Many smokers tell me that they smoke to help improve their mood. Smoking seems to help ease their stress and anxiety, and they think that smoking a cigarette makes them feel better.
They are afraid that if they quit smoking, they will feel worse because they don’t have the cigarettes to help improve their mood. They often use this as an excuse to not even try to quit.
Research out of Brown University clearly shows the opposite to be true; people who quit smoking are actually happier when they are not smoking than when they are smoking. According to the study, subjects who never quit remained the unhappiest of all throughout the study.
The participants of this study, 236 smokers who were looking to quit, were given smoking cessation counselling and medications. Measures of depression and mood were taken at various times over a 28 week period.
Those who quit smoking showed overall higher levels of happiness than those who did not quit.
Some of the participants quit initially, but then relapsed. Interestingly, their happiness scores were highest during the weeks that they did not smoke cigarettes. Their scores returned to their lower baseline levels of unhappiness during the weeks Dampfen smoking.
How can this help you to quit smoking?
- Trust you will be happy when you quit. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need cigarettes to make you feel less stressed or anxious. Your stress and anxiety come from the nicotine roller-coaster that smoking forces upon you; cigarettes merely relieve the stress of needing to feed your nicotine addiction. Quitting will cure this.
- Think past the short-term discomfort of quitting. Sure, you won’t feel great for a couple of days after quitting. Your body needs to overcome the physical dependence on nicotine. After that, however, things will only get better. The confidence boost from quitting may just be enough to keep you from ever picking up a cigarette again.
- If you relapse, focus on how happy you were when you were not smoking. Try to get back into that mindset. Use the thoughts of your previous happiness to help you become a non-smoker again.
According to the study smoking is not an effective way to ease negative feelings or depression, and some people report using tobacco for that reason. Actually it’s the opposite — quitting smoking eases negative feelings and depressive symptoms.