Stress and negative emotions can be important smoking triggers. They are threats to staying smoke free.
You think that stress may be a problem for you during your efforts to quit smoking. Learning new skills to manage stress will be especially important.
You say that you tend to smoke when experiencing unpleasant emotions because smoking relaxes you. But you wouldn't be imagining things if you noticed that smoking may make you feel better during stress or emotional upset.
Nicotine is a powerful, mind-altering drug. When you smoke, nicotine stimulates the release of brain chemicals that help calm you down – temporarily. The act of smoking itself can also be a distraction from stress. But these effects don’t last, and soon you need another cigarette.
Here are some good ways to manage stress. Practice them when you’re not stressed so you can use them later.
Getting enough sleep tops this list. It’s also important to take time to relax. Even 5 minutes once or twice a day can make a big difference. Healthy eating as well as reducing alcohol use and caffeine intake can help too.
Not only does being active relieve stress, but people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer the negative effects of stress in their lives.
Sharing with Others
Talk with a good friend, your spouse, or other family member about what is bothering you. Even if you don't fix the problem, you're likely to feel better and come up with some solutions too.
Practicing Deep Breathing
Close your eyes. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Bring the air deep into your lungs by pushing your abdomen gently outward. Then slowly exhale, blowing the air out through your lips. Repeat this for 5-10 minutes.
Prayer / Meditation
Spiritually minded? Don't underestimate the power of prayer – share your feelings with God. It can be a great source of comfort.
Not religious? You can meditate. While deep breathing, focus on a single word like joy or peace as you exhale. When your mind wanders, gently draw it back to that word. With practice, feelings of stress will lessen.
Look at the daily calendar section for other ideas for managing stress.