can take a deep breath and allow the relaxation to soothe the racing thoughts and calm the muscles.
Developing an association with deep relaxation and breathing can easily create a sense of calm and peace even in the middle of a stressful moment.
Practice Yoga or Meditation
Just like deep breathing can make you feel better in the moment, a regular practice of relaxation, such as yoga or meditation, can help you relax over time. Yoga is a practice of putting the body into various positions that promote flexibility, strength, and endurance.
Meditation is the experience of placing attention on one point of object for a period of time, which can create a sense of relaxation and a more relaxed relationship with one’s thoughts.
If you want to know the feelings of relaxation on a regular basis, practice the above techniques. Meditation, yoga, and/or deep breathing can create a relaxed body and mind so that your natural response to life is less reactive and anxiety-driven and instead more peaceful.
Even a practice of mindfulness, the ability to stay present and aware of what’s going on within and around you, can help you develop a sense of relaxation and ease throughout your day.
There are many forms of relaxation techniques that are taught throughout many communities. If you’re not already learning how to relax in addiction treatment or if you want to sustain a practice of relaxation once you’re complete with treatment, you might look for a class to attend.
As mentioned above, once you know how to relax on a more regular basis you’ll be able to better manage stress and challenging inner experiences. And when you know how to do that, you’re less likely to fall prey to the lure of substance use to cope. Learning how to relax is learning how to have a healthy mind and body.
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