The Stress Trap

Discussion created by Lisaml on Jun 5, 2018
Latest reply on Jun 6, 2018 by elvan

all relapses begin with stress. That’s the common thread or theme. 

Stress from a divorce, illness, finances. The list of stressors goes on. And stress can be positive, too- a promotion, a wedding, vacation. 

The key to handling stress while maintaining your quit is simple. Keep it in check. Don’t let it explode! 


Quitting smoking is tough. We have GOT to have a relief valve, to prevent the pressure from building up. Easy for me to say, I know. But please, PLEASE. Make a plan for duress. What will you do if you are ready to explode? Make a plan, and share it with someone. Be accountable. 


I have had a few “OMG!” Days here lately. What has saved my quit is this; 

Ask yourself in the moment (out loud if necessary)


how is buying a pack of cigarettes going to alleviate this problem; both right now, in this moment, and then on down the road in the future. 

Answer ? It’s not.  You can add a “failed quit” or relapse to the list of negative stressors. Not only do we feel powerless, helpless under the addiction, but we feel we have let people down, jeopardized our health, and caused further harm all around. Contrary to popular belief, smoking does NOT relax anyone. 

On top of ALL that, we also send our bodies into a stress response mode immediately upon lighting up. Blood vessels narrow, heart rate and BP increase, our bodies are getting ready for a FIGHT. That’s crazy, if you think about it. We are too stressed out, that we are literally going to throw our bodies into a fight-stress response. 

Counter intuitive, right? right.


Smoking is not relaxing. I really think, for me at least, it is like a pacifier. Back to the familiar soother during stress. Back to familiar anything, really. Smoking just happened to be my vice. 


Have a plan for stress. (Go for a walk in the woods, take a hot shower. Go for some retail therapy.) 

but do something to keep the volcano from erupting. Keep the daily stress in check, so that if something “big” happens, it’s not the straw that breaks the camels back. 


This little essay of mine has taken some twists and turns. Forgive me for being scattered, but I hope the message stays clear. 

1. Smoking is literally the opposite of relaxing, or calming down. 

2. Stress needs a relief valve or it will explode. And the explosions are always destructive. 

3. Have a plan for stress. How will you cope with the right here, right now need for a “calm me down”? Have a plan and tell someone about it. 


Take anything helpful from this, and don’t worry about the rest. 

**musings of a 5 month quitter;-) 

Have a a good night everyone...