The term “stress” generally refers to the body’s response to stimuli that it considers harmful. Many medical professionals consider stress to be a contributing cause of addiction to alcohol or other drugs (AOD).There are conflicting theories about how great the association between alcohol abuse and stress is, however, it is widely accepted that stress plays a role in one’s susceptibility to AOD. 

Many of us, when we feel stretched to the limit in our daily lives, turn to alcohol to relax and unwind. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink, adopting healthier ways to combat stress will improve your overall well-being in the long run. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

Speak kindly to yourself 

Positive self-talk is a highly underrated yet highly effective way to deal with stress. Rather than getting down on yourself for making mistakes and, well, being human, flip the positive switch on, even with the smaller details in life that may seem unimportant. When you wake up in the morning, for example, rather than criticizing yourself in front of the mirror, pick out a feature that makes you laugh (bedhead, crazy PJs, etc.). Planting that small seed of happiness early on makes it easier to stay focused on the positive throughout the day. As a Go365® member, you have access to the “Positive Thinking” Conversation which helps you reframe your thoughts with more positivity. If it’s listed within your Recommended Activities, you can also earn Points. 

Slow it down 

There are various ways to unwind after a stressful day, and a large majority of them involve becoming more mindful (think yoga, meditation, and journaling). It does take practice to develop a mindfulness practice but you don’t have to go it alone – Go365 can help. Stop, Breathe & Think is a Go365-compatible app that provides goals, incentives and tips to guide you. Simply connect to the compatible app, set a weekly mindfulness log in the Go365 App, and earn up to 10 Points per week for meditating. To be eligible for Points, go through at least three full meditations in the Stop, Breathe & Think app. If journaling is more up your alley, download The Five-minute Journal for $4.99. This Go365-compatble app can also be used to set a weekly mindfulness log, and entails journaling about your day in the morning and at night. 

Engage in feel-good activities 

Stress has a nasty habit of making us feel bad. While we know that we should probably do something that makes us feel good, that can be harder than it seems. Start small by setting aside 15 minutes each day to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s knitting a scarf, playing an instrument, doing a crossword puzzle, calling a friend, or taking a walk, do anything you can think of to boost your mood and leave stress behind. If you’d like to get rewarded for engaging in fun activities, remember you can earn Points through Go365 by participating in a sports league or athletic event, setting a fitness habit or weekly log, or even donating blood. While donating blood may not be at the top of your feel-good list, helping others (and potentially saving lives) definitely does a body good. 

Learn something new 

Specific activities through Go365 can also help you be more mindful and reduce stress. After signing in, navigate to Activities > Education and click on “View details” under Calculators. You can earn 75 Points (up to 300 Points per program year) for completing 

Calculators, including “Are you depressed?” and “What is your stress level?” In the same area on the left-hand side, you will find additional activities including Courses such as “Living Easy: Stress & Resiliency,” and “Living Smart: Managing Alcohol Consumption.” These Courses are worth Points if they are listed as a Recommended Activity in your account. Verify this and additional Recommended Activities by navigating to Activities > Recommended. 

Small changes can have a large impact on your long-term health. It’s okay to pour yourself a drink from time to time. It’s not okay to rely on alcohol to make your troubles melt away. (It never works anyway!) Taking mini time-outs each day to de-stress will help you adopt healthier ways to combat stress, one step at a time.