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    Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Stress Without Alcohol

    Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Stress Without Alcohol
    by Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
    April 2, 2019

    "Most illness is just stress from not living in harmony." - Bruce H. Lipton


    ...Some people think their work, family or lifestyle is causing them stress, and that if only they could create some change in those aspects of life than they would be fine. Unfortunately, this is at best only part of the overall picture.

    Why?

    Because it is often THE BELIEF (or perception) that something out there is causing you stress that is creating the stress response internally (on a side note- if there's a bear chasing you, please give in to the stress and run as fast as possible!). Although changing the external circumstances certainly may help, invariably, no matter what you do, it is a change within your belief system and perception of yourself that will make the biggest difference. It is more our perception of the circumstances as being overwhelming; and our perception of our ability to cope, as when you feel stretched beyond what you perceive yourself to be capable of.

    There are a few factors at play there - the circumstance or event that is taking place, our perception of the amount of effort it might take to address that challenge, our perception of the capacity we have to deal with stress and effort and the combined estimate of the likely end-result of our efforts.

    Although we may not have control over our environment or the stressors we face, we do have control over how we react to them.

    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    Here are 10 things you can do to manage stress (besides reaching for the bottle)

    Meditate - Meditation involves deliberately focusing your attention inwards either with or without specific guidance or the use of a mantra. It can give you a sense of calm and can help you gain a new perspective on a stressful situation.

    Breathwork - Focusing on your breath and utilizing deep breathing techniques can help ease the elevated physiological changes you experience when stressed. When your body is calm, then you are more focused and able to think clearly. Different techniques can be used in different situations, but even the simplest 5-breath focus effort can yield incredible results.

    Mindfulness - This ties into the two techniques above, but I particularly like the 5...4...3...2...1 mindfulness technique which grounds you in the here and now by activating all of your sense. Here's how: focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. Try it! This is just one version of mindfulness, which is thought of as paying attention to something, for a given period of time while removing as much judgment or expectation from the equation.

    Positive affirmations - Repeat a mantra or positive affirmation outside of a meditation practice such as "I am safe" or "I am worthy" to help shift your perception and belief patterns by reinforcing your strengths. For stress relief, try saying "My mind is at ease and I am capable of doing whatever is needed," and "With every breath I am more relaxed and flowing through my day with ease."

    Get active - You don't have to train for a marathon, but moving your body and light exercise is great for stress. It eases muscle tension and induces positive feelings. Try to go for a walk, run or stretch daily. Different forms of exercise provide different responses for different people, although Yoga has been shown to increase GABA activity and therefore help in calming anxiety. And the effects of exercise are cumulative, meaning they build up over time! I personally couldn't imagine life without this stress relief form.

    Listen to music - Many people have their go-to songs for stress relief and zoning out. But this song is scientifically proven to lessen anxiety levels in just eight minutes. You may also find it relaxing to listen to melodic sounds such as the rainforest, birdcalls and falling rain. Music is recommended to be implemented for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, no matter what your musical interest. This is one of my go-to's!

    Keep a gratitude journal - Taking a few minutes a day to think about the things in your life you are grateful for can change your perspective on life for the better. I personally use the 5-Minute Journal every morning to help me prepare for the day, especially because it helps bias my thinking towards gratitude (instead of resentments and anxiety).

    Be altruistic - See what you can do to help someone else. Research has shown that altruism improves mood and takes the focus off our own struggles. Participants in our IGNTD Hero program often report that, when they increase their contribution towards others, their own mood improves!

    Prioritize sleep - When we have a good night’s sleep our capacity to cope with stress is far better than when we’ve slept poorly. Incorporate good sleep hygiene habits into your evening routine for example: noise reduction, going to bed and waking at the same time daily, avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at night and daytime napping.

    Get help - If you feel overwhelmed by stress and you’re self-medicating with alcohol and it’s affecting your everyday life, then reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices. We live in a world that still judges those who need help to deal with their mental well-being, which is sad given just how much help we're OK receiving in other areas (like sports training, academics, etc.).
    Last edited by Daniel; May 28th, 2020 at 01:22 PM.

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