Stress and Addiction
Ask any Doctor what the major cause of illness and disease is, and the answer most likely to be given will be stress. So if addiction is considered a disease, then stress must be considered a contributing factor to the disease. What is stress? A quick search on Google provides this definition. “Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”(1) Each person handles stress differently. There are both positive and negative methods used to manage stress. In this article we will explore both.
Most of the negative methods are some form of an addiction. For example many justify the use of drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with stress. The most common negative method used to alleviate stress is tobacco use, which has severe health damaging side effects. Some other negative methods include sex, gambling, and food addictions. The good news is those suffering from an addiction can learn to practice some of the positive techniques for coping with stress so prevalent in today’s world.
The positive techniques are listed below:
- Proper Sleep
- Healthy Diet
- Prayer & Meditation
- Self-Regulation Techniques
Exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet are all good habits of a healthy person and should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle whether addiction is a factor or not. Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During prayer and meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. The different types of meditations can include guided meditations also known as guided imagery, mantra meditations, mindfulness meditations, Qi gong which is a type of traditional Chinese medicine, Tai Chi which is a form of Chinese martial arts, Transcendental meditation, and Yoga.(2) Meditation has been used for centuries and is now becoming a widely accepted method for stress and anxiety relief. Meditation increases self-awareness, focuses on the present moment, and reduces negative emotions.
Self-regulation is the deliberate adjustment of one’s physical, mental, and emotional state in order to calm down during stressful situations and to uplift during times of depression. Biofeedback is one of many methods of self-regulation. Biofeedback is a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature.(3) Another self-regulation technique is The Rubenstein Method. Having an inactive diaphragm is the root cause of oxygen deficiency. The Rubenstein Method teaches how to activate and use the diaphragm muscle in order to breathe properly. This leads to increased oxygen levels in the blood. Increasing oxygen blood levels lowers the production of stress hormones. (4) To learn more about The Rubenstein Method visit http://www.rubensteincenter.com/
If one can handle stress and cope with it in a positive way they will live a healthier lifestyle and will also have power over the addiction that used to overpower them. These are only a handful of ways to deal with stress positively. It’s about lifestyle changes, and I encourage you not to wait for someday to make these changes, but rather begin today. There is no greater gift than today!
(3) Source: Biofeedback | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/biofeedback#ixzz30HYGum2t
University of Maryland Medical Center
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