People who think that smoking helps them relax are simply fooling themselves, experts say. Nicotine withdrawal produces several symptoms including anxiety and restlessness which most people confuse with the feeling of stress. This is why they prefer to light another cigarette after the other. Basically, smoking makes them feel ‘better’ as they feed their body with another dose of nicotine.
Stress is the major reason why many smokers fail in their attempts to quit. The good news is – there are several ways to reduce the ‘stress’ associated with quitting smoking. Following these steps will make quitting as easy and smooth as possible.
1. Understand that it’s natural to feel stressed.
Knowing that anxiety and stress are natural symptoms of nicotine withdrawal helps condition your mind to the challenges that come with quitting smoking. Recognize that you’re going to experience stress and accept it. But, you have to be optimistic. Develop a ‘can-do’ attitude. This will motivate you to resist the stressful period of smoking cessation.
2. Resolve stressful issues that can aggravate your condition
Before you start quitting, take away all those petty stressors. No matter how small they are, they can make you feel sick as they pile up. You can’t fix all the stressful issues that bugging you but at least, do something to lessen the burden.
3. Know your stressors
When you know what makes you feel anxious, you can find ways to avoid them. Recognizing your stressors allows you to deal with quitting smoking easier. For instance, if feeling hungry makes you feel anxious, then you need to make sure you eat on time.
4. Ignore long-term problems (for now)
The smoking cessation period isn’t going to last your entire life. To avoid suffering from too much stress, you want to set aside the things that have been worrying you for so long. It could be your goal of getting a job promotion, buying a car, etc. Set them aside just now and focus on quitting smoking.
5. Keep moving
Many studies have shown that exercising boost the production of chemicals in the brain that are responsible for the feeling of wellbeing. Some studies reveal that exercising reduces depression by up to 80%. Give yourself time for some physical exercises. Go to the gym on weekends, jog in the morning, walk your dog, and keep moving.
6. Learn some relaxation techniques
When you’re in the middle of a stressful event, practicing some relaxation techniques can greatly help. They include deep breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and more.
7. Call a friend
Social support plays a vital role in the success of a person trying to quit. Having someone who listens and understands what you’re going through can help alleviate the stress and anxiety you feel during the smoking cessation period.
8. Be patient
Whenever you feel excessively overwhelmed on some things, always remind yourself that smoking cessation is only temporary. The nicotine within your body gets weaker and weaker each day. And eventually, it won’t make you feel stressed.
9. Forget that you’re stressed
If you think of stress every now and then, it will worsen your condition. Distracting yourself by doing things that you find enjoyable is one way to forget about the stress associated with quitting smoking. Dine out. Visit the spa, shop, sooth yourself in a warm bath, get some massage – pamper yourself. You deserve it after all.
10. Keep a healthy diet
While eating vegetables and fruits don’t directly affect how you feel, they can make your body stronger, preventing the onset of health problems that can just make you feel more stressed.