Smoking and Stress- Finding better ways to cope
Choma, are you someone who tends to smoke when they’re stressed out? I’m sure you know about the negative effects that smoking can have on your body (if you don’t, you can read more about it here) but do you know about stress smoking?
Here’s all you need to know about it as well as some healthier alternatives.
Why is smoking thought to relieve stress?
You get a few minutes to yourself. Smoking gives the smoker a few minutes to themselves, usually outside. These moments of stillness and calm become associated with smoking in the smoker’s mind, which is why you’ll often hear them saying “I’m so stressed out, I need a smoke”.
It’s a habit. Habits can be hard to get rid of once they have formed. Many people use habits to ease their worries such as biting their nails or picking at their skin. This is why smoking can be difficult to quit, making it a dangerous and addictive habit.
It slows down breathing. When you smoke, you’re slowing down your breathing in order to inhale and exhale the smoke. Taking deep breaths helps people who are feeling stressed and smoking is a very unhealthy variation of that.
Better ways to handle stress
Breathing. Next time you’re feeling stressed and craving a smoke break, try going outside for a few minutes and taking a few deep breaths. Other healthy and effective ways to slow down your breathing include yoga, meditation and even just simple breathing exercises.
Reaching out. Reaching out to a friend or loved one about how you’re feeling can help manage your stress. By expressing how you feel to them, you can get their support and advice, as well as just getting it off your chest.
Getting to the issue. If you are feeling very stressed out, it may be worth it to get to the root of your anxiety. Is it schoolwork, problems at home or something else? Identifying the things that make you stressed will help you put your stress into perspective so that you can deal with it in better ways. You may be developing other unhealthy habits if you’re feeling stressed out - you can find out more about that in this article here.
The temporary relief you feel from smoking is not worth the long-term damaging effects that it has on your body. You can deal with stress in better ways that will keep you healthier in the long run.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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