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Learning to Cope With Anxiety

Anxious man

Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach or feel your pulse quicken when you think of something you’re scared to do? Many people in recovery experience anxiety in recovery, but it may be difficult for you to deal with in your first few years. Let’s take a look at what anxiety is and how you can cope with it in a healthy way.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion that’s perfectly normal, even for people who don’t have a substance use disorder. When you’re feeling afraid of an event or situation, it causes your body to flood with adrenaline. You may shake, feel your face flushing or your stomach tighten, or even feel like you’re breathing too fast or can’t breath enough air. (This last symptom is considered to be an anxiety attack.)

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to what it deciphers as immenent danger. The way the body responds to the fear of this danger is to initiate what is called a “fight of flight” response. This response dates back to our ancestors, who often had to make split-second decisions to survive the many dangers of the world. The body gave them two decisions; fight or flight. This adrenaline rush helped them when they decided between these two things.

Today, your body may activate the fight or flight response even if there isn’t imminen danger. Your mind may then feel like the danger is greater than it is, which can cause a lot of fear even if you’re not in any physical danger.

Managing Anxiety

A lot of people find that their anxiety is less when they share it with others, such as a therapist, sponsor or good friend. If you’re having anxiety attacks, you may want to seek professional help to get your anxiety under control. When anxiety causes you to miss out on things in life, it’s time to get help to get it under control.

Anxiety that doesn’t cause panic attacks can be managed more easily. You may want to role-play situations that make you anxious with a trusted friend or therapist. When you feel anxious, a brisk walk or a long bath may calm your nerves. Getting regular exercise and going to 12-step meetings can help you, too. Find something you love to do and do it when you’re feeling stressed. Often, self-care can be the answer to feeling anxious.

Self-care such as meditation, journaling, exercise or just reading a book can help you stay calm in your daily life. Remember that if you’re anxious, this too shall pass. Using self-care to help this feeling pass more quickly.

Sober Living Can help

A lot of people in sobriety have fears about returning to the “real world” after treatment. Living with other people who have the same goals can help quell your anxiety and gain confidence when you’re new to recovery. Learn more about your sober living options and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077.

The first few months of recovery can be a bumpy road if you’re not prepared. New feelings, friendships, and a new way of life take adjusting to. You may also still be experiencing withdrawal after years of using substances. If you don’t know it already, it’s important to be aware that this too shall pass. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you hold on while you’re waiting for negative emotions to pass.

What is Mindfulness?

According to Wikipedia, “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Actually, mindfulness is pretty much the opposite of work. When you take the time to slow down during a busy day, close your eyes and live in the moment, you’re doing a form of meditation that focuses on your breathing. For a moment, all you can do is be.

Learning Mindfulness

The simplest way to learn mindfulness is to practice being aware of the world outside yourself. Take a mindfulness walk, where you only focus on the squirrels, trees, and the sounds around you. Don’t use your phone or listen to music. Take a nice, slow walk and just be.

There are also breathing exercises you can use when you’re stressed. Practice mindfulness by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and pay attention to the sound and feeling of your body as you do this. Keep your eyes closed and mentally count backward from ten for each breath. As you breathe, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sensations of your body.

You can also learn mindfulness on various websites dedicated to the topic and video websites such as Youtube or Vimeo. Do what works for you and leave the rest. Mindfulness is a great way to relax on a stressful day. It’s also a tool you can use when you feel triggered to use or do something self-destructive.

Sober Living Can Help, Too

Not everyone finishes treatment feeling safe and prepared for the real world, and that’s okay. There are many options available for people who want to live with others in recovery for added stability and understanding. We have some fantastic sober housing options for you to check out. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

Getting clean is a great accomplishment, and there’s a lot to celebrate. Finding a new way of life can be a huge relief for those who have been in the throes of addiction for a while. Staying clean, however, can be hard work. Many people in recovery talk about how they feel about “catching up” with the rest of the world – there’s so much to do! Whether it’s establishing new relationships or starting a new job, there is a lot of work involved. Many recovering addicts throw themselves into this new way of life with great enthusiasm – but it’s easy to get burned out. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to take the time to practice self-care.


Why Self-Care?

A few minutes each day nurturing yourself is an integral part of embracing your new way of life, and it can help you prevent burnout. Self-care is sometimes a foreign concept to people in recovery. After all, you may have spent a lot of time being “selfish” or only caring about what you wanted (such as drugs). It’s important to realize that self-care has nothing to do with being selfish. Instead, it’s a way to take care of your own needs, if only for a few minutes. Self-care can help you ease the stress of life in recovery, allowing you to continue your hard work.


Self-Care Methods You Can Try Anytime:


These are just a few things you can do to help yourself de-stress during an emotionally taxing day or help yourself remain centered. Many other things may help you care for yourself – as long as they don’t hurt you or anyone else, they can be beneficial.

Self-care methods will change as you move along in your recovery and discover new hobbies. The most important aspect of self-care is that it helps you feel better.

Don’t be too hard on yourself in early recovery! You can’t change everything overnight, and no one should expect you to. You’re on a path that will ultimately help you live a sober, serene life. Don’t let anyone steal that joy.

Are you looking for a safe, comfortable, supportive sober living home? Please give us a call at 760-216-2077. We are happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks!

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