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12 Ways to Deal with Your Emotions (Beyond Drugs or Alcohol)

12 Ways to Deal with Your Emotions (Beyond Drugs or Alcohol)

If there’s one thing that you learn when you make the choice to begin recovery, it’s that the stress of the real world doesn’t go away. Things don’t magically get easier because you’ve stopped drinking or doing drugs. From the moment you start down the path toward sobriety it’s important to make sure that you’ve got some tips and tricks for channeling your stress and letting it go.

Anticipate and Prepare

Pay close attention to your mood, and try to realize the moment when you begin getting stressed. Spotting it early will make it easier to deal with. When you can identify your stressor, you’ll be able to either avoid it or adjust your attitude (depending on which is healthier).

Take a Few Mindful Breaths

If you find yourself sliding towards aggravation, take a few moments to close your eyes and draw in a few deep breaths. Concentrate on the air moving in and out of your lungs and count very slowly. You might just find your stress slipping away.

Be Good to Yourself on a Daily Basis

Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Doing these simple things on a regular basis will help your body naturally handle stressful situations without too much inner turmoil.

Chew Gum

Work that tension out through your jaws!

Let Someone Know How You Feel

Find or contact someone you trust and calmly tell them how you’re feeling. Sometimes the mere act of sharing how you feel can make things easier to bare. And who knows, the person you talk to might just have some helpful advice.

Write Down Your Feelings

Don’t feel like pulling someone in? No problem, just find a pen and paper and put your anxiety down on paper. The act of writing – not typing, but actually writing – can be a truly therapeutic endeavor.

Turn Off Your Phone

Cell phones can be stressful, that’s a fact. This stressor can easily be avoided by pressing the power button and putting your phone in a drawer.

Take it Easy On Yourself

Everyone gets stressed, it’s a natural part of life. Reassure yourself that you’re not a failure because you’re having trouble keeping calm. Allow yourself to make mistakes and remember that you are your own worst critic.

Search the Internet For Something Cute or Funny

Take a five-second break from your frustration and do some internet searching for a funny video or picture of a cute animal. It might take more than one try, but refocusing your mind on something different can be a release in and of itself.


Consider knitting or crocheting if you have some time to physically de-stress. The repetitive motion can be a great hand-fix and is guaranteed to keep you focused.

Eat a Small, Healthy Snack

Every adult knows that your mood and hunger go together hand-in-hand. When your stomach is full, you’re a happy camper and when it’s empty, you’re not. If you take the time to eat something healthy like a handful of nuts you might find a little food in your stomach is a perfect way to relax.

Go For a Walk

The mere act of taking a spin around the block — especially in a green area — will help your mind involuntarily focus on the scenery and subsequently calm down. It’s a means of tricking your brain into semi-meditation.

Stop What You’re Doing Altogether

Hey, sometimes high stress is just unavoidable. If you’re in a situation that’s in danger of setting you off or triggering a relapse, consider putting it on hold and moving on to something else. Nothing is so dire that you should risk the progress you’ve made.

At Life of Purpose, we offer recovery support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information on substance use disorder treatment and maintaining a stress-free recovery, contact us today!

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