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How To Manage Stress So Your Smoke-Free Life Works

Posted by on May 15, 2014 . 0 Comments.

As you transition from smoking traditional cigarettes to e-cigs, you’ll learn quickly that, too much stress can trip you up. We all can get tempted to forsake a healthy new lifestyle habit when stress escalates.

To stay on track, take time to figure out what triggers your urge to light up. You are an individual, and those issues that bother you might not bother someone else. Identify your stress triggers and plan ahead to cope accordingly.  

These strategies will help you anticipate what to do:

·      Define predictable stressors in your life. For example, if driving in rush-hour traffic makes you want to light up, plan ahead. Be sure to vape an e-cigarette as you drive in heavy traffic. Lock up your traditional cigarettes in the glove box, if necessary, so you avoid temptation.

 

·      Define circumstances that trigger stress. This might include an intense business meeting or a weekend dealing with teenage stepchildren coming to visit.

 

Tell yourself ahead of time that you will have a single traditional cigarette at the end of the day, for example. Try to avoid getting worked up emotionally. Don’t give yourself an excuse to smoke traditional tobacco.

 

·      Prepare for upcoming stress ahead of time. For example, be sure to over-prepare for a business meeting so it won’t evoke intense stress. Do your research and make sure you feel confident going into the meeting.

 

Failure to prepare for the meeting will create stress that becomes overwhelming. After that meeting, you’ll crave a traditional cigarette.

Remember that any of us can turn to caffeine, watching TV excessively, or chain smoking to comfort ourselves. Addictions involve using something to calm and comfort us. So, why not choose healthy activities such as taking a walk, having lunch with a friend, or joining a hiking club to curtail stress?

“I find that I take on the habits of people around me,” says a park ranger we’ll call Chad. “What’s funny is that I used to hike through the woods smoking cigarettes, along with my buddies. When I got with a bunch of health advocates, they let me know the cigarettes had to go!”

Chad switched to e-cigarettes about 8 months ago, He vapes in his office at a state park, but when he hits the hiking trails with groups, he never smokes tobacco anymore.

People who are into health will be quick to tell me that smoking tobacco is irritating to the birds,” Chad laughs. “Besides, we once had a guy toss a cigarette down, and the bushes caught on fire. That was about 6 years ago.”

Watching how healthy people manage their lifestyles will give any of us incentive to stop smoking. Also, paying attention to how others manage stress will help us emulate their work/life balance as well.  

All individuals, without exception, have to deal with stress. It’s impossible to escape such challenges as: work deadlines, heavy traffic, family issues, money concerns, and more. Stress comes at all of us continually.

In order to stay on track with your program to quit smoking tobacco, it’s important to get the upper hand on stress whenever possible. It’s so tempting to light up when things aren’t going well.

“I can easily name the stress factors that make me want to smoke,” says a business owner we’ll call Seth. “I know myself well. If I get into a quarrel with my girlfriend, I crave tobacco and I want it now!”

Seth then explains that the guilt of falling off the bandwagon triggers the craving for another cigarette. Feeling guilty and aggravated with himself sets him up for a vicious cycle of smoking a whole pack.

“I do what’s called ‘play the movie’ to imagine what I will need to do to cope with stress,” says a hospital administrator we’ll call Penney. “If I have to fire someone at the hospital on a given day, I’ll go to lunch with a friend and talk it out. If I stay in my office alone and boil over the incident, I’ll end up going to my car and lighting up two or three cigarettes.”

Penney parks her car across the street from her office—where her staff can’t really see her smoke. But, she admits that smoking in her car makes her feel guilty. Besides, the smell of smoke is clinging to her when she returns to her office.

“Planning how you will manage stepchildren on the weekends—or having to fire someone—will keep you from letting stress rule your life,” says Penney. “We all look for ways to comfort ourselves, and most of us can undo all the progress we’ve made to stop smoking if we feel sorry for ourselves.”

Penney is right. We all should avoid feeling sorry for ourselves in stressful situations. This makes us feel we have the right to light up. The better road to take is to find some good control measures.

You can lower stress with control measures such as these:

·      Reward yourself through harmless strategies. For example, take yourself to a movie on Saturday afternoon when you’ve stayed with e-cigs for a solid week. Celebrate your success in quitting tobacco.

 

·      Let your spouse deal with stepchildren in your home. You can be kind, supportive, and in good spirits if you don’t try to discipline stepchildren too much. Instead, tell your spouse, “Honey, let me know if I need to back you up on discipline, but I don’t want to play the heavy-handed step-parent. Your kids might resent me.”

 

·      Be hard to offend. Most of us stay on “high alert” to absorb offenses from other people, which we can decide to change using sheer willpower.

 

 Sure, you might feel like decking your wife’s ex-husband when he’s late in picking up the stepchildren. But instead, stay calm and enjoy a favorite book or movie on TV. Make a pact with your spouse to let harmony rule in your household.

“I used to let all kinds of rude remarks register in my brain from co-workers,” says a man we’ll call Thomas. “I would get offended over everything, so this gave me an excuse to chain smoke. I finally learned that I can filter out bad stuff and be hard to offend. This is my choice.”

“All of us would be wise to put up a shield around ourselves, and let a lot of bad stuff bounce off! This cuts stress way, way down,” says Thomas.

 

 

REFERENCES

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/features/10-ways-reduce-stress-while-you-quit

Smokefree.gov: http://smokefree.gov/stress-and-smoking

About.com: http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/stressmanagement/a/stresstips.htm

 

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/guide/stress-and-smoking.html

NursingTimes.net: http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/smoking-cessation/smoking-cessation-reduces-stress-and-anxiety/5053189.article

New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/quit-smoking-happier-study-article-1.1614342

Last update: May 15, 2014

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