Relapse Prevention:
Relaxing & Managing Stress

Dual Recovery Anonymous™ is an independent, nonprofessional, Twelve Step, self-help membership organization for people with a dual diagnosis.

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Relaxing & Managing Stress Tips

If you don’t want to slip, stay out of slippery places.

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 them.

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. Too much stress though, causes distress, and in the past may have been one of the reasons to drink or use drugs.

Too 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 stress reliever.

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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