As we have learned, many times when an individual becomes addicted or dependent on a substance, it may stem from emotional or mental stress. Traumatic events, as well as depression and anxiety, can lead a person to look for extreme or harmful ways to quiet their mind and find calmness. Mental health is incredibly vital when it comes to alcohol and drug addiction recovery. An individual’s emotional state must be nurtured and healed in order to have a successful and effective recovery.
As you complete your addiction treatment, there are steps that you can take in order to maintain a positive emotional state and lead a healthy lifestyle free of addiction. Forming good habits not only provides you with physically healthy activities, but it can greatly improve your mental health.
Maintaining a sedentary lifestyle not only harms your physical health, but it has been shown to increase the risk of depressive symptoms. Studies suggest that inactivity can also affect the shape of neurons in the brain, affecting its function and in turn affecting your mental health. Simply taking a walk through the park or in the neighborhood, doing some light cardio, or gentle Yoga can release endorphins and lift your mood, in addition to lower anxiety and stress.
Keeping your emotions inside and not sharing your feelings can build unnecessary stress and tension that just accumulates and lowers your mood. Simply communicating with those you trust or with a counselor/therapist can make you feel incredibly better. Humans are social animals, and isolating yourself with your thoughts is not the most productive way to heal and lead a healthy life. It’s important to make a habit of communicating how you’re feeling.
Though it seems easier said than done, you’d be surprised how much the food we eat impacts the way that we feel. Avoiding foods that are processed with artificial ingredients and replacing them with whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables can go a long way in keeping your mind clear. You’ll notice that once you start reducing food and drinks with high amounts of sugar and caffeine, you’ll feel more calm and balanced.29
Constantly staring at a screen can get tiring, and too much social media usage can end up lowering your self-esteem and increasing anxiety. Whether it’s taking an hour away from your phone to read a book or doing a physical activity, you’ll notice that being away from all the apps and media can be very beneficial for your mental health.