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smoking and anxiety

Research into smoking and stress has shown that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation so people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. This feeling of relaxation is temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings.

Smoking reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to the symptoms of anxiety, but it does not reduce anxiety or deal with the underlying causes.

finding other ways to cope with stress

Because smoking is often used as a way of coping, smokers need other ways of dealing with stress, anxiety or other problems if they want to stop smoking. Methods that people have found helpful include meditation and breathing exercises, regular exercise, cutting down on alcohol, eating a well-balanced diet, acupuncture and clinical hypnosis. Counselling or talking things through with a supportive friend or family member and religious or spiritual activities can also help.

Making changes takes time and effort - progress is often slow. Be patient. You may not be able to control all the factors that contribute to your stress, but identifying the source of your anxiety and trying to find ways to reduce or overcome it are as important as finding new ways to cope with it.

Or give a try to RELAX.

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