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4 Healthy Ways to Unwind

4 Healthy Ways to Unwind

Harvard University says getting your body moving is a great way to release the tension and emotions

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that some people take drugs to feel good; they are sensation seekers and want to experiment with substances to produce a feeling of euphoria or a high. Other people want to feel better; they take drugs to cope with past trauma, relationship problems or mental health issues. However, some people fall into the trap of addiction, because they desperately wanted to unwind from a stressful or negative situation. However, you can address stress without drugs in the following four ways.

Exercise to Unwind

At the end of a difficult day, you want to crash—the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, Harvard University says getting your body moving is a great way to release the tension and emotions you’ve been experiencing, because the body produces natural feel-good chemicals when you get your heart pumping and limbs moving.

The following exercises can help you feel better:

  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Boxing
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Hiking
  • Aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Skiing
  • Rowing
  • Swimming

According to Harvard, exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise also ramps up the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that elevate your mood. Endorphins cause the famous “runner’s high,” and you also feel good about yourself after you exercise because you know you’re taking care of your body (see below).

Play to Unwind

Play is a great way to decompress after a difficult day. Pscyh Central defines play as as anything that has no utilitarian purpose, but that brings you pleasure. Play is anything that’s purposeless and pleasurable, and it may include the following activities:

  • Painting
  • Singing
  • Swinging on swings
  • Flying a kite
  • Throwing a Frisbee
  • Playing in the sand
  • Watching old TV shows
  • Whittling a stick
  • Coloring
  • Using modeling clay
  • Playing a video game
  • Watching kids play in the park
  • People-watching in the mall or airport
  • Watching cartoons
  • Making homemade ice cream

Play not only increases creativity, but it also combats stress. If you invite friends or loved ones to come with you, then you can strengthen relationships while you relax. Being outside while you play only adds to the fun.

Meditation to Unwind

Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on one topic at a time, such as a word, phrase or even your breathing. Its goal is to let go of distractions as they pop up, and to quiet the noise in your mind and heart.

Types of meditation can include the following examples:

  • Mindful meditation – In this practice, you acknowledge and settle into the silence of the moment rather than being distracted by past or future events. It focuses on the movement of your breath, such as the rising and falling of your abdomen when you breathe. When something distracts you, you focus again on your breathing.
  • Guided meditation – This act usually comes in the form of an audio file as the leader’s voice guides your attention toward stillness. Sometimes you will be asked to use your imagination to visualize an object, person or scene.
  • Mantra meditation – A mantra is a syllable or word without any meaning. During this kind of meditation, you repeat this word or syllable over and over again. For some people, the mantra disappears and they experience peace.
  • Loving kindness meditation – Also known as compassion meditation, this act has you close your eyes and give yourself loving thoughts. Then you expand those thoughts to include friends, acquaintances, a difficult person and then outwardly from there. You can visualize the hurt of pain and send love; you can also picture an enemy in your mind and wish him peace.
  • Yoga meditation – This kind of meditation includes yoga, or using movement and breathing in a certain sequence to relax the mind

You’ll discover that some forms of meditation work for you and others won’t. Try out several and stick to the ones you like.

Care for Your Body to Unwind

Stress and anxiety take a toll on your body. The American Psychological Association reports that stress causes muscle tension, headaches and migraines. It also increases breathing, which is dangerous for people with lung problems (lung disease, cancer, asthma, emphysema and etc.). It also puts more stress on the heart, which puts people at risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Actually, stress can contribute to diabetes if the liver does not absorb the glucose from increased stress hormones. To counter these effects, take care of your body with one of the following activities:

  • Yoga
  • Hot baths or showers
  • Exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Eat healthy food
  • Get enough sleep
  • Wrap up in a warm blanket
  • Put on some soft, comfortable clothes
  • Limit drinking

You can use many of these choices in combination with each other. The more you care for your body, the more you can counter the toxic effects of stress.

Get Help for Your Addiction

If you use drugs to cope with stress, we can help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime to talk with our admissions coordinators about your concerns; they will help you decide the best ways to get the help you need. Our staff can help you find resources in your area, including addiction treatment facilities that will work with your insurance. Call today for instant support.

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