You’ve probably heard about the mind-body connection as it relates to exercise. But the connection goes deeper than what you’ll draw on to do a perfect lunge. It also works in reverse. That’s right. There’s also a body-mind connection.
Focus on your physical health with good, healthy habits, and you’ll find it easier to stay sober.
Here’s why your physical health is important in staying sober.
Exercise boosts mental health
When you’re in recovery, it’s crucial to keep your mind strong and healthy, and there’s almost no better way to do this than to exercise your body. Sound counterintuitive? Well, exercising your body promotes changes in your brain that promote neural growth, reduce inflammation, and help create new patterns to promote calm and overall well being.
Exercise is also notorious for making you feel good. It works as your body releases endorphins to your brain, which it does in an attempt to offset the pain of a good workout. These feel-good chemicals end up having overall positive feelings that people often refer to as a “runner’s high.”
Exercise helps you run in healthier circles
Whether you workout with a bunch of recovery buddies or just hit the gym daily, you’ll likely bond with people who have similar healthy habits. You’ll rub elbows with other people who exercise regularly, and these are typically not the same people who abuse their bodies with drugs or alcohol. They may also be in recovery, but they are likely not going to be using, which is a good circle to be in.
Exercise can replace substances of abuse
You’re not going to get the same dopamine hit from exercise that you’d get from drugs or alcohol. But you can replace the substances as an outlet for stress. Exercise is probably the best natural way to relieve stress. So instead of reaching for a drink at the end of a long day, you can reach for your running shoes or a punching bag (whatever works). It may seem to go against the grain at first, but it’ll eventually become a habit that feels almost like a healthy addiction.
Exercise helps fill the void
When you’re recovering from an addiction, time seems like your worst enemy. Especially in the early days, it’s all you can do to get through your waking hours, yet the clock seems to have slowed to a turtle’s pace. This is why free time is so dangerous in these moments. If you ask anyone who has been through this, they’ll advise you to keep as busy as possible. This is an especially helpful tip for newly sober people. When you don’t notice the time passing, it’s a lot easier to get through your day. Exercise can help. Sure, every minute spent planking feels like a lifetime, but it’ll all blend when you’re done. And before you know it, it’ll be time for your next activity.
When you’re trying to stay sober, you need all your senses. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation where you need to do everything in your power to give yourself the best opportunity for success. Physical health is an important piece of the puzzle.