Stress And Smoking

Posted By: Staff | Oct 23 2014

For many who use tobacco products, these items (cigarettes and chew) are, in part, used to manage stress.  Nicotine, when smoked, reaches the brain in 7 seconds.  The chemicals in nicotine release chemicals in the brain that cause stress relief and decrease alertness.  These can create a calming and pleasurable effect, however, as soon as you stop smoking the nicotine is cut from the brain and you immediately begin to feel withdrawals.  These withdrawals cause an increased sense of stress and anxiety. 
So while smoking can make you feel like you are dealing with you stress, the actual act of smoking is a major factor in the amount of stress you feel.  Most people do not smoke, and can deal with stressful situations without the harmful chemicals in nicotine products.  So what are they doing differently?  Here are some ideas to help deal with stress in healthy and easy ways.
1. Exercise - there is nothing in the world that can do what exercise does for your health, stress, and confidence.  Exercising on a regular basis is an excellent way to manage. prevent, and deal with stress as well as helping your body stay healthy.
2. Plan “me” time - there is only so much that you can do in a day, week, month, etc.  Much stress is caused by feeling over-worked and overwhelmed.  Schedule some time in each day and preferably even one evening per week to focus on yourself.  Spend time doing a hobby, watching a specific TV show you love uninterrupted, take a relaxing bath, go for a walk, etc.  Find something that you can do just for you and do it on a regular basis so that you can have time to refocus and relax.
3. Deep breathing - taking deep breaths is a great way to handle immediately stressful situations, It forces your body to shut off the stress response and aids in focusing your mind and energizing your body.  Our bodies crave oxygen and breathing very deeply will aid in gathering enough, it will make you feel better, more relaxed, and more focused.  Try to exhale twice as long as you inhale and work your way up to inhaling for 6 seconds.  Once you can inhale for 6 and exhale for 12 seconds do this 10 times.  This is a great coping system when dealing with cravings, when something upsets you, or when you need to take a minute to relax.
4. Make time for people you actually like. - spending time with people who make you happy is important, social interactions that are low pressure and enjoyable are great for stress levels and help aid in an overall feeling of contentment in life.  Don’t spend all your time around people who make you feel overwhelmed or under appreciated.
5. Find what helps you relax, whether it be meditation, yoga, walking, talking to a friend on the phone, beating the stuffing out of your pillow, find what works for you and don’t be afraid to utilize that method as often as you need. 
Managing stress is something that must be learned, once you know what works for you take the time to do it and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  How you deal with stress will affect everything in your life at home and at work.  Effectively managing your stress will make you feel more confident and capable.

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