Now that you’re in recovery, you may be surprised at the things that make you feel anxious, especially since you’re no longer using drugs or alcohol to cope. This new feeling, including sweaty palms and a racing heart, is uncomfortable, and I know it’s not fun. But may I remind you that you’re not alone? More than 25 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making it the number one emotional disorder in the country. Instead of living with anxiety, I recommend these 13 tips to ease anxiety and help you remain clean and serene throughout your sobriety.
Best Ways to Stay Both Clean and Serene
Reduce stress hormones and relax your body when you perform 30 minutes of light exercise or 15 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. I personally love a long outdoor hike, but you could shoot hoops, swim laps, or ride a bike as you reduce anxiety.
2. Unclench Your Teeth
The simple act of unclenching your teeth goes a long way toward helping you feel less anxious.
3. Write a Story
Instead of worrying about how you’ll handle an anxious situation, write it down as a story. Describe what you’re wearing, the people you’re with, how you feel, and what happens at the end. Either you’ll calm down as you realize how unlikely your fear is to come true, or you’ll be prepared to handle the situation with ease.
4. Create Your Own Mantra
A phrase or even one word may be exactly the mantra you need to repeat to yourself as you combat anxiety and remain calm.
5. Visualize a Calm Place
Whether it’s a beach resort or mountain retreat, choose a calm place and visualize yourself relaxing and unwinding in that spot.
6. Count Aloud to 20
I’m not talking speed counting here. Instead, take your time and slowly count to 20. With each breath out, consciously release your anxiety and feel yourself calm down.
Yoga, tai chi, and guided meditation all reduce anxiety. Meditation also helps you focus on the present, build coping skills, and improve your perspective about the stressful challenges you face.
8. Call Someone
Your trusted sponsor, mentor, or friend knows you and your anxiety triggers. They will know what to say to calm your anxious thoughts, too.
Allow a higher power, if you believe in one, to calm and ease your emotions as you pray. There’s nothing better for staying clean and serene.
10. Go to a Meeting
Find understanding, compassion, and practical advice when you attend an Emotions Anonymous or other support group.
11. Play With Your Pet
Instead of allowing your anxiety to overtake your mind, distract yourself as you play with your pet dog, cat, or iguana.
12. Read Through Your Journal
In your journal, you’ll see how you coped with and made it through previous challenges that caused anxiety. That encouragement can get you through this experience, too.
13. Take Each Day One Minute at a Time
Instead of thinking about the future, think about this minute. Can you handle its challenges? I know you can, and a string of successful moments gets you through any stressful situation.
No matter what situations make you feel anxious, these 13 tips can ease this emotion and help you cope. I encourage you to try them all and see which ones work the best. Then, you’ll be able to stay clean and serene as you ease anxiety. If you need more assistance, contact Morningside Recovery at 855-631-2135. Our evidence based therapy will provide you with the coping mechanisms you need.
By Angela Lambert
Photo by: BK (Flickr)