You Don’t Need Cigarettes to Manage Your Stress

Quit Don't Stress

Many smokers cope with stress by sparking up a cigarette, but having a better understanding of the different types of stress can help you manage these feelings without the use of harmful tobacco products.

Stress is physiological, which means it affects both the body and mind. When you feel uncomfortable, threatened, or tense, your body will give a “stress response,” which can involve anything from rapid breathing and a faster heartbeat to sweaty palms and mild nausea. But in many instances, stress is natural, normal, and temporary, like, for example, when you have to speak in front of a large group or are awaiting the results of an important exam.

But other sources of stress can be long lasting and disruptive such as getting fired from a job, suffering a break up, or losing a loved one. These traumatic events can cause long-term difficulties ranging from the physical — headaches, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and digestive problems; to the emotional — panic attacks, depression, overeating, and abuse of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.

Stress should be handled differently based on its severity and duration. Sometimes a deep breathing exercise or a soothing playlist can lower your stress levels, while other more intense stressors may require visiting your primary care doctor or contacting a mental health professional. But regardless of the severity of the situation, the temporary relief of a cigarette is not the answer; it may actually exacerbate the problem.