The sedative effects of nicotine, paired with the ritualistic activity of sparking upmakes for a temporary and dangerous escape from the pressures of the moment.
For smokers, cigarettes are frequently used as a form of stress relief. But there are other sources of stress relief available, many of which can positively impact your overall health.
Moderate physical activity, especially aerobic exercises, can make an immediate difference on your mental wellbeing. The psychological benefits of aerobic exercises — walking, jogging, biking, swimming — are grounded in your neurochemistry. Research shows exercise has the power to reduce levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulating the production of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. When your friend mentions how they get a “runner’s high” after jogging a few miles — that’s the relaxing effect of the endorphins kicking in.
Adopting a more consistent aerobic exercise routine can also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing other metabolic diseases such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, but an additional benefit is that you may not even want a cigarette for fear that it will set back the progress you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
This Monday, make a plan to get some aerobic exercise, whether it’s a walking Monday Mile or 10 minutes on the stationary bike. We promise that you’ll feel better when you’re done.