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’ve quit, 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.

What are Emotional Triggers?

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

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

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

Related: Knowing Your Enemy: Identifying and Avoiding Triggers

Quick Relief for a Clearer Mind

Take Deep Breaths

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 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 Relaxation Techniques

Practise Mindfulness

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: Mindful about Mindfulness

Sweat It Out

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

Use Music to Soothe the Soul

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.

Seek Support

Speak to a Trusted 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

Go for Counselling

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.

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