Smoking and its Impact on Mental Health

Did you know that quitting smoking is good for your mental health? Tobacco use not only has a negative impact on physical health, it often affects the appearance and worsening of some mental disorders. Discover more reasons to quit this habit. 

It is no secret to anyone that smoking has a negative impact on well-being. Due to its high concentration of toxic compounds, smokers are exposed to many diseases. Although many believe that it is an effective method to alleviate stress and anxiety, it is far from being beneficial. 

Why quitting smoking improves your mental health?
In the beginning, the tobacco produces a relaxing effect that happens to produce nervousness.

One of the great beliefs of smokers is that smoking can help relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Due to the relaxing effect they perceive after smoking, there are those who are convinced of this. However, this bad habit actually produces an opposite effect.

The toxic components of the cigarette produce changes in brain chemistry. Nicotine creates an immediate sensation of relaxation, so smokers believe they can calm their anxiety. But this state is temporary and shortly the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings are triggered.

Smoking instantly seems to be the most effective way to control these reactions, but it is not the way to treat anxiety, much less its underlying causes. In fact, there is a high probability that anxiety has arisen as a result of tobacco use.

Smoking and depression

Depression also has a close link with smoking. People with this disorder have more difficulty quitting because of the pleasure that nicotine produces. However, it is not entirely clear if smoking produces depression or, perhaps, depression encourages people to smoke.

In any case, the components of tobacco deteriorate the brain mechanisms that help produce dopamine, key hormones for well-being. Although initially, it seems to stimulate them, in the long term it produces a block in its segregation.

Tips to quit smoking

Physical and mental well-being improves significantly when the decision to quit is made. Even, many of its benefits are perceived from the first weeks. However, quitting is not always easy. Therefore, it is convenient to implement the following tips:

Design a plan to stop smoking

Stopping smoking suddenly through willpower is the most expensive method to say goodbye to smoking. You are more likely to achieve the goal when you design a plan through different strategies supported by a professional.

Choosing a good time to make this decision can be the key to success. It is less likely to quit smoking in times of worry, crisis or major changes. Some measures that can be included in this plan are:
  • Change habits gradually, improving nutrition and adopting an exercise routine.
  • Move away from environments that encourage smoking (parties, bars and the like).
  • Practice relaxation habits such as meditation, aromatherapy and therapeutic massage.
  • Start doing activities that demand greater concentration.
  • Write reminders
  • Start saving the money invested in cigarettes.

Improve feeding

A healthy diet will make you notice the benefits of quitting faster.

A balanced and complete diet can be very useful when quitting smoking. While it is not the only solution against the withdrawal syndrome, it can have a positive impact. High-quality nutritional foods help mitigate the effects of toxins on physical and mental well-being.

Therefore, it is convenient to eat between five or six times a day, combining foods such as:
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil

Increase water consumption

There are some drinks that increase the pleasure of smoking. Soft drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee seem to increase the taste for cigarettes. Therefore, it is advisable to limit the intake of these liquids and increase water consumption during the day. The ideal is to drink at least two liters of water or healthy drinks such as fruit juices.

Find professional and family support

Individual or group counseling can help smokers break their habit. Conversation therapies are useful to modify the behaviors that affect this habit. In fact, psychologists can suggest techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
The latter is quite effective when smokers also have symptoms of a mental health problem. Additionally, it is essential to have family support, especially if other family members also smoke.

Are you planning to quit? Follow the recommendations given. If they do not work, ask the professional for other alternatives such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

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