During recovery, keeping gambling addiction cravings at bay is all about changing your habits in favor of good activities that can naturally elevate your mood. Exercise is one of the best available means to do this, while helping you secure a healthier mind, spirit and body.
Here are a few ways exercise can help you on your journey to recovery from a gambling addiction.
When you exercise, your body produces natural chemicals, known as endorphins, that have been linked with stress reduction and pain relief. By doing something as simple as going on a quiet jog, or taking part in team sports, you’re altering your brain chemistry for the better. You’ll find that the more you exercise the more positive you feel. Many people see improvements in their self-esteem and outlook on their circumstances once they start to exercise regularly.
In general, exercise is also an incredibly meditative process. Even if you don’t actively combine meditation and exercise as part of your physical routine you’ll quickly find exercise allows you to focus singularly on the task at hand eschewing the stresses in your life. The ability to step outside of your worries, concerns, and fears for a few moments every day is what has people coming back again and again to exercise.
Gambling addictions can be stressful – and the effects of compulsive gambling can be as devastating as any other addiction – so finding a healthy outlet for your stress is often a pivotal point in your journey to recovery. For many, exercise can be that outlet. In helping to alleviate stress and improve the quality of your sleep, your journey to a healthy body and mind can begin with physical exercise.
Coupled with mental exercises and professional support having this outlet can be incredibly valuable for your overall mental well being. Recovery isn’t necessarily just about stopping an old habit, it’s also about giving yourself the tools to deal with any hurdles that life might present in front of you.
Exercise can often result in lot of physical benefits for the exerciser, including improving your endurance and strength.
In addition researchers now know that exercise can help with your brain-cell development. Exercise promotes something called neurogenesis in your brain – the creation of new brain cells. Since negative life events (stress in particular) tend to stunt neurogenesis, it’s clear that the mental effects of exercise have a long-lasting physical impact on your health as well.
Coupled with the right mental therapies the impact of exercise can be incredibly powerful during your journey to recovery. Exercise can not only help you feel stronger, but show you that you are stronger in a fun and challenging environment.
At Algamus we find that, coupled with our recover strong program, yoga is a popular exercise during recovery. As a meditative exercise that pacifies the mind while giving the body a thorough work-out, Yoga can help you understand better how to relax. In doing so, it dampen stress and anxiety, two factors that are known to sometimes trigger relapse. This form of exercise is so popular that we offer yoga as an exercise to complement treatment in all our programs.
Associating with people in a similar situation – using exercise as a way to deal with stress – is a good way to stay on track during recovery. By being close with people who are also health-conscious, you’re more likely to be able to hold yourself to your own goals.
For many, this can translate into finding a program where exercise is featured as a mode of therapy. By receiving feedback, motivation, and guidance from peers as well as trained professionals you’ll develop a stronger affinity for exercise as a method of stress relief while continuing along the path to recovery.
Training the mind and body to exercise regularly is a great way of giving yourself the tools to regain control of your life, setting yourself on the path to recovery. Even if you don't feel overly stressed, you might be amazed at sense of relief you will feel after a rigorous session in the gym. In fact, most people struggle on a day to day basis as the subconscious level- recognizing that fact is a powerful tool in itself.
Algamus is proud to offer Recover Strong as part of its multi-dimensional approach to treatment – a program designed to help you balance your mental and physical health together. As one of the only residential treatment programs in the United States that treats gambling specifically, we're constantly seeking innovative and reliable methods of recovery to offer our clients. In particular, this program aims to help our clients build resilience towards addiction while giving them the power to stay positive while they embark on their path to recovery.
This is a guest blog post by Adam Cook. His mission is to provide people resources to help with recovery. He started Addiction Hub after losing a friend to substance use.