Tag Archives: stress

Recovery Writing: Keeping a Journal Improves Your Mental Health

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Mental health and physical health are of the utmost importance to people in addiction recovery. Anything you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and physical fitness will significantly improve your outlook on life. In recovery, a positive attitude changes everything.

Improving your physical health usually comes down to introducing exercise and a healthy diet into your schedule. If you completed an addiction treatment program, then you were probably advised to prioritize healthy living.

It’s likely that your counselors and clinicians shared with you the benefits of eating right and physical fitness. They probably explained that physical health and mental health are linked. Since people in early recovery are healing, they must do whatever they can to expedite the healing process.

Hopefully, you make a point of eating healthy foods and exercising three to five times a week. The latter does not require that you go to the gym; daily 30-minute walks can go a long way towards improving your fitness. Those who make fitness a priority feel better and thus are better able to maintain a positive attitude.

If you are working a program of recovery, then you know how vital it is to stay positive. Getting down on yourself or harboring negative emotions towards yourself and others will not benefit your recovery.

Naturally, there are several ways that you can bolster your mental health, aside from healthy living. Attending meetings, sharing, and working with a sponsor help to process your emotions productively. Such behaviors will help you manage and cope with stress in nondestructive ways.

There are also activities you can do at home that will aid you in achieving your goal of long-term recovery. Take journaling, for instance, those who journal benefit immensely from the practice.

Keeping a Journal in Recovery

Working a program of recovery teaches you ways of navigating the stressors of everyday life. Stress, as you well know, can derail your recovery if it is not managed in healthy ways. Coping with the obstacles of daily life is not easy for many people in early recovery. As such, men and women in sobriety must adopt practices that can aid in stress management.

You probably go to a meeting or call your sponsor when you are stressed out; bottling up negative emotions is detrimental. However, you may not always be able to catch a meeting or get a hold of a trusted peer. If you have a method for processing what is bothering you when you are alone, then you can keep stress from triggering you and prevent cravings from developing.

Journaling is an effective method of dealing with things that are bothering you. Those who journal are able to gain perspective and insight on how to navigate a challenging situation. What’s more, you do not have to be an excellent writer to benefit from writing, and there isn’t one way of journaling your thoughts.

Addicts and alcoholics in early recovery have many thoughts racing through their heads. They also are still contending with the wreckage of their past, which can lead to negative emotions and stress. Jotting down how you are feeling and the root of it can help you chart a course toward a more positive outlook.

It’s important to distinguish that journaling is not keeping a diary, which is good news for men who may feel like writing about your feelings is not a masculine activity. Many men in recovery journal every day, and it has no impact on masculinity. What’s more, journaling could be boosting their physical fitness.

Journaling Can Boost Your Immune System

F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist in New York City, wrote a fascinating article on the subject of journaling for NBC Think recently. Barth discusses the myriad of benefits that can come from journaling. Besides boosting your mental health, Barth cites studies that indicate journaling may impact one’s physical health.

Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, points to two different studies that show that journaling is beneficial to the immune system. The belief is that journaling reduces stress, which boosts the immune system, therefore improving your physical health. Diane Barth writes:

The conclusions drawn by both studies were that daily writing about emotionally significant experiences can improve our immune system, probably in a way not totally different from exercise, which is by reducing the chemicals that stress releases in our bodies.

One study, published in JAMA, involved participants who are living with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The other study included HIV-infected patients.

As we pointed out above, journaling is helpful for any gender. Barth mentions in her piece that John D. Rockefeller, General George Patton, and Winston Churchill kept journals. It’s fair to say that all three men dealt with enormous amounts of stress at different points in their life.

At PACE, we encourage you to give journal-writing a try when next you feel stressed. If you are already keeping a daily journal, then keep it up as you continue to strengthen your recovery.

California Gender-Specific Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Are you or a male loved one contending with a mental health disorder, alcohol or substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder? If so, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our various evidence-based programs for men. We can help you begin the journey of healing and provide you with the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please call 800-526-1851 if you have any questions and to discuss treatment options.

Recovery in College: Protecting Your Program

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Many young men in recovery are preparing to head off to college in the coming days and weeks. Steps must be taken now to ensure one’s program stays intact in the face of collegiate stressors. Attending classes and studying for exams, week after week, can take a toll on individuals; this is especially true for young men in recovery.

University life can be a lot of fun for clean and sober people, provided that actions are taken to avoid high-risk situations. Parties, football games and tailgating, and Greek life are all synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption. While there isn’t a rule mandating that people in recovery can’t attend events that involve drinking, such individuals must be extremely cautious.

If your program is secure and you prioritize your recovery, then there are ostensibly not any situations that you can’t handle. However, think carefully before attending any event that could involve drugs and alcohol. Relapse can sneak up on you if you’re not honest with yourself.

Sticking close to one’s support network is a good rule for young men in recovery while away at school. Others who work a program are going to be the individuals who help you stave off temptations to use. The collegiate environment is riddled with people and things that may trigger a desire to use, and sometimes it may be impossible to avoid exposure. Those who put their recovery first in every aspect of life will be able to counter the urges to use when they arise.

If you are going off to college for the first time, then it means that everything you are about to experience is novel. Some of you are returning for another year, which means you have some experience with maintaining sobriety in the face of college stress.

Building a Recovery Deep Bench in College

College first-year students must link up with students in recovery who have experience navigating the perils of college life. If you are a returning student, then you probably have a support network in place already, and a schedule of meetings to attend.

Hopefully, first-year students are already reaching out for recovery resources to utilize upon arrival. The first week at university can be chaotic and anxiety-inducing; there is an excellent chance that first-year students will require support. Knowing right away where one can find a meeting is essential. Attending a meeting is one of the first things you should do after settling into your dorm.

Showing up early to a meeting that is close to campus will provide you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group. It may be best to look for a temporary sponsor for while you are at college, depending on how far your school is from your hometown. If you are not able to see your current sponsor regularly while attending classes, then strongly consider finding somebody new.

Achieving long-term recovery hinges on accountability. Having a sponsor is one way to remain accountable to your sobriety. Check-in phone calls and texts, being seen at meetings, and working the steps will all help you manage the stressors of college life.

Spend some time fostering relationships with some of the other young people you meet at meetings. There’s an excellent chance that they are attending your school too. Those same people may be great candidates for your deep bench: the men you’ll turn to if you can’t reach your sponsor. Your deep bench will also include the people who you have fun with while away at school. College life in recovery isn’t just program and studying; sober people can have fun too.

Addiction Program for College Students

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are a young man who would like to attend college but are currently unable to due to alcohol or substance use disorder. Our team can help you break the cycle of addiction and help you prepare for maintaining sobriety while working on your secondary education. Our treatment center can help you achieve your academic and professional dreams.

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