Stress Relief

Effective stress relief strategies can help you avoid relapse after you quit smoking. Stress is used here to generally define a whole range of feelings and/or emotions that can trigger relapse such as anxiety, upset, anger, grief etc.

Most smokers find that they tend to smoke when faced with stressful situations but, as you will have learned from our nicotine addiction article, nicotine affects the chemicals in your brain and smoking only makes you feel good for a moment or two.

To successfully quit smoking and stay stopped you must find new ways to deal with it.

Stress Relief Tips

  • Just think for a moment - What do non-smokers do when they are faced with stress? Couldn't you try those strategies rather that reach for a cigarette?
  • Facing up to any particular problem often helps as things can appear worse than they really are.
  • In situations where you need help - ask for it. There are countless support agencies out there, run by sympathetic people, who have faced and dealt with your situation.
  • Learn to accept those situations where you really can't do anything about your problem.
  • Try and keep yourself busy by doing something else.
  • Choose a stress free period to quit smoking. Times which are probably not wise to attempt quitting are while moving house, when taking on a new job, getting married or divorced and attending a function where you are likely to drink heavily.
  • St John's Wort is a natural formula held in high regard by many to help relieve anxiety and symptoms of stress, helping you to feel more relaxed. If you anticipate that stress will be a stumbling block for you then it is well worth a try.

Exercises

  • If you do feel anxious take a few deep breaths by inhaling and then exhaling slowly.
  • Simply going for a walk in a nice environment e.g. the local park can relax you.
  • Consider meditation, self hypnosis or yoga. These techniques are especially useful for relaxation and reprogramming your mind, helping to reinforce your new attitude to smoking.

Games

You can also try quick, fun activities to make yourself feel better.

The paper back version of The Big Book of Stress Relief Games by Robert Epstein (ISBN: 0070218668) which retails for about $13 USD and has some great ideas.

Whats Your Plan?

If you have been making notes so far, developing your quit smoking action plan, think about stress for a moment or two. Picture a stressful scenario where you have desperately wanted to smoke.

If that were to occur after you quit smoking what would you do?

Make a note of what you plan to do to deal with stress. Maybe something like:

"I'm going to learn a relaxation technique that I can use to calm me whenever I get stressed."

Write it down on your list and number it "4".

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