Many people think that smoking helps them relax, but like alcohol, it actually increases stress and anxiety.
Smoking interferes with brain chemistry.
If you haven't had a cigarette for a while, the craving for another one makes you feel irritable. When you smoke again, your anxiety is temporarily relieved. This gives you the illusion that smoking helps you relax.
Stopping smoking improves mood and reduces anxiety. However, quitting can be a hugely difficult and stress-inducing task.
If you don't know how to get started, don't worry. This article is here to help!
Here are eight tips to help make quitting smoking less stressful.
1. Buddy Up
Find a friend who’s also trying to quit, join a local support group, or find an online community such as Reddit. This can help you feel less alone in your journey and provide people to lean on when things get tough.
2. Address Your Triggers
For example, if you smoke after meals, try chewing gum instead. If you smoke when you're drinking, try having more non-alcoholic beverages. If you smoke first thing in the morning, think of a new behaviour you can start instead.
3. Take Advantage of Practical Tools
Look for apps, books or online resources to help you through the process.
4. Explore Stop-Smoking Treatments
For example, tobacco-free nicotine pouches.
5. Talk to Your Doctor
Book an appointment in which you share your decision to quit and get your doctor’s support. They can also prescribe medication to help with withdrawal symptoms.
6. Create a Motivational List
Write down all of the most crucial reasons you want to quit smoking. These could include improved mental and physical health, more money, and improved breathing. Keep this list handy and refer to it when you have cravings.
7. Get Accountability
Inform your friends and family that you've decided to quit so they can support you.
8. Cultivate Optimism
Remember that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Quitting smoking is hard, but it’s definitely possible! Each day you don’t smoke, you’re one step closer to your goal. Be mindful of black-and-white thinking (i.e., "I'm a success/failure") on your journey to quitting. If you slip up, that's okay! Getting back on track is what matters.
Making a Plan
There are lots of tips available on how to successfully quit smoking – it’s worth researching and making a note of the tips that resonate the most with you.
Why not set a date by which you want to be smoke-free?
Once you’ve set your goal, you can start making your plan to achieve it. This might involve getting rid of all your cigarettes and ashtrays, telling your friends and family about your plans, and other methods listed above.
Dealing With Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
The best way to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the individual.
However, here are a few tips that may help:
- Staying busy to distract yourself from cravings – why not pick up a new hobby?
- Exercise regularly to release endorphins and help reduce stress
- Eat healthily to boost your mood and energy levels
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation
- Talk to a therapist for additional support