Stress is a great part of the lives of many people. While some amount of stress is essential as it helps you to achieve your objectives. However, if it continues for long periods of time, it can be counterproductive. There are various ways to cope with stress, while some do positive things to control it, there are others who smoke to get relief from it. Stressful situations make people who have quit smoking pick up the habit again. However, do you really need to smoke to handle stress? Read below tips on how to remain a non-smoker after you have quit smoking or even otherwise.
What Is Stress And How To Identify It?
Stress is a feeling of being under tremendous pressure. This can arise from many life and work situations and events. It can be due to an increase in work pressure, a transition phase, death, arguments in the family, financial worries, and more. It is usually a cumulative effect of all these that can upset the mind and body and lead to unusual behaviour. The most common is smoking and drinking. People who have quit smoking sometimes relapse due to stress. To stop smoking or remain a nonsmoker, apart from using nicotine patches, one must identify the signs and take corrective action. Some of the symptoms of stress are:
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Unable to concentrate or relax
- Low self-esteem
- Change in sleep habits
- Aches and pains
- Nausea or dizziness
How Smoking Causes Stress?
People who smoke believe that it relaxes them and calms them down. That is because nicotine alters the mood and hides the feelings of anxiety and frustration. So people who have quit smoking using nicotine patches get the same effect. However, it increases the levels of stress and causes reactions like:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in heart rate
- Decrease in oxygen supply to the brain and body
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Tension in muscles
These physical conditions increase the feeling of stress, and hence there are many benefits of quitting smoking.
Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress After You Quit Smoking
After you stop smoking and doing the hard part, there are many healthy ways to fight stress, including nicotine patches. Here are some of the healthy ways to cope with stress and the easy way to stop smoking:
Deep breathing and meditation: This is the best way to quit smoking. It can be done many times until you get relaxed. To perform this, there is no need for any specific tools; all you need is a quiet place to sit. Control your breathing through slow inhalation and exhalation and feel the calmness in your mind and body.
Visualisation: This is another meditation technique that can relieve tension instantly. Think of fresh grass and the warm sun around you. This can also be the best way to quit smoking apart from acting as a de-stressor.
Exercise: Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes per day five days a week can help release the feel-good hormones and reduce stress. It is also the best way to stop smoking, as exercise acts as a de-stressor. It can be a rigorous workout like running or a sport that you enjoy or can be walking. Walking can help you reorganise your thoughts and help in problem-solving, so this is one of the ways to quit smoking. Yoga is also another way to relax the mind and body. It can get rid of anxiety by releasing mental stress.
Take time-outs: Sometimes, instead of taking things head-on, stepping away from situations gives you a breather. It can help in restoring balance and peace. One of the reasons people smoke is to give themselves a break. By giving yourself some time and adjusting to expectations, you can handle things better, and this is also one of the ways to quit smoking.
Talk to someone: If you are used to smoking or have quit smoking and using nicotine patches recently, there is a need for some emotional support. Talk to a trusted friend if there is something bothering you, especially when you are on quitting smoking timeline. Consult doctor online or a therapist who can also help you get a proper perspective of stressful conditions.
Self-care: More often than not, stress can cause unhealthy behaviour like binge eating, consuming alcohol, smoking, etc. If you don’t take care of yourself by eating right, sleeping enough, stop smoking and exercising, it adds up. When you take care of yourself by eating well, sleeping well, and exercising, unhealthy habits are less likely, and you’re quitting smoking timeline remains intact.
Sleep: This is one of the ways to quit smoking. One of the common side effects of stress is the inability to sleep. This is magnified in people who have recently quit smoking. Lack of sleep adds to the stress levels and becomes a cycle of sleeplessness and stress. A way to overcome this is to have better sleep habits and by following a sleep routine. Some of the habits like:
- Regular exercise
- Getting out in the sunlight
- Maintaining a sleep schedule
- Consuming less alcohol and caffeine
- Trying relaxation techniques
- Avoiding the use of electronics a few hours before sleep
Being mindful: Mindfulness is a mind-body approach that involves paying attention to feelings and thoughts. That gives the ability to make better choices and manage difficult situations. As per experts, using nicotine patches can reduce the effect of stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other such issues; hence can be used by people who have quit smoking and do not want to restart.
Understand the Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the most important decisions that can help improve health, as per every pulmonologist and cardiologist. But there is no easy way to stop smoking; hence it needs lots of work. While quitting smoking timeline can be at any age, the earlier, the better as it yields better benefits. The benefits of quitting smoking include:
- Improves the overall quality of life
- Reduces the risk of premature death and adds up to 10 years of life.
- Reduces adverse effects like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, pulmonary diseases, etc.
- People who are already diagnosed with heart disease also benefit hugely
- Smoking reduces the financial burden
- Prevents health issues caused by secondhand smoking in families of smokers.
Stress levels increase because of the negative inner voice and cause harmful effects. To ensure you are in good physical health, a regular full body checkup is needed. As far as that negative inner voice, you can control that. Through self-talk and various relaxation techniques, you have better coping skills and greater resistance to stress without having to resort to habits like smoking, especially after doing all the hard work of quitting smoking.