Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Ways to Cope with Stress

7 Effective Ways to Cope with Stress that Beat Using Drugs

Posted by Myra Davis to Prevention

Your heart is pounding a mile a minute. Your muscles start to tense up. Suddenly, you’re hyperventilating. What’s going on?Well, it sounds like you’re stressed out. The body’s physical response to stress can be unpleasant, but it’s an adaptation that allows humans to respond quickly to a perceived threat. Still, prolonged stress can make you feel downright sick and often people will do anything to avoid it. Sometimes, that can even mean turning to drugs. However, there are other healthy ways to cope with stress.

Many experts are now saying that people who experience a lot of stress are more likely to start using drugs and alcohol or suffer a relapse if they’re in recovery from addiction. But there are healthier ways to deal with what’s bothering you! I asked you to send me suggestions on how to effectively cope with stress. Here are some of the responses I got:

1. Talk to someone

“You know, in terms of stress, nothing to me works better than having a trusted and deeply intimate friend, partner, co-worker, whoever, with whom you can decompress…someone you can talk to and get a different perspective on things and who can help you relax and not take things so seriously.”
-Craig Wolfe, @CelebriDucks

2. Write it down

“With 2-3 blank sheets of paper, begin writing as fast as you can whatever is in your head. DO NOT judge, worry about grammar, punctuation, or legibility, or try to make it about anything. This is a free-flow, subconscious mind dump, from your head to paper. Curse, be angry, sad, happy, dark, light… and it does not have to make any sense. When finished, shred or file your writing and move on with your day.”
-Chris Weiler, @chrisweiler

3. Get organized

“When life is getting overwhelming I go straight for structure and organization. Chaos burdens my soul with excessive stress and constant distraction. So out comes ordering-my desk, my CD collection, the fireplace and logs in the woodpile, the kitchen. It doesn’t need to be everything, just something-one area of order that calms my mind and focuses me in on something other than what is stressing me.”
-Robert Holmes, @DrRobertHolmes

4. Get outside

“My number one stress reducer is nature. All I have to do is walk outside, find something in nature to focus on, and instantly I am calm and relaxed. Even if I cannot get outside, I can stand near a window and glance out at a tree, the sky, a bird or whatever and feel any anger, tension, or worry dissipate. It’s free, readily available at all times, and 100% effective.”
-Janet Pfeiffer, @JanetPfeiffer1

5. Get some exercise

“I jump straight into my car and head for a rocky outcrop. When stressed, you over-think your situation/day, increasing the stress. To overcome this and to refocus the mind, I will use rock climbing to de-stress. Rock climbing is an extreme sport that needs concentration. By focusing on the climb rather than my bad day, the mind doesn’t feel stressed.”
-Christopher Delaney, @delaneycoaching

6. Just say no

“I allow myself the permission to be unapologetic with saying no to people and things that I am not interested in. I am able to take the time to do what I really want to do with no justification.”
-Parisnicole Payton, @ThePNPAgency

7. Meditate

“One of the best ways to cope with stress and interrupt the stressed thoughts cycling through the mind is through the practice of meditation. Meditation is accessible to anyone, it can be done anywhere, and best of all-it’s free!”
-Joy Rains, @joy_rains


  • Diane C

    I really enjoyed reading this as these options you give to help handle stress are so easy to do. Anyone could take any one of them and use it in their life whenever they are feeling stress. In fact, I am going to take these down and use them myself when I find myself in a stressful situation! So much better and easier than resorting to drugs.

  • Amanda

    I think this a wonderful article for anyone, but especially someone with a drug addiction trying to cope. There are many different ways to relieve stress because life can leave you with many points of stress and upset. Resorting drug use for people can seem like the only option. An article like this I think gives people other options where they do not see other options. I will personally take some of these options and do them myself especially when I have had a hard or rough day.

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