Dealing with Stress in Recovery Part II – Prayer and Meditation

by Kay Sheppard, LMHC

When practiced regularly, prayer and meditation can change the way we deal with stress in a very fundamental way.

Who among us has not used the Serenity Prayer in times of stress? In my case, it could be called the “Release from Stress Prayer.”

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

The gift of this prayer is that it applies simple logic to difficulties:
Can I change it? Yes, then change it!
Can I change it? No, then accept it!

Eventually, we recognize we can change only what we think, what we say, and what we do. The rest is beyond our control. When God grants us the wisdom and courage to change ourselves and leave the rest to Him, we find serenity. A short Serenity Prayer is: Bless them; change me!

My Recovery Prayer
God, you have given me awareness, strength, and power to challenge the thoughts that take me off my path of peace. Today I choose to cooperate with your will and accept your grace. With your help, I turn away from inappropriate thoughts of food. I turn away from thoughts of criticism and blame of myself and others. Lead me on the path of love and service.

Regular meditation practiced twice daily is like paying the premiums on our insurance. The great benefit of this practice is not always readily apparent. One of the rewards of meditation is that it results in deep relaxation that allows for the release of stored up stress. I perceive meditation as a way of healing both the past and the future, because meditation facilitates the release of stress and allows us to move into the future free of old stresses. Regular meditation provides psychological, emotional, and physical rewards.

More Ideas for Stress Reduction
*Live and let live.
*Take assertiveness training.
*First things first.
*Abstain from all addictive triggers.
*Be honest.
*Meditate 20 minutes at 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.
*Phone someone you love.
*Organize a drawer.
*Write a letter.
*Read the Big Book.
*Take a daily inventory (Step 10).
*Call the newest member of your group.
*Talk to your sponsor.
*Practice the presence of God.
*Read a book on forgiveness.
*Weigh and measure all your food.
*See your spiritual advisor.
*Practice positive affirmations.
*Get enough sleep and rest.
*Get a massage.
*Ask for help.
*Attend 90 meetings in 90 days.
*Visit a different meeting.
*Learn problem solving techniques.
*Develop an appropriate exercise routine.
*Write a gratitude list.
*Examine control issues and give one up.
*Practice generosity — give something away.
*Do a guided imagery tape.
*Learn something new.
*Tell a joke.
*Save some money.
*Do a good deed and don’t get caught doing it.
*Work on body image issues.
*Be kind.
*Let go and let God.
*Choose high quality food.
*Abstain from all criticism for one day.
*Play with a balloon and blow bubbles.
*Write in your journal.
*Make a gratitude list each day.
*Sing and dance.