Stress and Smoking: How NRT Helps you Cope
In today’s world, stress has become an inherent part of our lives. It affects everyone - be it man or woman, child or adult - everyone faces it. Different people have different ways to deal with stress. For some people smoking is a go-to solution that acts as a coping mechanism. The nicotine present in cigarettes acts as a temporary stress buster. When consumed, it swiftly induces a sense of relief and relaxation. This immediate gratitude that one receives after smoking makes it an enticing avenue for people who are seeking a momentary escape from the pressures of life.
However, the relationship between stress and smoking is not limited to ‘relief’. According to various researches into the exploration of this connection, it was found that nicotine dependence is actually inadvertently contributing to a vicious cycle - You start smoking to get rid of the stress and eventually it becomes a source of additional stress due to its addictive nature.
In this blog, we will delve deeper into the complex interplay between stress and smoking and help you understand how Nicotine Replacement Therapy has the potential to become a powerful weapon in managing stress while quitting smoking.
But first, let’s try to understand why people turn to smoking when they feel stressed.
The answer lies in psychology. When you experience any stress, be it physical or emotion, a particular hormone called cortisol gets released into the body. It is the body's natural reaction to prepare and aids the body’s fight or flight response.
When you consume tobacco, you also consume nicotine - a highly addictive substance which when reaches the bloodstream, temporarily dampens the effects of stress causing hormones. It tricks the brain into releasing dopamine and serotonin that make you feel good, instantly. These chemicals are known to be the “feel-good’ chemicals that are responsible for creating a pleasurable sensation and a feeling of reward. This temporarily alleviates the effect of stress. This immediate relief creates a psychological link, prompting individuals to crave cigarettes whenever they encounter stressful situations.
The repetitive cycle of relying on nicotine for stress relief leads to a dependency on it. This leads to nicotine addiction, where the body starts craving for a continuous supply of nicotine to maintain temporary relief from stress.
Another thing that is interesting to note here is that as you continue to smoke, your body also develops some sort of tolerance to nicotine. The same amount of cigarettes might not give you the same ‘high’, making you smoke more and more!
Stress and Smoking - Creation of a Vicious Cycle
Smoking for stress relief is a double-edged sword. While the temporary relief might feel good for the moment, the long-term effects of smoking elevate stress. While smoking makes you calmer it actually increases the level of stress in your body and causes negative reactions.
Additionally, when you do not smoke, the body’s stress response intensifies. Your body craves for cigarettes badly which in turn also leads to stress. It experiences nicotine withdrawal symptoms which make you miserable. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, moodiness, lack of concentration and so on. These symptoms vary from person to person and are quite unpleasant.
This interplay between stress, nicotine intake, and the subsequent craving forms a cyclical pattern, contributing to the challenge of breaking free from nicotine addiction.
The role of NRT in managing stress when trying to quit smoking
Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a medically approved aid that helps in smoking cessation. It includes a variety of products like nicotine gums, nicotine patches, nicotine tablets, nicotine inhalers and so on. These products are designed to provide your body with a controlled amount of nicotine that does not include the harmful effects of tobacco consumption through smoking or gutka.
Here’s how NRT products help in managing nicotine cravings:
1) Better management of withdrawal symptoms:
Not giving your body nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms which heighten the cravings, making it difficult to quit smoking while managing stress. NRT products like Chewing Gum to Stop Smoking help gradually release nicotine in the body. This gives the body time to adjust to a smaller dose and hence allows you to concentrate on other stress management solutions.
2) Gradual reduction of nicotine dependence -
NRT products are available in different doses. This gives you the freedom to choose the one that matches your body’s needs and eventually lower the number of gums as your body gets adjusted to it. This way, you can eventually break the vicious cycle of stress-smoke cycle.
3) Time for other stress management techniques -
As NRT takes care of your withdrawal symptoms, it allows you the time to incorporate other healthier practices in your lifestyle that will help manage stress. Using NRT products like gums or tablets is quite easy! You can indulge in yoga, mindfulness exercises or even start exercising regularly while consuming Ryze nicotine gums as they easily blend into your lifestyle. This will improve your lifestyle.
4) Better mood -
Incorporating NRT products will help you experience better mood, relaxed and reduced anxiety. This will give an overall sense of emotional well-being. You will no longer seek nicotine induced relief.
The ultimate goal of NRT products is to get you off the hook and nudge you towards a healthier lifestyle. You can choose from the wide range of products and brands but do consult with a healthcare provider before getting started on any. NRT products are supposed to be consumed responsibly.
You can combine NRT products with other things that will help you on your journey to live a tobacco-free and stress-free life. Some of the things include:
Support groups - Find people who were previously your smoke buddies but can now become your quit buddy! This will give you a sense of community and you all can motivate each other in difficult times. If you cannot do that, try to find support from your loved ones.
Lifestyle changes - Try to live a healthy lifestyle that includes a good and healthy diet and proper physical exercise. When your body is well nourished and distracted, it will start looking at alternatives to smoking and better manage stress. It is advisable to not be on a diet while you are trying to quit smoking.
Avoiding triggers - Believe it or not, but there are certain emotions and situations that make us want to smoke. While stress is a common trigger point, there are other triggers as well that you need to watch out for. For example - If you know that you tend to smoke after having a drink or having your dinner then try to be prepared in advance for these kinds of situations. You can either choose to not drink or find something else to do after dinner that is more engaging.
Coming up with distractions - Keeping yourself busy is important when you are trying to quit smoking. The idea is to keep your mind occupied and engaged in a way that it does not crave for cigarettes. You can start a new hobby or revive an older one.
In conclusion, combining NRT and practicing a healthy lifestyle is definitely the key to a healthy life. While we cannot do much about the everyday stress, we can definitely find healthier alternatives to deal with it.