How to Stop Smoking When Stressed


For many people, learning how to stop smoking when stressed could be the key to quitting their smoking habits. Although smoking can be triggered by several emotions like boredom or anger, stress is by far the most common trigger for smoking.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nicotine in tobacco products affects a person’s mood. Although smokers often turn to nicotine to lower their feelings of stress, the truth is that nicotine can make stress worse. The NIH emphasizes that smoking only appears to reduce stress because it curbs withdrawal symptoms. When the withdrawal symptoms return, the stress can feel even worse, which creates a vicious cycle.

Tips to Stop Smoking When Stressed

If you find yourself turning to smoking whenever you’re stressed, there are things you can do to prevent yourself from smoking. The following are tips to help you keep from smoking when you’re feeling stressed.

Take a Hike

Any type of exercise can be a stress reliever and help stop you from smoking.  Even a short 15-minute walk can curb stress and keep you away from smoking. When feeling anxious and stressed, finding an activity like taking a quick walk, jogging, yoga, or dancing can reduce tension and get your circulation going.

Just Breathe

Breathing is one of the most effective ways to handle stress. Unfortunately, smoking negatively affects how well you breathe. Smoking limits your lung capacity and makes breathing more difficult. Rather than smoking when you’re feeling stressed, do your lungs a favor instead.

When you’re stressed, the body tends to either severely slow your breathing or quicken your breathing into short and shallow breaths. Neither way is effective in reducing stress in the long run. Instead, try to manage your breathing consciously.

Breathing from your abdomen, rather than your chest, helps to relax the muscles in your body and increase your lung capacity. Consciously manage your breathing, focusing on taking deep breaths in and out through your nose. Concentrating on breathing, instead of stress or smoking, can calm your mind and body.

Treat Yourself

Find something to treat yourself to that isn’t harmful like smoking. When stressed, think of one thing you enjoy doing that isn’t unhealthy. It could be a warm bath, a massage, or even some soothing music. It could also be as simple as chewing gum or reading a magazine. Determine what you can turn to before stress even happens so that you have something ready to do instead of smoking.

Manage Your Emotions with Help

One of the best ways to prevent yourself from smoking when you’re stressed is to deal with the stress head-on. For that, you may decide you need some outside help. A professional counselor or therapist can help you tackle the stressors that trigger your smoking. If you notice that much of your smoking occurs when you’re stressed, learning to manage the stress itself can decrease your need to smoke.

Another source of help can come in the form of hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is a recognized and effective method. A 2017 article in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness details current research into hypnosis, much of which involves pain and stress. Through hypnosis, a certified hypnotist can assist you with stress as it pertains to your smoking. Rather than smoking each time you feel stressed, a certified hypnotist can also eliminate stress as a trigger. By cutting the tie between stress and smoking, you can quit smoking with hypnotherapy.

Through hypnotherapy, a hypnotist can also program your mind to seek healthy ways to manage stress. By placing you into a relaxed state, a hypnotist can instill suggestions and program your mind to use non-harmful activities to manage stress. Instead of smoking, a hypnotist can point your mind to better choices.

Stress and Smoking

Stress is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t have to be what drives you to smoke. Taking positive actions to manage stress can keep you from turning to toxic habits like smoking. We can’t always avoid stress, but we can establish healthy practices to tackle it. With a little help and determination, you can stop smoking when stressed.