You will almost assuredly find yourself struggling to cope with stress related to having quit smoking, or stress from other aspects of your life. In the past, stress has probably triggered in you a need to smoke; but having quit, you need to find new ways to cope with stress, you need to work on building new skills to manage those issues.
Sometimes stress comes upon us seemingly from nowhere, but virtually all of the time, our body and mind send us warning signs that stress is on the way. We may feel:
- Unable to sleep or sleeping excessively
- Unable to concentrate
And we can swing from one of those moods to the next, sometimes on a dime. Meanwhile, our body feels fatigued, our shoulders might sink forward, and we may look at the ground a lot, or stare ahead for long periods of time.
Consequently, taken together, our mind and body lead us into stress-related behaviors, such as:
- Acting impulsively
- Over-reacting to even the most minor of events
- Sleeping for long periods of time
- Self-medicating, with cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs
Some tips to reduce stress include the following:
- Learn to acknowledge those stress warning signals
- React to them positively, with assertion, and not anger or agitation
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
- Exercise regularly
- Change your diet to feature well-balanced meals.
In short, you have to take care of yourself. Quitting smoking does not mean you have to undertake a program of total self-denial. Of smoking, yes, but you can certainly reward yourself—such as buying something you’ve had your eye on for months—and using money you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes.
You can start by acknowledging, right now, that you will encounter stressful situations from having quit smoking and elsewhere in life, and that, from this moment on, you will not turn to a cigarette to help you cope.