The great modern epidemic seems to be stress. While we're moving faster and using more technology than ever before, we're also more anxious than ever before -- 1 in 5 Americans suffers from depression or anxiety [source: CDC]. Many smokers say they often smoke when stressed, making any stressful day or situation a perfect trigger for someone who is trying to avoid lighting up, but particularly for women, according to research [source: Neighmond].
Actually, though, this is counterintuitive. Most studies say that smoking isphysically stressful. Instead of relieving stress, the rush of nicotine (not to mention the deprivation of oxygen and chemical cocktail whipping through your bloodstream) will increase your heart rate and make the stress symptoms worse [source: New York Times]. While a quick cigarette might take the edge off whatever withdrawal symptoms the smoker is feeling, it will not bring satisfactory relief in the long run. You might not be able to avoid all stress, but it's healthier to deal with it in a positive way. Better ways to relieve stress include:
- Walking, running or jogging
- Playing a video game for 5 minutes
- Reading a chapter in a good book
- Taking deep breaths
- Talking to a friend or loved one