a photo of a stressed man

Unfortunately, stress is inevitable – from failed relationships to family conflicts to financial trouble — and uncontrolled stress can have a serious impact on your health and your new sober life.

But how do you calm yourself down after a stressful encounter or situation? Could it really be as simple as thinking happy thoughts?

According to a recent stress study, published in Nature Human Behavior, reminiscing about happy times can help shut down your body’s stress response. Acute stress compromises the neural circuitry that’s involved in emotion regulation.

Researchers Mauricio Delgado and Megan Speer from Rutgers University stressed out 134 study participants by having them submerge their hands into cold ice water. One group was instructing to spend the time thinking about a positive experience, like a past family trip to Disneyland, while the others thought about something mundane (like getting luggage and packing for the trip).

The group who recalled happy memories  felt better and the expected rise in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol was only 15 percent.

“Engagement of cortical regions previously linked to emotion regulatory functions may be significant for enhancing or sustaining pleasant feelings during positive reminiscence, thus dampening the physiological stress response,” the researchers concluded.

Indeed, learning to calm down physiologically soon after a stressful event has been shown to make you healthier (both physically and psychologically) over the long term. And, it’s certainly an important skill to cultivate in order to achieve lasting sobriety. Developing healthy stress relievers improves wellbeing and hastens recovery success, according to past studies.

Managing Stress at 10 Acre Ranch
Stress comes from a number of places, and is different for everyone. During our group therapy, members cultivate healthy coping habits to identify high-risk situations and manage stress more constructively. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.

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