Managing stress when you quit smoking

Many people smoke to deal with stress. Part of quitting is finding healthier ways to cope without cigarettes.

Everyone feels stress - it's a fact of life. Stress comes to both the good and bad things that happen to you. When you aren't sure how to handle events or situations, you worry and feel stress.

How you respond to stress can help you or harm you. No matter how much you might want a stress-free life, you actually need some stress. It can help you get going and get things done. If you find you are stressed, here is some information to help:

What is a stressor?
A stressor is a situation or event that makes you feel threatened or challenged. It can be real or imagined.
What is the stress response?
Stress is a response in your body and mind when a threat or stressor is present. It's often called the "fight-or-flight" response which protects you when there is real physical danger by preparing the body for action. It can be just as strong in times of mental or emotional stress.
What does the stress response do to the body?
In a stressful situation, the response can trigger faster heart rate, increased blood pressure, fast breathing, sweating, a sudden rush of strength, slowed digestions and dilated pupils.
Why do people who use nicotine believe it helps them relax?
Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and people often smoke again as the nicotine helps them feel better in the moment. Using nicotine harms the body and there are many other healthy things you can do to make yourself feel better!
Common stress relievers
Ideas to help cope with stress are practicing deep breathing, eating a healthy diet and limiting caffeine, spending time with supportive people, rewarding yourself, journaling, getting enough sleep, exercising and listening to music.