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Stress is something we all face, yet it is often the one thing with which we never really know how to deal. For those in recovery, stress can be one of the most dangerous triggers! Stress can lead us down a path that we never imagined we would take. Bear in mind, that having no stress is virtually impossible in today’s world.

Christmas can be a very busy, fast and stressful time of the year. Trying to please everyone by accepting every invite to every event is a problem in itself. Remember we spoke about picking the situations that are best for your recovery in our previous post ‘Situational Awareness is Key’. Attending an event that is potentially triggering can bring with it the anxiety of being tempted, which will add to your stress levels. Christmas is also a time that reminds about what we might have lost and this can lead to feelings of regret and shame… which can lead to elevated stress levels….

Find a way to deal with your stress levels. Whether you choose to engage in daily mediation, or to start an exercise programme, or to attend extra support group meetings, or to only attend those functions that are supportive of your recovery; it is your choice! But here are a few actions to try:

Actions to take:
TALK IT OUT – Talking about it might just help.
WRITE IT OUT – It is easier to deal with if it’s written out.
SHRUG IT OFF – Raise your shoulders then drop them. Relax your whole body.
BREATHE IT AWAY – Mini –meditation can help you out… and calm your thoughts.
SORT IT OUT – List practical options.
DELAY IT – Schedule time to work through what is happening.
WORK IT OFF – Do something physical. Clear your head.
REVERSE IT – Consider taking an opposite approach.

Attitudes to adopt:
LAUGH IT OFF – Lighten it with humour. Be generous with smiles.
DISTANCE IT – Imagine a few years from now. How much will it matter then?
BALANCE IT – Consider the good consequences and feel good about them.
CANCEL IT – Think positive thoughts – try outweigh the negative thoughts.
EXAGGERATE IT – Picture the worst that can REALLY happen. How likely is it?
WIN THROUGH IT – Imagine yourself being successful.
HOLD IT – Use HALT!; pause, and organise your thoughts.
ESCAPE IT – Notice something enjoyable around you. Practise mindfulness.

Join us next week when we talk about ‘Living in the moment’.