Everyone experiences intense emotions from time to time. Anxiety can be an emotional trigger that weakens your resolve to quit smoking. Employ four easy methods this Monday to successfully identify and cope with your anxiety without relying on cigarettes.
Here’s a myth: When you smoke, it relaxes you. The truth is smoking creates an artificial relaxation. Nicotine is a chemical that puts your body on a constant rollercoaster ride of emotions. When you feel stressed, anxious, angry, or moody, your instinct is to draw on a cigarette to calm you down. But the nicotine relaxes you only until it runs dry and you have to have another cigarette to stay calm again. It’s a vicious cycle. This is one reason smoking is so addictive.
Prepare! Before you quit, take some time to create a strategy to get off the rollercoaster so you can be prepared with healthy and positive alternatives. Here are four simple methods to replace using cigarettes to control your anxiety and stress:
Exercise. When you exercise, you are replacing the artificial happiness of nicotine with real happiness. Exercise produces natural pain-relieving receptors or endorphins. Did you know researchers had high-level anxiety smokers exercise when they quit and found it increased their odds of quit success compared to smokers who quit but didn’t exercise? Exercise curbs anxiety and can help you stay quit.
Mindful Breathing Techniques. Cravings and triggers don’t last long. If you can’t exercise, consider doing some deep breathing. It will relax your sympathetic nervous system and make some room in your head. Gently inhale fresh, pure air instead of tobacco smoke. It’s one more technique for getting you off the rollercoaster ride.
Monday Mile. Before you quit, map out mile-long walks from your office, home, and anywhere you plan to be while you quit. Doing a Monday Mile is great exercise. It could give you the energy boost you need to make it through an emotional trigger. Plan to walk someplace nice like a park, along the water, in a shopping area, or inside a mall.
Keep a Journal. When you feel anxious, angry, or overly emotional, take a moment to write it out. Keeping a journal releases pent-up emotions, clears your head, and helps you reach your goals. All you need is a pen and paper to feel better.
Spend Monday planning for emotional triggers. Formulating a plan on Monday will help you get through the week. Every time you substitute a trigger with a positive action, the urge to smoke lessens. How do you deal with smoking triggers? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!