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Managing stress is one of the most important tools that you can learn to help you quit and improve your health.


What is Stress?

Stress is your reaction to any change that requires you to adjust or respond. It's important to remember that you can learn to control stress, because stress comes from how you respond to stressful events. Stress is something that everyone experiences. Too much stress can lead to a variety of problems, such as headaches, insomnia, body aches and pains, overeating, under-eating, upset stomachs and weakened immune systems.

Our bodies are designed to feel stress and react to it. It keeps us alert and ready to avoid danger. It is not always possible to avoid or change events that may cause stress. The key to coping with stress is identifying stressors in your life and learning ways to direct and reduce stress.


Quitting Can Be Stressful

Quitting tobacco is a huge change! It is very natural to feel stress as you transition into not using tobacco. Be kind to yourself and learn to recognize the signs of stress. Stress signs can be physical, emotional or both. Once you can identify these signs, you can learn how your body responds to stress and take steps to reduce it. Your body sends out physical, emotional and behavioral warning signs of stress. The lists below include stress signs to be aware of:

Emotional warning signs include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disruption
  • Anger
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Unproductive worry
  • Sadness
  • Frequent mood swings

Physical warning signs include:

  • Stooped posture
  • Sweaty palms
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Physical symptoms that your doctor cannot attribute to another condition

Behavioral warning signs include:

  • Overreacting
  • Acting on impulse
  • Using alcohol or drugs
  • Withdrawing from relationships
  • Feeling agitated most of the time


How to Cope with Stress

There are many things you can do to deal with stress. Breathing and relaxation strategies are proven to be very effective in helping deal with stress.

This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (August 2015).