If you ask smokers why they have developed such a bad habit, you’ll get all kinds of answers. Many started because a cigarette made them feel more comfortable in social situations. Others do it out of pure pleasure. But for most smokers, cigarettes are a stress-relief tool. They smoke more when they go through periods of stress.
That brings us to students, who tend to smoke more than average. Despite the effort for a healthier way of life, 7.8% of people aged 18-24 in the US smoke.
This stress-relief tool is putting you at a huge risk of developing a lifetime nicotine addiction. You know that it’s not good for you. Have you been trying to quit? With all that stress you deal with throughout your studies, it won’t be easy. But it’s very possible!
Tips: Quit Smoking While Reducing Stress from Studying
- Replace Smoking with another Habit
The replacement method works for most habits that we want to break. However, when trying to break a bad habit, you don’t want to replace it with another one. This often happens: people eat too many snacks when trying to quit cigarettes. You don’t want to do that.
If you smoke when you’re stressed, it’s hard to simply quit. You should insert another type of behavior in your routine, so you’ll stop thinking about your need for nicotine.
You can try drawing. Research shows that art reduces stress. Creative arts therapies, which include art, drama, dance, and music, are an effective coping mechanism. Try dancing, drawing, or acting whenever you think that you need a smoke.
You can try other habits, such as keeping a gratitude journal, calling a friend, or deep breathing. Deep breathing is an especially effective way to calm your edgy nerves. There are tons of tutorials on YouTube. You can learn a few breathing techniques and practice them daily.
- Find Other Ways to Cope with Stress
Do you know why smoking works as a stress coping mechanism? There’s no definite answer to that question. That’s because you only think that nicotine helps you calm down. In reality, it makes you more stressed. Nicotine improves your mood first, it relaxes your muscles and decreases the feeling of anger.
But after that immediate sense of relaxation, you get into a state of increased craving. It doesn’t take long before you start thinking that you need another smoke, ASAP. That makes it difficult for you to cope during long lectures at college.
You need to find other ways to relax, with prolonged effects.
- First, determine the major cause of stress in your life. If you’re like most students, it’s academic writing. You’ll feel better if you start your projects early and give yourself enough time to research and write. You can also try EduBirdie if you need research paper By delegating some of your assignments, you’ll get more time for studying and you’ll stop stressing over deadlines.
- Try a proven method of relaxation: meditation. Start every morning with a 10-minute meditation. You’ll just sit, breathe, and calm yourself. Your mind is already calm in the morning, so it will be easier for you to control it. When it starts wandering, bring it back to your breathing. You’ll prolong the time you spend meditating by a few minutes every day, until you reach 20-30 minutes.
- Make a Commitment to a Healthy Lifestyle
Did you know that exercise helps you fight cigarette cravings? When you quit smoking, you’ll start experiencing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. You’ll feel more stressed and angrier than ever. This is a period that you have to endure if you want to quit once and for all. Try to include daily exercise in your routine.
Short periods of aerobic exercise reduce nicotine cravings. Plus, you’ll control the potential weight gain that’s common when quitting.
Exercise is great because it makes you feel good about yourself. You’ll be glad that you’re doing something healthy for your body and mind. You’ll be motivated to carry on with a healthier life and respect your decision to quit.
Eat healthy food and drink lots of water on a daily basis. When you get yourself into a healthy routine, you won’t feel like spoiling it with cigarettes.
You shouldn’t expect to be strong all the time, but all you can do is try. Quitting an addictive habit is never easy. You’ll go through disturbing withdrawal symptoms, which will make you want to slip back to the ease of smoking. Focus! Follow the pattern of your thoughts and recognize the signs of stress that make you think of cigarettes.
Instead of seeing cigarettes as a remedy to your stress, you should work on its real causes. If studying makes you nervous, then you should work on different techniques that would make you more effective. If you don’t like academic papers, work on them in small bites and find a way to make them less challenging.
Smoking doesn’t reduce nervousness. You can build immunity against stress if you make your mind stronger.
AUTHOR BIO: Judy Nelson made a commitment to healthy living five years ago. Since then, she abandoned smoking and sugar, and she introduced healthy routines in her life. As a writer, Judy uses her work to inspire others to make lifestyle changes for the better.