10 April 2008

Smoking Actually Increases Stress

Smoking Actually Increases StressDoes smoking help stress? Many people think that smoking cigarettes helps to calm them down. Smoking releases chemicals in brain, called neurotransmitters; these improve your mood and make you feel better. However, these feelings usually only last for a short period because withdrawal from nicotine gradually makes you feel worse and your good mood is only restored when the craving is satisfied with another cigarette. So, if you smoke to reduce stress, you are only adding to your stress.

Studies show that for adult smokers the positive mood changes experienced during smoking may only reflect the reversal of unpleasant abstinence effects. Regular smokers, therefore, experience periods of heightened stress between cigarettes, and smoking briefly restores their stress levels to normal. However, soon they need another cigarette to forestall abstinence symptoms from developing again. The repeated occurrence of negative moods between cigarettes means that smokers tend to experience slightly above-average levels of daily stress. Thus, nicotine dependency seems to be a direct cause of stress.

Stress may be increased if you are worrying about trying to give up smoking. You may feel irritable and stressed when you quit smoking, but it is important to remember that this is a sign that your body is repairing itself from the effects of nicotine. If smoking was your main way of coping with stress, after quitting you'll need to find new, better ways of stress relief. Exercise, reading and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, are good alternatives and will help you to take your mind off a stressful situation and improve your mood.