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Got Stress? Smoking Reduces Stress

Before we get too serious I thought you’d enjoy a little smoking humor. Watch this little video to find out the REAL reason dogs want to go outside: 19 sec video (you’ll need a video player and sound for this clip)

Do you ever wonder why so many people are scared to death to quit smoking and why they relapse? Stress. Read on to find out what the main stress management techniques are that will help you cope with stress as well as your cigarettes help you cope with stress.

Kinds of Stress We Need to Manage (a little reminder of the enormity of life)

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Job you don’t like
  • Disability or injury
  • Arguments with significant others, family, co-workers, and friends
  • Overdue bills
  • Maxed out credit cards
  • Long work hours
  • Having and raising children
  • Planning a wedding
  • Getting a promotion
  • Having an addiction
  • Being sleep deprived
  • Moving
  • Being lonely
  • Feeling worthless
  • Being sad
  • Living in a noisy, crowded, expensive city
  • Crime
  • Poor health
  • Illness in the family
  • War
  • Presidential elections

You get the picture. It’s amazing how many opportunities there are in life to manage stress . . . or to smoke. If you smoke, you know that smoking really helps reduce stress. Big time.

When my dog, Zeus, died in the early 80’s, I chain smoked the entire day. My only comfort was my cigarettes. I lost my beloved dog, but I still had my cigarettes. Back then cigarettes were my main stress management tool. When I thought about quitting smoking, I got uptight or cried. Since then I have learned many, many stress management techniques. I rarely think of smoking when I’m stressed now.

The real message here is this: if you want to quit smoking, you MUST have several strategies in place to help you reduce and manage stress. You MUST or you will likely fail. The first time something awful or stressful happens when you’re trying to quit smoking, do you know what you’ll do to manage stress? If not, changes are you’ll start smoking again. . . within minutes of the stressor.

Here are Some Good Stress Reduction Strategies

  • Practice good self-care – get plenty of quality sleep, eat healthful foods, pamper yourself (massage, pedicure, sauna). Remember HALT? (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) Never let yourself get that way.
  • Talk with a mental health professional if you have deep issues that you’re afraid might get in your way of success.
  • Talk with a friend, co-worker, or spiritual advisor – never underestimate the value of talking with people. You’ll get a chance to let off steam, solutions may come to you as you tell your story, and your confidant may have some useful insights.
  • Hire a life coach to help you design a smoking cessation program – coaches are trained to help you problem solve, remove obstacles, and design supportive personal environments. I am a trained smoking cessation professional and life coach and would be glad to discuss being your coach. Working with a coach to design your quitting plan would give you a sense of confidence and reduce stress.
  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise provides very similar stress reduction (physiologically and psychologically) that smoking does. I wouldn’t even think of quitting smoking without doing at least a little exercise (but then I’m an exercise physiologist and I strongly believe in exercise). Walking is wonderful. So is yoga, tai chi, kick boxing, bicycling, dancing, Pilates, basketball, tennis, racketball, stability balls, aerobics dance, weight lifting, gardening, chopping wood, and hiking to name just a few. Rent exercise videos, join a gym, grab a friend or a family member, or take the dog for a walk. Did you know that if your dog is fat you’re not getting enough exercise? Find ways to move more. Moving reduces stress. Yes, it’s a miracle.
  • Pray, meditate, sit still – get in touch with the inner you. If it looks scary in there, get somebody to look in there with you.
  • Read self-help and personal development books – check them out from the library. Can you walk to the library and kill two birds with one stone? (Is there a better expression than this . . . I’m feeling kinda bad for the birdies. Write your replacement suggestions in the comments link below).
  • Take a stress management class be sure to practice the exercises you learn when you get home. Taking classes (and reading self-help books) can get you nowhere if you don’t follow up with action and put what you learn into practice in your real life.
  • Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about nicotine replacement products and Zyban (Wellbutrin is the generic version). You may be one of those people who could benefit from either or both of these products.

There are many more stress management techniques and tools, but these are the biggies. When you use several of these strategies, you’ll find that you really can manage your stress without smoking or chewing tobacco. Why not start getting your stress management plan together now so you’ll be ready . . . when the spirit moves you to quit.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great video!

  2. Hey this is a great post. Is anybody out there :)? What’s your biggest challenge regarding quitting? What stress management techniques do you use? If you no longer smoke, tell us how you did it. Do tell. Cheryl


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