Being unable to identify and manage emotional triggers is one of the reasons why it is hard to stop smoking.

Why Quitting Smoking is So Hard

Used to light up every time you feel stressed or upset? You might have been using smoking to deal with emotional triggers.

Now that you are staying smoke-free, it’s time to find new ways to manage your emotions. This might be one of the hardest things you might face after quitting, but fret not, we’re here to help.

Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers are situations that cause you to experience “unpleasant” emotions like anger, sadness, and stress. Common triggers include facing multiple tight deadlines at work, going through a breakup, or losing a loved one.

Faced with such emotional triggers, you might feel a strong urge to smoke. But remember, smoking only offers temporary emotional relief and doesn’t solve anything in the long term. After putting out your cigarette, you’re still left with the problem.

Instead of smoking, try these healthier ways to manage your emotions.

Related: Know Your Enemy: Identify and Avoid Triggers

How To Balance Emotions

#1 Take Deep Breaths to Overcome the Urge to Smoke

When you find yourself in upsetting situations, and you feel anxiety building up, a quick way to deal with these emotions is to stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths.

Breathe in deeply for five seconds, and out for another five seconds, and repeat until you feel calmer. Remember to relax and focus on your breathing. This quick technique reduces the feeling of stress, so you’re calmer and in a better state of mind to handle the situation.

Related: Stress Management: Be a Master of Stress

#2 Practise Mindfulness to Cope with Stressful Situations

Mindfulness, or being aware of the present moment, is a powerful way to regain balance and well-being in a busy world. Mindful walking is a quick and simple way to keep your attention focused on the present.

Spare five minutes to take a walk in a peaceful environment: for example, HDB void decks in the wee hours of the morning, or the town park after lunch. Relax and stroll; enjoy the act of walking, and be conscious of each step you take.

Related: Achieve Mental Wellness by Practising Mindfulness

#3 Sweat It Out With Physical Activity

Exercise helps to improve your mood and promotes an overall sense of well-being. You don’t even have to do an hour-long workout to de-stress. Simple things like a brisk walk in the park (or office corridor if you can’t get away), a quick jog, or even some jumping jacks can help lift your mood.

Related: 10 Fun Ways to Get Active

#4 Use Music to Improve Your Mood and Clear Your Mind

Listening to calming music or nature soundtracks can help you relax and focus better. Whenever you’re feeling frazzled — perhaps trouble with colleagues or looming deadlines — simply plug in your earphones and tune in to a calming playlist on YouTube or Spotify, and let the soothing sounds take your mind off things.

#5 Seek Support From A Friend or Family Member

The next time you’re not feeling your best, confide in a close friend or family member. Talking to someone you trust can help you sort your feelings out. They might also be able to help you with the situation you’re facing.

Plus, you’ll feel better knowing someone’s there for you when the going gets tough.

Related: Getting Support

#6 Go for Counselling to Stay Smoke-Free

Consider getting professional help if you’re facing a situation that’s too overwhelming to handle. The counsellor will be able to give you proper advice based on their expertise. They can also direct you to other resources to help you out with your situation.

If you need advice and support on your quit journey, talking to a professional pharmacist might also help.

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice that can help you quit.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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