Many smokers say that smoking helps to relieve stress. If you are a smoker, you may find yourself lighting a cigarette whenever you feel upset, tired, irritable or anxious as a quick-fix solution.
Although smoking may help in the short term, in the long term it doesn't help at all, as it doesn't actually solve your problems. You may become dependent on nicotine to provide you with that quick fix. You also risk seriously damaging your health and the health of those around you.
Quitting smoking is better for you in the long run...
Some smokers use the fact that smoking helps with their stress as an excuse not to quit. Part of becoming a non-smoker is about finding new ways to cope with stress and developing new techniques to get through difficult times in your life, without reaching for the cigarettes.
It will be better for you in the long run. After all, there's nothing more stressful than having a serious
disease such as
lung cancer or
disease and wishing you'd quit smoking sooner.
Perhaps the most effective stress reduction technique is identifying what is worrying you most. Often in our hectic everyday lives, we go from one problem to the next without stopping to think about our
Try not to do this - wherever possible don't put too much pressure on yourself, and don't give yourself more to do than you can cope with.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious and irritable, work out exactly what it is making you feel this way. It could be a problem with a relationship, it could be work pressures, maybe you are going on holiday, moving house, taking an exam - the list of potential stressful situations is endless.
Once you have worked out what you are stressed about, then you can take steps to solve the problem. Think about what you can do to alleviate the situation. These might be small steps, or it may be about making a big change to make your life better.
The old saying that a problem shared is a problem halved has a lot of truth in it. Talk to someone you trust about your stress as a fix, rather than reaching for the cigarettes. Or you could see your doctor and be referred to a trained counselor who will help you identify your problem and find solutions.
There are many practical things you can do to alleviate stress, too. You could try:
- deep breathing techniques to calm yourself down,
- counting to ten slowly if you feel very stressed or angry,
- walking away from stressful situations,
- gentle exercise,
- reading your favorite book after a stressful day,
- listening to your favorite CD,
- having a relaxing bath, or
- a relaxing massage from your partner.