Ways to Relieve Momentary Stress that Tempts One to Smoke

Blog Post created by NDC_Team on Oct 30, 2019

We are met daily with irritating and frustrating experiences that heighten our sense of feeling stressed.   We have our “go to” actions we do to feel better, calm our tempers, soothe our emotions, and clear our heads.  These actions can give us a moment to escape the stressful situation or process our thoughts so that we can think through how to best respond to ensure our well-being (so that we keep our jobs, relationships and stay out of jail).  It is easy to get into the “rut” of smoking being the only way we use to respond to stress in the moment. After years of smoking, it may be the only or primary stress response behavior you have practiced.  Thus, smoking may feel like the only tool you have at your disposal to relieve stress in the moment.  You may be in a mental rut when trying to identify alternative and healthy ways to calm yourself when stress creeps up on you and you only have a few moments to react.  To help you get started, here are a few quick and healthy stress relievers ex-smokers have shared that they find works to take the place of smoking to deal with stress in the moment. :

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditating, praying
  • Playing phone games
  • Laughing (Watching comedy - even short YouTube videos on your phone)
  • Listening to music, singing or whistling
  • Taking a short walk
  • Looking at pictures (on the phone) of loved ones

What are some ways you can deal with stress in the moment instead of smoking/vaping/chewing? You are most likely to use the ideas you come up with on your own, but it helps to have suggestions to get you started with ideas of your own.  This EX community is a great resource for getting ideas that work.


Jennifer Burden, PhD

NDC Counselor/CTTS