Tag Archives: stress

Recovery Strengthened by Breathing Exercises

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The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy is the definition of well-being. In these extraordinary times, we must strive to be well—mentally, physically, and emotionally. We are facing enormous obstacles due to the pandemic. People in recovery are perhaps more vulnerable now than ever.

It would be best if you kept your finger on your mental health pulse to ensure you do not slip back into harmful behaviors. Given all that’s happening, it’s only natural to be concerned. We have to remind ourselves of what we can control and what we cannot. We haven’t the power to change many things in life today.

Over the last several months, we’ve reminded our readers that “this too shall pass.” A common saying in the rooms of recovery, but one that can assist us when the day becomes dark. Thankfully, we are not alone; a fellowship exists that you can lean on if you’re triggered or symptoms of mental illness crop up.

Still, there are times when you might have to rely on your tools to overcome challenges. There are little things you can do throughout the day to preserve the gains you’ve made. Prayer, meditation, and mindful exercises will help you stay positive; a positive attitude changes everything.

Many of us are isolated from supportive peers, friends, and family. It’s not hard to feel alone and apart from the people we care for most. The coronavirus has proven a formidable foe, and there isn’t a concise prediction of when life will return to normal. Nevertheless, you have the power to keep your recovery intact. Men and women in mental and behavioral health recovery can see the other side of COVID-19 scourge even stronger.

Breathing for Recovery

It may be an inopportune time to make recommendations about how to breathe amid a pneumonic plague. Some 664,000 people have died from the coronavirus spreading across the globe. However, breathing is an excellent recovery aid for coping with stress.

Breathing can help you manage anxiety and depression, states of being that are the remora fish of the pandemic. Countless individuals are feeling discontent and frustrated. We all share the common trait of fearfulness because of the deadly virus and the havoc it has wrought on society.

Vestiges of the global outbreak, experts predict, will be higher rates of mental illness. What we do today might impact how we get through the days to come. You can improve your mental health by adopting breathing exercises, according to researchers at Yale University.

Mindfulness and Positivity

Research appearing in the Frontiers in Psychiatry shows that students who learn breathing techniques and emotional intelligence strategies are better able to manage stress and anxiety. Yale News reports that the practices also helped with depression and social connectedness.

In addition to academic skills, we need to teach students how to live a balanced life,” said Emma Seppälä, lead author and faculty director of the Women’s Leadership Program at Yale School of Management. “Student mental health has been on the decline over the last 10 years, and with the pandemic and racial tensions, things have only gotten worse.”

While the study focused on the efficacy of classroom-based wellness training programs, incorporating techniques for managing stress and anxiety is beneficial for everyone. Students taught SKY Breath Meditation, yoga postures, social connection, and service activities reported benefits in six areas of well-being: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive affect, and social connectedness.

If you are experiencing increasing anxiety and depression, please consider learning more about the above techniques. If you have gone through an addiction or mental health treatment program, maybe you learned about the value of yoga and breathing exercises for maintaining a positive attitude. Hopefully, you are still utilizing the practices.

Increased self-awareness and compassion are needed today. Please, do everything you can to achieve those noble goals. The downtime in the day is an opportunity for well-being techniques and to practice positivity. You can still be of service to your peers from afar.

I didn’t realize how much of it was physiology, how you control the things inside you with breathing,” said Anna Wilkinson, Yale ’22 B.A., who uses the practices regularly. “I come out of breathing and meditation as a happier, more balanced person, which is something I did not expect at all.”

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment for Men

Contact PACE Recovery Center if you are a male who struggles with mental illness or addiction. Our highly-trained team can help you begin the journey of recovery during this unprecedented time. We also offer a program designed for students: assisting young men with their academic pursuits. The PACE staff can help you find routine, structure, purpose, and accountability.

Recovery: April is Stress Awareness Month 2020

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This March and April are arguably the most challenging months that people in recovery have faced in living history. Millions of people’s lives depend on constant contact with a mutual support network like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).

Being seen and seeing others reminds recovering individuals that they are not alone. Attending meetings is an outlet of accountability that keeps one on track toward continued progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down; almost everything is different than a short time ago. Protecting your health and the well-being of others demands that we all “shelter in place,” practice social distancing, and use personal protective equipment (PPE).

We have no idea how long these protocols will continue. There are now 854,338 Americans infected with coronavirus; the nation is mourning the loss of 47,125 of our loved ones.

The restrictions imposed on the planet are stressful for each of us, but for those who rely on 12 Step meetings they are taking a nerve-racking toll. Countless people in recovery – regardless of their lengths of sobriety – are in a precarious position and must be more exacting than usual.

While some in-person meetings are still held across the country, people with pre-existing health conditions can’t risk exposure. A significant number of men and women in recovery fall into the above bracket. For such individuals, the internet and smartphones are the only access points to the recovery community.

Videoconferencing and teleconferencing are helpful, and we are lucky such tools exist. However, protracted in-person isolation takes a traumatic toll on a group of people whose program can be compromised by seclusion. Quarantine is stressful and frustrating; if the pressure builds up and isn’t released in a healthy way, the outcome could be a relapse.

Stress Awareness Month 2020

It’s both fitting and ironic that April happens to be Stress Awareness Month. April is always stressful because of taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15th. While forking over your savings to the IRS is worrisome, it pales in comparison to the fear of contracting a deadly virus.

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. The goal of the annual observance is to help people learn how to cope with stress in non-destructive ways. De-stressing is a target that each person in recovery must focus on, perhaps now more than ever.

Just shy of one year ago, a survey showed that Americans were among the most stressed-out people in the world. The Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report indicated that in 2018 men and women in the United States reported feeling stress, anger, and worry at the highest levels in a decade.

What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news, told The New York Times. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”

Gallup asked survey participants about how they felt in the previous day:

  • 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing stress during a lot of the day.
  • 45 percent felt worried a lot.
  • 22 percent – more than one in five – felt angry a lot.

Naturally, maintaining a positive attitude during this unprecedented event is no small hurdle. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to let the new normal of isolation jeopardize your program of recovery. There are many techniques for enhancing your positivity while sheltering in place.

Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to remind you that a positive attitude changes everything (PACE). You have the power to maintain a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.

Your recovery must always come first; call your sponsor and peers in your “deep bench” of support regularly. Attend meetings via the internet. Read recovery related materials and find ways to have fun at home.

If you find yourself becoming overly stressed, try to silence your mind. Meditation is an effective way to bring yourself back to a state of serenity. Exercise is another means of combating anxiety, worries, and pressure.

Being cooped up will ultimately lead to feeling stir crazy. Get outside and take at least a 30-minute walk every day. If you don’t have physical limitations, then go for a bicycle ride or a jog. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go to a gym to work out, nor do you require workout equipment at home. Pushups, sit-ups, and yoga can keep you physically fit and reduce your stress levels.

Any of the above suggestions can help you stay positive despite the pandemic. Staying positive will protect your recovery and keep your program intact until the storm passes.

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

One of the unfortunate byproducts of “stay at home” orders is that Americans are drinking and drugging at elevated rates. Moreover, these arduous past couples of months have impacted members of the recovery community significantly and led to many relapses.

If you relapsed, please get back on track before your situation worsens. It’s possible that you require professional assistance to get back on the road to lasting recovery. We invite adult males who are struggling with mental health and behavioral health problems like depression or addiction to contact us today.

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific recovery programs and services for men. Please reach out to us today to learn more and begin the healing process. Our dedicated team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists are following all COVID-19 protocols for protecting our clients.

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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