Coffee Break: Take Back Control of Stress!

Published at 02 May, 2023 12:58.

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From the bigger incidents to the small, minor upsets, it is all about how we react and respond to stress that matters

Reaching for a cigarette will not help! It is a common thought that smoking relieves stress and anxiety and calms us down, but smoking increases these feelings. It may feel like we are relieved of the stress when we light up a cigarette, but this feeling is temporary, and the effects of smoking are more likely to cause feelings of stress and anxiety in the first place. When smokers have not had a cigarette in a while, the cravings for one can make them feel anxious and irritated.

Studies show that stopping smoking helps your mood, you will be less anxious and able to deal with stress in a better way as your anxiety is reduced. After stopping smoking people with mental health problems have improved moods and feel more positive. Smokers are more likely to develop depression over time than non-smokers

Some people are anxious in the first place about stopping smoking. This is a natural reaction, especially if you have smoked for a long time. If you are dealing with stress by smoking and turning to cigarettes to relieve anxiety, let's try these top tips for busting the stress in a better way

Seek support from friends and family you trust. Talking about your feelings and not being alone with stress can help. They may help you find other ways of dealing with problems that you had not thought about. Think about talking to your doctor if you are not coping. List your reasons to stop smoking and talk to a stop-smoking service that can help you quit and manage withdrawal symptoms with nicotine replacement products. Set goals and write down how you might achieve them so that stopping smoking will seem more manageable. Reward yourself every day, until you are smoke-free. Write down a positive feeling or achievement every day. Get some fresh air and exercise if you can. Getting outside can give you a fresh perspective and help you sleep better too. Getting enough rest is important. Take time out for yourself and get back to doing some of the things you love like bike riding, yoga, reading, watching TV, knitting, or doing puzzles. Most cravings do not last long and soon pass if you keep occupied. Think about the cause of your stress so you can find better ways of relieving it. If work is the root cause think about working in a smarter way by prioritising daily tasks. Talk to your line manager as they may not realise how you are feeling.

Smoking will not make anything better in your life and the problems will still be there when you have smoked. Give yourself time and the reaction to smoke triggered by stress will lessen as you practice different behaviour and change how you respond to stress. Every time you choose not to smoke when you are triggered by stress you will learn new habits and responses which are healthier ways of dealing with stress. Stress is a part of our lives, but you can learn to manage it. Take control instead of stress controlling you, by not reaching for the cigarettes!