Coping With Stress

Stress is a big reason people smoke in the first place. But in the long run smoking tends to add more stress to life instead of taking it away.

Here are a few ways to handle stress without lighting up:

  • Move more - try a new exercise class or go for a walk

    Many smokers claim they smoke because smoking is the best stress reliever they know of. However, did you know that exercise is a natural stress and anxiety reliever because it releases endorphins into your bloodstream? Endorphins naturally reduce your anxiety levels and therefore help wash away the stress.

  • Get some sleep

    It's amazing how rest can help you look at your problems in a new way. Have you ever heard the age-old expression 'sleep on it'? That's because even slight sleep deprivation can have pronounced effects on your stress levels, your memory, and your mood. Try going to bed a half hour earlier each night and see how it affects your stress levels.

  • Eat healthy foods

    Eating healthy has gotten much easier in the last 20 years, as people have begun to become more aware of the dangers of unhealthy eating. Yet to cope with stress, we often fall back into our favourite comfort foods. Strangely enough, these foods are actually the worst for stress, as they often make us feel tired and lethargic. Try exchanging recipes with one of your healthier friends - you might just find you actually like what they suggest!

  • Try yoga or meditation classes

    Yoga and meditation encourage you to find a connection between your mind and body which is surprisingly so easily lost on many of us. This connection has been proven in more than 35 studies to improve stress levels and feelings of clarity in life. Give it a try - at many places the first yoga class is free!

  • Take deep breaths

    Deep breathing allows us to get more oxygen in our bloodstream, and thus, more oxygen to the brain, which helps us think more clearly and not get drawn into a frantic 'stress brain'. Did you know that deep breathing is also a technique to deal with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal? Don't be afraid to take a step back and breath deeply when you feel the urge to have a cigarette coming on.

  • Talk to your friends or a counsellor

    A big part of reducing stress is trying to prevent your problems from building up in the first place. Talking with someone you trust, such as a close friend, family member, or a therapist, can help you manage your stress levels by tackling any potential issues before they arise.

Activity

Go to MyHR to learn more about the self-directed Online Stress Management Program.