Our dual no-fault illnesses affect us in all areas of our lives;
physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. We can work on all of
these areas best if our body and mind have every advantage we can give
It is not realistic to think that all stress
can be removed from anyone's life. And it's important to understand that
not all stress is bad. To much stress though, causes distress, and in
the past may have been one of the reasons to drink or use drugs. To much
stress may also affect our psychiatric illness in negative ways, so part
of being in dual recovery is learning healthy ways to manage stress.
It pays to identify the way stress manifests itself in your life, the
things in your life that cause stress, and constructive ways to release
stress and relax.
Managing stress -- Learning to use tools like the recovery slogans and The Serenity Prayer throughout our daily routine is an effective way to reduce our stress levels. Many people spend a lot of energy worrying about things that they have no control over. Sometimes they expect results faster then is realistic or demand to much from
themselves or others. The slogans and The Serenity Prayer can help us sort out what is really important, what is practical, and what is realistic. Once we gain perspective on all the things that are bothering us, we often find we can simply discard part of our load of stress and worry.
Relaxation & stress reduction -- Many
individuals in dual recovery practice various relaxation techniques on a
regular basis. One common way to reduce stress is to simply sit, breath
gently but deeply, and not think, for five minutes. This sounds simple
but can take some practice. Some find it helpful to focus on their
breath to help keep the mind from wandering back to the day's stressful
issues. There are many techniques available. Some visualize a peaceful
place out in nature and imagine themselves soaking up the serenity
nature affords. Some people use relaxations tapes and soothing music.
Some take short "cat naps". Others work out, go for a
brisk walk, or practice yoga. It's helpful to set aside times for
recreation, hobbies, and play. Some people find that music, poetry, or
artwork, are creative outlets that they find both relaxing and healing.
Eat well-balanced meals -- Many people with dual
disorders have neglected their nutritional needs. Maintaining a healthy
and balanced diet allows the body and brain to heal. Our bodies need a
regular source of good quality fuel to work efficiently. If we skip
meals and eat a lot of junk food we are not giving our bodies and brains
the high quality fuels they need to heal and function at their best.
Eating balanced meals on a regular schedule is a self-loving act and is
beneficial to our overall recovery.
Exercise regularly -- Moderate exercise helps reduce
stress, speeds healing, and can aid sleep. We don't have to take up
weight training or memberships in fancy gyms. Walking is a great way to
get our blood circulating and muscles moving. It can also be a great
Sleep and rest -- It is healthy and helpful to our
recovery to be on a regular schedule for bedtime and awakening. Our
bodies and brains need a certain amount of quality sleep to operate
correctly. It helps to refrain from drinking coffee or consuming large
quantities of snacks and sweets in the late evening. We don't need to
charge up our systems with extra energy (calories/sugars) or stimulants
(caffeine) just to go to bed.
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