Stress Reduction

During a stress response, we generally feel separated from those around us and from a higher power. In the relaxation response, we are more apt to feel a quality of oneness with those around us, and the needs of others. Substance use often modulates stress. Healthy stress management strategies can support recovery on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual levels.

  • Everyone experiences challenges and painful situations in life. The way we manage the challenges of life impacts our experience of the situation, and therefore, the degree of suffering we experience. If the mind is agitated, and there is a perceived threat or environmental stressor, the body can go into Stress Response, also known as the fight or flight response, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and defense behavior. A normal and practical bodily reaction necessary for survival.
  • Stress reduction strategies can intervene in the response to promote personal well-being. Learning new coping skills for self-regulation to deal with life stressors and supports the recovery process by helping one feel confident, strong and at peace.

Understand your emotions

It's important to understand that emotions are normal and to learn how to express emotions and decrease emotional suffering. Ignoring or suppressing emotions keeps us in a state of stress and dysregulation – the Stress Response. 

  • Emotions are a form of energy that can be felt in the body, also associated with thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Identifying or locating any physical or physiological signs, changes in breathing, stomach discomfort, or tension in the body will help manage triggers for individuals with SUD and co-occurring issues.
  • Recognize that taking care of oneself includes identifying how we respond to emotions and how we deal with the thoughts that lead to experiencing emotions.

Relaxation Exercises

Practice relaxation or grounding exercises as a way of self-soothing. Grounding can calm and distract the mind from painful or disturbing emotions whose intensity can be overwhelming. Grounding allows you to occupy the mind with something neutral or joyful thereby eliciting the Relaxation Response.