Stop Stress, Stop Smoking

March 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Smoking

Cigarette smoking is often caused by one thing: stress. In fact, even the act of quitting smoking can increase stress. Because of this double-whammy, it makes it doubly difficult to quit smoking. Knowing what causes stress and finding healthier ways to deal with it may help you in struggling to stop smoking.

When taken at a low dose, nicotine acts as a stimulant that increases the blood pressure and the heart rate. Because of this, psychological changes start to take place, making smoking more desirable. When taken at a high dose, nicotine acts as a relaxant.

Both effects of smoking and nicotine just happen to calm stress down. Stimulation creates a positive feeling through dopamine generation in the brain, as well as other pleasure centers; while relaxation also directly and clearly influences the levels of stress.

Physiologically, however, stress, anxiety, and the exhilaration of challenges are pretty much the same. The only difference is in how we look at external events and react to them.

Not a lot of external events are actually inherently stressful; it all depends merely on how we evaluate their possible impact on our personal values and goals. However, the facts that may lead to this evaluation must be true events, such as the loss of someone dear, the loss of a job, and other everyday situations, like changing lanes on the highway. All these have the potential to be stressful and give a negative impact on what we want.

People tend to turn to smoking in order to deal with stress and substitute a cigarette for a complete change in attitude. It may be hard to try to start thinking positively once someone is trying to stop smoking. This is why only 6% of those who stop smoking actually succeed in doing so for good on their first try. Try building up a positive attitude before smoking at all times. This may help you quit smoking better than you think.

Also, take note of events that seem to be correlated to your smoking habits. Do you turn to smoking right after a meal? If so, keep putting smoking off by day or by week; soon enough you won’t even be craving the smoking habit any longer.

Always keep your eye open for opportunities to change your situations that cause stress. Quitting smoking will clearly not happen overnight, but having the attitude from the get-go sure can help. Start building confidence in your ability to stop smoking and reduce the frequency and the odds of ever feeling stressed out. This no smoking program will eventually reduce your need for a cigarette and you will be able to quit smoking for good.