Stress Management - from the Health
and Healing Series at SupportNet.ca - Resources for
Recovery is learning to enjoy life - without the
use of alcohol or drugs that alter mind or mood.
It is treatment for the condition of addiction -
an approach to the challenges of life - and a path
to personal growth.
Recovery requires us to learn - about the true nature
It may be personalized - but it has its necessary
Principles and its Ways.
The Principles of Recovery provide direction - to
the choices that we face each day.
The Ways of Recovery provide
us with tools - that help us to heal - and to enjoy
life on life’s
This Learning Seminar introduces the topic of Stress
What you need to know about stress - how to recognize
the forms that it takes - and how to respond to it
in healthy ways.
Stress occurs when we challenged by conflict, change,
insecurity or commotion.
Our first reaction to stress is a change in the
chemistry of our body - and in the activity of our
We are placed on high alert - and ready to meet
The simplest of stressful events is one that is
short lived and easily resolved.
We are out for a walk and find ourselves lost. We
look for a familiar place - and feel a little stressed.
Eventually, we stop at a store and ask for directions.
Walking then in the correct direction - we are relieved
of stress - and again enjoying our walk.
A simple problem easily resolved - and with very
little stress encountered.
But what if I don't like to ask for help - or there
is no one close by to ask?
Or I've left myself too short
on time - and now I’ll be late for an appointment?
What if I'm tired and irritable to begin with -
and not prepared to deal with another problem?
There are many ways that a small stress can grow
to a large one.
What if we’re just
thinking about a walk - and worrying that we might
We imagine worrisome situations and traumatic events
- and stir the same stress in our body as if these
things were real right now.
We make assumptions about the way things are supposed
to be - and then pressure ourselves to make them
We believe that others should do things our way
- creating conflict and stress in our relations with
We expect to accomplish too much in one day - and
strain ourselves to get it all done.
We create situations of stress for our selves in
these and many other ways.
Regardless of cause - stress can affect other conditions
of our health.
The physical changes that occur with stress are
generalized. But they will affect us most where our
body and mind are most vulnerable.
Those with a tendency to headache - may experience
one during times of stress - or afterwards. Those
with irritable bowel may find that stress will upset
Many conditions of the mind are triggered by stress.
These include mood, anxiety, compulsive or attentional
And those in recovery from addiction may find their
recovery challenged by urges to use.
Our first reactions to stress are chemical and nervous
changes within our body and brain.
But these changes will affect us differently - having
their greatest impact on the most vulnerable areas
of our health.
Poor habits of our mind and body lead to much of
the stress likely to occur in our day today.
And the sick habits of addiction do nothing but
set us up for future crises.
A first principle of stress management - is to avoid
creating it for ourselves.
Recovery offers direction to healthier choices less
likely to result in stressful complications.
Many of its activities help us to identify and to
let go of our troublesome habits.
The result in time will be a less pressured life
and more settled mind.
A second principle of stress management - is to
consider the nature of a stressful event.
Some things are more stressful than others. Moving,
a new relationship or the loss of a job - are often
described as highly stressful.
Some situations are easily resolved - by rethinking
our position, by talking with others or by asking
Other challenges persist over time - or may never
be fully resolved.
The Serenity Prayer will always offer insight.
Grant me Serenity to accept the things I cannot
change - Courage to change the things I can - and
Wisdom to know the difference.
Our response to stress will best involve each of
three directions. We first look for our own contribution
to the situation at hand. Am I seeing this situation
is it truly is? Am I making assumptions that
are not warranted? Am I trying to control something
or someone that is not mine control?
We next consider ways to resolve the stress. This
may require us to look at the situation in a new
way - to accept our new circumstances - to take steps
to resolve the problem - to enlist the help of others
- or to take a different path.
Finally, we apply our tools to care for, calm and
to express ourselves.
It is easy to neglect ourselves during times of
stress. But this is exactly a time when we need to
attend to our body, mind and health.
The Ways of Recovery provide strategies for coping
with the impact of stress - in learning how to calm
our self and to let go of emotional pain.
A third principle of stress management - is to learn
our personal habits in reacting to stress.
What situations are most
likely to cause you to feel stressed? Are you most distressed
during times of conflict - or later - after the
problem is resolved? Do you react to stress with
loss of sleep or by overeating - with muscle tension,
headaches or nervous restlessness? Does stress
lead to thoughts of medicating yourself with alcohol
or drugs? Do you hold your body in a stressful
stance all of the time out of habit?
The better we learn to recognize our personal stress
habits - the earlier and the better we will be able
Do you relive stressful situations in your mind
- playing them over and again and worsening the impact
of stress on your health?
Meditation, prayer, talking with others and journal
writing all help us to let go of the worrisome thoughts
that play on our mind.
Do you hold stress in muscles tightened around your
neck or shoulders?
Progressive muscle relaxation, stretching exercises,
yoga and other physical activities all help us to
let go of muscular tension.
Stress held in our bodies may complicate all manner
of health conditions - including obesity, hypertension,
substance abuse, chronic pain, mental health, headache
and bowel problems.
The Principles and Ways of Recovery offer powerful
means to lessen the likelihood of stress and its
impact on our health.
For this reason, addiction recovery also helps us
to heal from nervous habits and many conditions of
And finally, a traditional fourth principle says
to - Practice for the difficult while it is easy.
Make time in your day - to learn the ways of healthy
mind and body. Practice abdominal breathing, muscular
stretching, meditation or other healing ways as part
of your day to day Personal Program of Recovery.
Daily attention to the Principles and Ways of Recovery
is the best way to protect ourselves from unnecessary
stress - and to be better prepared to deal with those
times when life does become stressful.
Stress occurs when we challenged by conflict, change
Our first reaction to stress involves a change in
the chemistry of our body - and in the activity of
our nervous system.
These changes occur everywhere within us - but affect
us most in vulnerable regions of our body or mind.
Many other conditions of health may be triggered
or worsened by our experience of stress.
Stress management helps us to recognize our personal
habits of stress - and to minimize its impact on
You have now reached the end of Stress Management.
Look for this and other Learning Seminars at www.SupportNet.ca
- Resources for Your Recovery.