Smoking, stress
and you

Smoking doesn’t help you deal with stress. In fact, a nicotine addiction can increase your stress levels and make you feel worse. The trick is to find another way to combat stress.

How smoking increases rather than helps reduce your stress levels

Increased heart rate

To push the nicotine up to your brain quickly, your heart has to work harder and pump faster, increasing stress on it.

Dopamine levels decrease quickly

When the feel-good factor drops away, you feel worse than before you had the cigarette, and this makes you crave another one immediately.

Cravings cause withdrawal stress

You start getting nicotine cravings, this leads to withdrawal symptoms if you don’t smoke another cigarette.

A repetitive, negative cycle

You feel stressed because of nicotine cravings. While you get some relief when you do smoke, you crave another shortly afterwards and so start feeling stressed again.

Less oxygen to the body and brain

Because smoking restricts oxygen to the body and brain, you put an additional strain on your respiratory system, which in turn causes you more stress.

High blood pressure

Smoking doesn't directly cause high blood pressure but if you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly, resulting in an increased risk from heart and lung disease in the future.

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Tips to help you quit smoking and manage stress in the process

Use meditation

A great way to feel calmer as you stop smoking is to use established guided meditation and visualisation techniques. This can not only make you feel relaxed but may help you to make other healthy lifestyle choices. Try out this guided meditation.

Take a break

When you start to feel stressed don’t reach for a cigarette instead download the My Possible Self app that is clinically proven to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living with stress, anxiety and low mood.

Get Active

Exercising for 30 minutes a day is a great self-care practice to get endorphins flowing and to boost energy. As you quit smoking, you may notice that as your lungs heal you have less coughing and shortness of breath, making it easier to exercise. Download the NHS Couch to 5k to get you started

Get a good nights sleep

Sleep disturbances are a common side effect of nicotine withdrawal. Lack of sleep can make everything, including quitting smoking, feel so much harder. So, it’s particularly important to get on top of any sleep problems you may encounter quickly. To help you to get a good night’s sleep as you quit smoking visit the Good Thinking website.

Get a new hobby

Doing something you enjoy will help you relax. A hobby will also give you something to look forward to, and is a way to forget about your stress. A hobby like yoga helps with breathing and relaxation techniques for whenever you feel stressed.

Ask for help!

Stress affects everyone and can be difficult to deal with. If you feel yourself struggling with your feelings the good thinking website has some great tips, or contact your GP. You can also get expert advice from a number of specialist helplines. For help at any stage of your stop smoking journey contact your local stop smoking service.

Have fun

Everyone has bad days. So make sure you focus on the good days. Don’t feel guilty for taking time off and doing something you love.

Talk to your family or a friend

You don’t have to suffer stress alone. You may find your friends have been in similar situations and it always helps to talk so try phoning or video calling your friends.

Make a plan!

By giving yourself time to prepare, you can move forward with your stop smoking journey with confidence. Getting support and using a stop smoking medication greatly increases your chances of successfully stopping for good. For help to plan your quit journey call the Stop Smoking London helpline on 0300 123 1044.


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Spend your money on something for you!

It doesn’t matter how long you've been smoking for or how many cigarettes you smoke a day, stop smoking now and you will see immediate health benefits. But the benefits don’t just end there - the money you save can be spent on you! How much extra money will you have when you quit for good?

In one week you could save

£38

That's new makeup or skincare product

or

For you gamers the latest game

In one month you could save

£154

That’s a fantastic dinner for two

or

New workout clothes

In six months you could save

£924

That's a week in the sun

or

A shopping spree

In one year you could save

£1,848

Treat yourself to that designer watch or jewellery

or

Start saving for something really special

In one week you could save

£70

That's a pair of designer shoes

or

A relaxing spa treatment

In one month you could save

£300

That’s a weekend in Europe, incl. flights

or

A new piece of tech

In six months you could save

£1,800

That’s a luxury holiday

or

A new luxury bed

In one year you could save

£3,650

That’s the deposit for a new car

or

A brand new kitchen

In one week you could save

£105

That’s your weekly food shop

or

An exciting experience day

In one month you could save

£450

That’s a night away in a luxury hotel

or

A new holiday wardrobe

In six months you could save

£2,700

That’s a trip to Orlando for a family of 4

or

Fly to NYC and spend a few days in the Big Apple

In one year you could save

£5,475

That’s an all-inclusive, month-long Caribbean cruise

or

A new and approved car

There are many ways to stop smoking, find the one that works for you

You are more likely to quit smoking by mixing and matching personal support like motivational support from a health advisor with NRT or a prescription medication and e-cigarettes.

What would work best for you?

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