Stress Awareness NZ – Stress and Addiction are closely linked

Stress awareness NZ – As Kiwis, we’re typically a tight lipped bunch when it comes to how we’re feeling. At The Retreat NZ, we happily put up our hand in support of Stress Awareness Week, any promotions or initiatives to help raise stress awareness, and provide stress coping strategies for both men and women.

What Is Stress – Is It A Necessary Evil?

Stress is natural and we are built to respond to it. Any organism when faced with a threat to their wellbeing will experience stress. Our body will release specific chemicals, our heart rate will speed up to circulate more blood and our breathing will accelerate to take in more oxygen. We might also feel more alert and aware of our senses and surroundings. This is the so-called “fight or flight” response and is completely normal and often vital to our survival. In nature, the stress situation is usually short-lived while in today’s modern world stress can end up being the default circumstance.

Dr. Karl Albrech, a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for business people, defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book:

  • Time stress – who amongst us doesn’t feel like there are just not enough hours in the day?
  • Anticipatory stress – this can be focused on a specific event but can also be vague and undefined, such as an overall sense of dread about the future. When this goes into overdrive, many of us will recognise the effect of this on our mental health – known as anxiety.
  • Situational stress – sometimes this is due to unforeseen emergency situations, but more often it’s finding yourself in scary situations that you have no control over.
  • Encounter stress – worrying about interacting with a certain person or group of people.

Most people will have experienced some or all of these at some time but many experience stress of one kind or another all of the time.

Sustained Stress and Addiction as an Unhealthy Coping Strategy

Prolonged stress that is not being managed in a healthy manner is the real issue. It can cause severe damage to both your mental and physical health and needs to be addressed urgently. Some people are naturally able to cope with stress by virtue of their physical and psychological make-up, but others find their situations so overwhelming that they turn to very unhealthy coping mechanisms. Escaping the realities of stressful situations by using alcohol or drugs only works for a very short while. Substance abuse adds more stress to the situation which can lead to greater substance abuse and so on. In addition, physical damage done to the body through abuse of alcohol and/or drugs makes it more difficult to deal with stress and so the downward spiral continues.

The Retreat NZ was established to help those with alcoholism and/or addiction to get their lives back. Our programmes will give you a new set of tools to help you to live a wonderful life and our staff and volunteers are passionate about the 12 step recovery programme and will guide you and work with you every step of the way. If you or any loved one is attempting to “self-medicate” stress away with alcohol or drugs, you can call us any time night or day and have a confidential discussion about the problem.

Resilience is the power to succeed

The world we live in is becoming increasingly stressful and so it is highly important that we cultivate resilience in both our corporate and personal lives, and develop the power to bounce back from on-going challenges. It is as great a time as any for all of us: those who have substance abuse issues and those who do not, to evaluate the role stress plays in our lives. The twelve step programme gives you a set of tools to live life on life’s terms and deal with whatever you are facing today, one day at a time.


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