9 Ways to Relieve Stress Without Smoking

  • Woman relaxing on sofa
    Finding Healthy Stress Relief
    Everyone feels stressed at one time or another, and we all have different stress-relief strategies. If you’re a smoker, you may rely on cigarettes to combat stress. When it comes to quitting smoking, don’t let stress stand in your way. There are many healthier ways to relax. Here are nine ideas to get you started.

  • Exercise Spinning Class
    Get Moving
    Exercise is one of the best stress busters out there. When you work out, your body releases natural chemicals that reduce stress and improve your mood. Exercise can also help ease the mild depression some people experience when they first quit smoking. If you’re new to exercise, try walking. Start with a short walk at lunch or after dinner, and build your time and distance.

  • Woman Drinking Coffee
    Cut the Caffeine
    Caffeine makes many people feel tense, worried or stressed. And if you’re trying to quit smoking, you don’t need the added anxiety. Try decaf coffee or herbal tea instead. Or if soda is your drink of choice, switch to a caffeine-free variety. Better yet, keep your body hydrated by replacing these drinks with water. Give flavored waters a try if plain water isn’t appealing.

  • Close up of a man doing breath exercises outdoor
    Breathe Easy
    Learn some easy breathing techniques to reduce stress. Simply close your eyes and slowly take a few deep breaths. Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Breathe in slowly and count to five, then breathe out on a count of five. After a few deep breaths, you should feel more relaxed.

  • man-reading-book-at-table
    Have Some Fun
    Doing something you enjoy takes your mind off stress and helps you relax. It can be a hobby, such as knitting or oil painting, or simply watching a movie or reading a book. Whatever it is, find an activity you like to do and try to spend at least a few minutes every day doing it. You can even try doing this activity when you have the urge to smoke.

  • grandmother-and-granddaughter-dancing
    Find Time to Laugh
    Laughter is another natural stress reliever. Try to remember to laugh often as you move through your day. Make a point to watch a funny movie or TV show after a hard day at work. Or take a short break during stressful periods to watch a funny video.

  • Older couple sitting on park bench
    Practice Visualization
    When stress hits, take a few moments to slow down and picture yourself somewhere else. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re in a place that makes you feel relaxed and safe. It could be a tropical beach, a forest, or somewhere in your own imagination. Take a few minutes to fill in all the details, including the smells and sounds.

  • Letting the melody wash over her
    Live in the Present
    Many people feel stress when they worry about the future. Rather than worrying about what hasn’t yet happened, focus on the present. It can also help to learn to let go of the things you can’t control. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic use the time to listen to music or the news instead of worrying about where you’re going next.

  • Meditation
    Get Spiritual
    For some people, having a spiritual practice helps relieve stress. This could mean prayer, religious practice, meditation, music, or simply spending time in nature. Tapping into your spiritual side can help put you in touch with a sense of greater purpose. It can also help you remember why you quit smoking—and why you want to stay smoke-free.

  • senior couple walking
    Walk Away
    When stress is too overwhelming, walk away. Take a break for a few minutes to clear your head. Have a plan in place to combat the urge for a cigarette. You might take a walk, call a friend, or eat a healthy snack. Chances are you’ll feel better able to deal with a stressful situation after a short break.

9 Nonsmoking Ways to Relieve Stress

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Last Review Date: 2020 Dec 12
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