Stress is a common part of modern life. Be it youngsters or elderly – everyone is under some sort of pressure or stress. While different people have different measures to cope with it, many people depend on smoking as a coping mechanism. The nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stress relief, providing an instant sensation of relaxation. This makes them an appealing way to temporarily escape the stressful life.
In this blog, we will explore the relationship between stress and smoking even further and tell you how NRT can help you cope with stress while you are on your journey to quit smoking.
Let’s first try to understand why do people smoke in the first place when they are stressed?
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is responsible for triggering stress in the body. When smoked, nicotine reaches the bloodstream and temporarily dampens the effects of stress by making the brain release dopamine. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ hormone that creates pleasurable sensation. This temporary relief makes people crave for cigarettes in stressful situations. This leads to a nicotine addiction. And when you do not give body nicotine, it gets stressed further.
Smoking and stress – a vicious cycle
Smoking for stress relief is a two-edged sword. While the temporary relief might feel good for the moment, the long-term effects of smoking elevate stress. While smoking makes you calmer it actually increases the level of stress in your body and causes negative reactions.
When you smoke, the dopamine induced positive feelings are actually short lived. Once the dopamine levels decrease, you’ll feel worse than before you lit up.
In addition, smoking ultimately causes more stress. It takes a toll on your respiratory system. These physical ailments may compound your feelings of stress.
How does NRT help manage smoking induced stress
For those who do not know what NRT is – it stands for Nicotine Replacement Therapy. It is a way in which you depend on some products that include nicotine to provide your body with nicotine in a controlled manner. These products include nicotine tables, nicotine chewing gums or patches. They are a safer way to deliver nicotine to the body as they do not depend on the harmful effects of tobacco consumption. Here are a few ways in which NRT helps deal with nicotine addiction:
– Better management of withdrawal symptoms: Not giving your body nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety, difficulty in concentration, insomnia, constipation, dizziness and more. All of these things heighten the cravings, making it difficult to quit smoking while managing stress. NRT products like Nicotine Tablets gradually release nicotine in the body, giving it time to adjust to a smaller dose and hence allowing you to concentrate on other stress management solutions.
– Gradual reduction of nicotine dependence – NRT products are available in different doses. This gives you the freedom to choose the one that matches your body’s needs and eventually lower the number of gums as your body gets adjusted to it. This way, you can eventually break the vicious cycle of stress-smoke cycle.
– Time for other stress management techniques – as NRT takes care of your withdrawal symptoms, it allows you the time to incorporate other healthier practices in your lifestyle that will help manage stress. You can indulge in yoga, mindfulness exercises or even start exercising regularly. This will improve your lifestyle.
– Better mood – Incorporating NRT products will help you experience better mood, relaxed and reduced anxiety. This will give an overall sense of emotional well-being. You will no longer seek nicotine induced relief.
The ultimate goal of NRT products is to get you off the hook and nudge you towards a healthier lifestyle. You can combine NRT products with other things that will help you on your journey to live a tobacco-free and stress-free life. Some of the things include:
Support groups – Find people who were previously your smoke buddies but can now become your quit buddy! This will give you a sense of community and you all can motivate each other in difficult times.
Lifestyle changes – Try to live a healthy lifestyle that includes a good and healthy diet and proper physical exercise. When your body is well nourished and distracted, it will start looking at alternatives to smoking and better manage stress.
Avoiding triggers – If you know that you tend to smoke after having a drink or having your dinner then try to be prepared in advance for these kinds of situations. You can either choose to not drink or find something else to do after dinner that is more engaging.
Combining NRT and practicing a healthy lifestyle is definitely the key to a healthy life. While we cannot do much about the everyday stress, we can definitely find healthier alternatives to deal with it.