Substance Abuse and Stress.

Worry about your family, layoffs, work, income loss and your health due to C-19 can wreak havoc on your thinking. This post will not protect you from the virus. Only science, doing what the professionals tell us (shelter in place – isolate) and time can do that.

You do have the strengths and resources to manage your beliefs, thoughts attitude and fear about this. Let’s just focus on your visual resources first.

  1. Make a picture of the stress C-19 is causing. It’s right in your face. It feels scary. It’s a ten, the worst of a scale of 1-10. Let it go. As you let that go, look away, think of your phone number backwards. Take a deep breath and…
  2. Now, make a picture of five things in your life that you are grateful about. See pictures of people in the family that you love and who make you happy. Maybe it is the object of your affection. See that person right in front of you with a big, happy smile. How does that feel? Make the picture a little bigger, a little brighter, a little closer, a little warmer. How does that feel? Better, right?
  3. Okay. Now you have a choice. You can see how one helps you with the other. You have a choice of which one to think about.
  4. Repeat as needed. You can do it ten times to condition the new response. You can use this for anything in the future.
  5. As you consider the future, visualize where you might need this skill again. What picture will you use to give you the strength you will need to overcome that feeling? Focus on that positive, happy picture. See it in rich detail. Is it in color? Is it near, far. Is there any sound? Is it warm?
  6. Now, lightly press your right thumb and forefinger together to “anchor” this feeling for 10 seconds or as needed to capture that feeling.
  7. Let’s test this. Think of a situation where you ordinarily would feel stress. “Fire” your anchor – press your thumb and forefinger together. When you do that your brain gets the message that you want that positive feeling again. What do you see, hear and feel that helps you feel better?

When you think about this – don’t you think you could use this as a relapse prevention skill if you have exercise, diet, alcohol and other drug problems too?

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