Exchange the negative for the positive.
Assess – What can you do to function in a more healthy more positive way? For instance, if you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past, review what worked and what did not. Using that information, set some goals, change your environment, and get rid of temptation. If emotional eating is your problem, start by replacing one healthy snack for your unhealthy habit. It may be as simple as reaching for a glass of water instead of a can of beer or soda.
Enlist support – Change is challenging in the best of circumstances. Obtaining the help of friends, family, accountability partners and other support groups will help you reach your goals. Your health care provider or counselor can help you make connections to support groups or others that can offer help in your situation.
Replace bad habits with good habits – Change your routine. Distract yourself. Keep busy; not only will you be more productive, but it will help you sidestep the temptation. Often psychological desire lessens after 20 minutes.
Get medical help – Medications are available to help you quit smoking, drinking or using drugs. Psychological therapy is available for other compulsive behaviors.
Create a plan – Be prepared for situations that can cause you to relapse into negative coping behaviors. Don’t let a tempting situation sneak up on you.
If you live with someone with an addiction problem, get help. Talk to your health care provider about assistance for yourself and your loved one.
Learn to manage stress positively.
Not all stress is negative. Stress can cause excitement and move us to positive action. Stress is a matter of personal perception and is defined differently for everyone. A social person would experience stress if he or she was forced to work in a solitary environment; a person who would rather be alone would find him or herself stressed if they had to engage in conversations in a roomful of people. The key to handling stress is to recognize your physical and emotional responses to stress and then take positive steps to cope with it.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Keep a stress diary to record stressful events and your responses to them. Knowing your stress triggers are can help you avoid or plan a response to them.
- Don’t turn to chemicals or destructive behaviors to cope with stress. Moderate your reaction through breathing, relaxation, exercise or talking it through.
- Create a plan of attack for worrisome or bothersome issues.
- Exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and making time for leisure activities gives the body and the mind capacity to process elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol, stress hormones the body manufactures when stressed.
- Develop a social network for support. A friend or support group can offer affirmation and help you set realistic goals and expectations as you work through your life situation. Emotional support provides hope.
- Develop a resilient positive attitude with gratitude. Look for opportunity in every problem.