Living in a modern world, we are faced with multiple commitments and responsibilities, which can sometimes demand too much of us and start to feel overwhelming. For a smoker, it can be instinctive to reach for a cigarette and light up as a way of calming oneself down when stressed, nervous or anxious. Many smokers tend to increase the number of sticks smoked during high pressure periods, which could correspond with certain events, job changes, life occasions or transitions, and more.
Sometimes, stress can come from financial struggles or relationship problems. However, it may not be obvious to these smokers that those extra cigarettes are actually putting more stress on themselves, and adding more problems that they would have to deal with down the road, especially in terms of health.
Ways In Which Smoking Takes Its Toll
But wait, you say, doesn’t nicotine calm you down and reduce feelings of anxiety, anger and frustration? Indeed, while smoking may make you think you are calmer, it actually causes high stress levels in the body in the form of increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, lower oxygen levels available to the brain and body, and tensed muscles.
Hence, the temporary calm you may feel when you draw on the cigarette is short-lived, and it goes away extremely quickly once you are done smoking, leaving you with much stress and tension in the body which may in fact drive you towards yet another cigarette.
On top of that, smoking takes a toll on your physical body and respiratory system. The more you smoke, the more susceptible you are to illnesses. This in itself becomes another form of stress as you have to deal with sickness recovery.
If You Have A Stress Smoking Habit
The people who find it hardest to let go of the tendency to smoke while stressed are the people who have made a habit out of stress smoking. There are a few ways in which you can try to kick this habit which has been built up over a long period of time, sometimes many years. An effective strategy is to replace the habit of smoking with another activity which contributes to your overall well-being and health.
Some people may find that replacing smoking with exercise helps get their blood flowing and helps them feel refreshed and re-energized, plus exercise provides a similar boost in mood that nicotine does. Another activity could be to practice yoga or tai chi, as they are calming methods of exercise. Meditation is another good way of coping with stress, as it calms the mind and body as well. Sometimes taking a long walk helps too. If the stress is too overwhelming, sometimes the best thing to do is to find someone to speak with about the problems or just to share the frustrations with.
If you feel you may have a stress smoking habit and wish to speak to someone, do reach out to Mind & Body Health Group. We are committed to aligning wellness in the physical, mental & emotional, as well as spiritual sense. Request an appointment with us today.