PUBLISHED: 11:12 AM on Wednesday, September 28, 2005
How to cope with stress without drinking

(NUI) - Though drowning your sorrows in a bottle may temporarily allow you to forget your worries, numerous studies show that you may be doing more harm than good when turning to alcohol for stress relief.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcoholic beverages stimulates production of the same hormones that your body releases when under stress.

In other words, stress is induced rather than reduced.

There are numerous ways to reduce stress effectively without drinking alcohol.

• Maintain physical and mental balance. Exercising regularly helps your body get rid of excess energy produced by emotions, such as anger. Exercises like yoga specifically help promote control of the body and mind.

• Take supplements. Getting the nutrients your body needs will help keep you functioning at your best. Some supplements are specifically designed to help your body cope with stress.

"Stress can short-circuit rational thought," said Dr. Nicholas Hall, director of the Saddlebrook Resort Wellness Center in Tampa, Fla.

• Join a support group. If you're going through a rough period, like trying to overcome a death in the family, a support group can provide you with the encouragement to tackle difficult situations effectively.