In one point or another, we all feel stressed out. People cope with stress in different ways. Some can handle stress easier than others. Some would spend time with friends, take a vacation, exercise, or sleep. Some would simply smoke.
Stress is among the common triggers for smoking. Statistics suggest that people who are stressed are more likely to smoke than those who are not. Smokers would find it more difficult to quit when they are stressed. And former smokers are most likely to start smoking again to cope with stressful situations.
While it is true that further studies are needed to determine the real reason behind the smoking-stress link, there are some reasonable explanations as to why this happens. When you smoke, the nicotine triggers your brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the “feel good” sensation. This makes smokers feel better every time they smoke.
Smoking also gives the smoker a time-out. The mere act of lighting and taking a drag gives the smoker a time out from their stressors. It momentarily distracts you. Since smoking is a social activity, it can somewhat create a sense of support and comfort. And finally, smoking seems to dismiss the various nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Smoking WON’T help you cope with stress.
Experiencing a lot of stress can trigger you to smoke and makes it harder to quit. This is so because you have developed the habit to cope with cigarettes. Below are 4 reasons why smoking won’t help you cope with stress.
1. Smoking merely creates temporary relief. It doesn’t in any way address the problem. The moment you walk back into the room, you are confronted by the same problem. The problem remains. It is better to address it directly.
2. Smoking tricks you and makes your brain believe that it relieves the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It actually satisfies the addiction and does not relieve you of the symptoms. After a few minutes you have to light another cigarette to satisfy the same addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are normal as your body tries to recover from the harmful effects of smoking.
3. Smoking is a harmful way to cope with stress. It will kill you faster than stress. Smoking robs you of your health. It causes cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses such as cancer. It also affects your mental health. You may want to consider a healthier way to cope with stress. You may want to spend more time in the gym when you feel stressed, or taking a short walk instead of lighting up a cigarette during breaks.
4. Smoking in fact causes more stress. Studies suggest that quitting smoking actually lessens your stress levels.
Some smokers started smoking and picked the habit again as response to stress. But a better approach to cope with stress is learning new ways to deal with it without lighting a cigarette. You can deal with stress in different ways, but definitely, smoking shouldn’t be one of them.