Stress can be a major barrier to quitting smoking.1 However, there are techniques to help you overcome the stress of quitting smoking. Watch Dr Hester Wilson talk to Nadim about getting support from his GP to quit smoking.
Nadim has been smoking since he was 17-years-old. Now, after almost 20 years, he talks to GP, Dr Hester Wilson about wanting to quit smoking. Nadim tells Dr Wilson “I really hate everything about smoking – the smell, the taste, the effect that it has on your body…”.
Nadim also has another important reason to quit smoking. As the father of four children, he has responsibilities, and recounts how his “…oldest son would come to me now and then and say ‘please dad, stop smoking, stop smoking…’’”.
Despite this, Nadim feels trapped; with the stresses of family life and work, he finds it difficult to quit smoking. However, as Dr Wilson says, “…different people need different supports… and, it is an ongoing journey”.
Stress is a major psychological barrier to quitting smoking for many people. And, when trying to quit smoking, stress is a major cause of relapse.1
However, there are a number of general stress-reduction strategies that may help you when trying to quit smoking.
Exercise is perhaps one of the best approaches you can take to not only reduce your stress levels, but also improve your overall health. The effectiveness of exercise in reducing stress has long been established. For example, people generally report feeling calmer after 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. And, mind-body exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi are increasingly being researched for their stress-relieving potential.2
Furthermore, even brief aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce cravings, improve mood and alleviate anxiety in people trying to quit smoking.3
In addition to being a great way to deal with stress, mindfulness training –being mindful of your feelings, and learning acceptance of these feelings – has also been shown to be useful in helping to quit smoking.4,5
Other general stress reduction techniques include:
• Music therapy
• Relaxation exercises
• Positive imaging
• Breathing exercises
• Muscle contraction and relaxation exercises
If stress is holding you back from quitting smoking, talk to your GP. Your GP will be able to help you find a stress management technique that may improve your chances of quitting smoking.1
Dr. Wilson points out that your GP is a great place to start when you want to quit smoking; “It’s not just one thing, and that is what your GP can support you with”, she says. There are a number of options, including medications, counseling and support to help you quit smoking.1
By visiting your doctor, you’ll be able to identify potential triggers for your smoking (including stress), and techniques on how to avoid and deal with these triggers.
Start a quit chat with your doctor today!
1. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2011 [Updated July 2014].
2. Jackson EM. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal 2013; 17(3): 14-9.
3. Ussher MH, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014; (8): Cd002295.
4. Brewer JA, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend 2011; 119(1-2): 72-80.
5. Davis JM, et al. BMC Complement Altern Med 2007; 7: 2.
6. Hogan C. Aust Fam Physician 2013; 42(8): 542-5