Stress often leads to a cigarette. Find new ways to handle it.
Everyone feels stressed at times; that’s just a natural human occurrence. But how we choose to deal with the stress differs among us. For nonsmokers, it could be running or meditation, but for many smokers, relief comes in the form of a cigarette. That’s why it is difficult for a lot of smokers to quit because of the comfort they get from smoking.
But the problem with using cigarettes to alleviate stress is that cigarettes offer only a temporary calming sensation because of the nicotine. When that feeling is gone, you’re still left with your stress. (And if you want to get really deep here, smoking actually adds to your stress levels because of the physiological changes happening to your body like increased blood pressure and heart rate). There are much better ways of handling daily pressures than lighting up.
There are many resources available on stress management from books to apps to websites, but here are some steps to get you started:
1. Recognize and address stress triggers.
Start off by thinking about what causes you stress (e.g. too much work to get done, family issues) and the way it makes you feel. Then figure out if there is a way for you to stop those stressors before they happen. If there’s not a reasonable way to prevent those causes, think of ways you can avoid them if possible.
2. Plan on how you’ll deal with stress and find other stress relievers.
You won’t be able to prevent or avoid all stressors; that’s just a fact of life. But can come up with a plan on how to deal with and respond to stress when it happens! For example, when you feel stressed, take a five-minute walk outside to get some fresh air and clear your mind. Or make space in your busy calendar for some “me-time” to relax and unwind.
3. Find other ways to relax.
There are lots of proven stress relievers, but you have to find what works for you. Maybe its deep breathing, meditation, flexing your creative muscle, humor, or listening to music. Physical activity in particular can significantly improve your mood. Whichever you choose, just make your stress relievers are positive for your health.
4. Find support to deal with your stress.
Leaning on a friend or family member when times get tough can you get through many stressful situations. Your doctor or therapist can also guide you through other means to deal with stress.
5. Take care of yourself.
Some people may not realize how much overall wellbeing contributes to stress. For example, eating well, driving plenty of water, and getting enough sleep contribute to better health and less stress!
When you figure out how to deal with your stress, you can become much calmer and more productive, and your quit will go a lot easier.
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