Many people don't know if they can handle stress if they quit smoking. Some feel quitting will increase stress. Both are normal feelings. Actually stress is a normal part of life, regardless if a person is smoking or not. If you have found smoking accompanies to reaction to stress, this can be very difficult to overcome. However, many people already handle stress at times without smoking and lived through it.
Stress comes in different flavors: short term (unexpected situations, such as waking up with a headache, or the car in front of you stalls in traffic) or long term stress (relationship problems, work pressures, financial or health worries). The level of stress a person feels varies between individuals. One person may react to the same situation in a different way then someone else. Stress is our reaction to an event, rather than the event itself. What can be helpful is to decide what stress management techniques might work for you (other then smoking). Often people don't recognize their ability to manage problems without smoking, and perhaps feel better afterwords. Smoking may alleviate stress but is not a solution for a problem.
To learn more about the Re-Learn process, visit our 3-Step plan to find tips on handling stress and how to become smoke-free.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org