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Alcohol and Stress: There are Safer Ways to Cope
Drinking in Response to Stress
Other Ways of Dealing With Stress
- Learn to say no—If you are overwhelmed with responsibilities, make a point not to take on more than you can handle.
- Schedule quiet time—Take 10-20 minutes each day to quietly reflect. Listen to music, relax, and clear your mind of stress.
- Take one thing at a time—If your workload seems unbearable, pick one urgent task at a time to work on. When you finish that task, choose another.
- Exercise regularly and eat healthfully—Get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week and focus on eating a healthy diet. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, both of which can interfere with your sleep.
- Share your feelings—Talk to a friend, family member, or healthcare professional about what is causing your stress. A friend or family member’s love, support, and guidance can help you through a stressful situation, and a professional is trained to assess levels of stress and recommend coping strategies.
- Learn to breathe—When stressed, we frequently forget how to breathe properly. Our breaths become rapid and shallow. Learning a few breathing techniques might become a useful tool in combating stress.
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism http://www.niaaa.nih.gov
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca
Mental Health Canada http://www.mentalhealthcanada.com
Co-occurring disorders. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/co-occurring-disorders. Accessed March 31, 2014.
Moderate & binge drinking. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking. Accessed March 31, 2014.
Sasyette M. Does drinking reduce stress? Alcohol Res Health. 1999. 23(4):250-255. Available at: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-4/250-255.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2014.
Stress. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary. Updated August 22, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2014.
Stress management. Help Guide website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress%5Fmanagement%5Frelief%5Fcoping.htm. Updated February 2014. Accessed March 31, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2014
- Update Date: 00/33/2014