How to Quit Smoking When You're Stressed

A man feels stressed while smoking.

Most smokers feel that their stress can be blown in clouds of smoke but in reality, it is a trap. Smoking increases stress and the only way you can break free of this vicious cycle is to quit smoking. The temporary sense of relaxation that smoking provides must not be mistaken for relief, remember it is just a nicotine hit lasting for a short duration leaving you craving for another cigarette. There is more stress happening within the body than you can envisage. Those who feel that smoking a cigarette helps you to relieve your worries and enables clear thinking, are living a myth. Smokers expose their bodies to rapid heartbeat, their muscles are mostly tense, blood pressure shoots up and blood vessels narrow down. The brain receives less oxygen making them eventually feel quite unwell and the effects can be quite daunting, sometimes leaving a permanent mark on their well-being. We will discuss in greater detail how smoking affects overall health in individuals and why you should quit smoking to avoid stress .

How does smoking affect our overall health?

The effects of smoking are profound and far-reaching on the overall well-being of individuals. Though the most impeding damage that smoking does to health is associated with cancer, the risks are far-reaching and act slowly, effectively damaging the body sometimes beyond repair if the habit is not terminated at the right time.

The most consequential result of smoking is lung cancer when people start smoking at a very young age. Most smokers succumb to respiratory issues that are noticeable while climbing stairs. They will find themselves getting breathless. With years of smoking Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an inevitable outfall. In a hospital's pulmonary division, the cases arriving with pulmonary complaints are dominated by smokers.

Smokers attract cardiovascular problems as their blood pressure increases owing to the narrowing of valves. The longer they linger with the smoking habit, the more stressed will be the condition of their heart.

Reproductive problems are becoming common as people are smoking without considering the consequences. Women who smoke face severe complications conceiving, and once that happens, they face fetal complications with an increased risk of miscarriage or preterm birth with low-weighing infants. Men face erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm count, mounting stress on couples and their relationships.

Falling ill is common as the immune system suffers from smoking tobacco. Toxic substances in tobacco weaken the immunity cells making the body ill-equipped to fight against pathogens. This weakness extends to various systems in the body affecting the mouth, throat, kidney, gallbladder, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix and other organs. The skin starts ageing prematurely, and with gum infections and discoloured and falling teeth, an individuals external physical appearance takes a beating. The mouth has a permanent tobacco stench, making smokers quite unbearable.

These health complications and consequences are stressful. While smokers live with these, breaking free becomes impossible from nicotine addiction. Even if they wish to avoid smoking, nicotine cravings will not let them give up smoking in one go.

What other forms of stress are caused by smoking?

The impact of smoking is mostly visible physically, but it influences many other aspects of your life causing avoidable stress. We have already discussed how stressful failing health from smoking can be, but the dangers of smoking present a spectrum of issues at multiple levels making you more depressed and dissatisfied.

A feeling of alienation may arise when smokers are caught between nonsmoking groups. The strong stench of tobacco often puts people away from smokers and they are forced to go out of their houses to look after their smoke breaks. This leaves them somewhat lonely and stressed socially.

Smoking is an expensive hobby, as the cost of cigarettes can take a heavy toll on finances. However, the craving addiction is stressful, and despite your diminishing resources, you will be compelled to spend on poor quality, more health-harming tobacco to satiate your want. This can additionally be harmful to health and jointly stress health and medical expenses.

Some employers prefer smoke-free offices. Their anti-smoking agendas can make a smoker quite miserable, forcing them to control their habit, sometimes even giving it up. This adds to further withdrawal stress as having to leave the office for smoke breaks may not be too pleasing for the employer, pressing new problems in the job.

Smoking, some feel, offers mental stress relief, but this is paradoxical. Dousing initial anxiety the nicotine craving creates more stress than you had as a nonsmoker. The cycle of nicotine dependency keeps increasing until you forcibly quit smoking.

Smoking fosters irritability and relationships with family members, colleagues, friends etc. can suffer from mood swings. Being driven into loneliness, smokers get isolated, they do not share healthy and cheerful relationships with their children. Smokers can reverse this condition when they avoid smoking.  

How to deal with stress without smoking.

A woman dealing with stress without smoking

Smoking and stress go hand in hand. Ardent smokers believe that their stress is relieved after smoking cigarettes, though it is the other way around. Once you quit smoking you are in a better place and can control all the stress that smoking brings.

Quitting can initially spark stress as nicotine craving demands a relapse into smoking. If this stress can be managed, with planned practices, the stress can be better handled.

In life, some situations can put immense mental pressure on individuals. Those who smoke take to smoking as a way of relieving stress. Devising more healthy ways to deal with this stress by avoiding smoking should be helpful.

Even if you are not too active physically exercising is a good way of relieving stress. If you are under stress going for a walk can help ease the pressure. Instead of smoking, being actively engaged in workouts or jogging, swimming, and yoga releases endorphins that are natural body boosters and alleviate stress.

When the mind is under pressure and keeping your head straight seems an impossibility, practising meditation could be a great way to beat stress.

People who have just given up smoking feel strong urges to return to it. Regular breathing exercises that involve slow control of breath can help counter mental and psychological stress.

Healthy food habits keep the body light and can effectively beat heaviness from stress. Eating your meals every day and following a balanced diet is a huge mood uplifter. This lifestyle change plays a dominant role in maintaining mental equilibrium and warding stress.

Humans are fundamentally social and being with family, friends and well-wishers who support you to come out of the smoking habit and help you beat the anxiety and craving of returning is a valuable support system.

When you quit smoking, being attached to support groups is an added stress reliever. Like-minded people enduring behavioural changes similar to you can support the most stressful moments of your life as they have experienced them too. The emotional and psychological stress is relatable and will help you gain a better perspective of the factors causing your stress.

Instead of engaging too long in monotonous chores try replacing monotony with something you like even if it is for a brief spell. Switching between tasks can step down stress and the variety can stop you from succumbing to smoking.

With work pressure going ahead of pleasure, people tend to compromise hobbies and replace them with rest. Taking out time to pursue hobbies is a refresher and freshens the mind. Stress will no longer be a subject of concern instead your hobby will add impetus to enjoy life.

Professional help can be sought if you are feeling burnt when you avoid smoking. Professionals can guide you through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which comes in various forms like gums, mint, and patches helping to wean from nicotine by reducing the portion. This therapy prevents stress from nicotine withdrawal symptoms, eventually enabling to quit smoking.

Smoking stresses can be avoided by individuals, all it takes is a willingness to forgo. With Nicotine Replacement Therapy, smokers no longer need to go through withdrawal symptoms and fear massive cravings with headaches. Nicotine cravings can be avoided now and in slow doses, the craving stress can be mitigated. If you are a smoker and are still deliberating on whether you should quit smoking, remember the sooner you quit smoking the better your life will be. Life’s journey can be stressful or blissful. The choice is yours on how you turn events and opportunities for yourself. But inviting added stress by smoking will take away much more than it has any probability of returning. Don’t trust smoking to provide happiness, instead spend quality time with friends and family, indulge in hobbies, eat well and live well, and purchase reliable NRT products as it is the best way to quit smoking and live cheerfully.