Feelings of stress or anxiety can trigger vape cravings and make it harder for you to quit. You may be tempted to reach for your vape when you feel stressed or anxious, but vaping is not a healthy way to deal with stress or anxiety. Learning how to manage your emotions instead of vaping is an important part of quitting.
Stress and Anxiety Can Be Triggers
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyday worries, responsibilities, and hassles all contribute to your overall stress level. Some stress can be motivating, but too much stress can make you feel overwhelmed and affect your mood. If you reach for your vape whenever you are stressed, stress is probably one of your vaping triggers. Try creating a personalized quit plan to help you come up with strategies for dealing with stress without vaping.
Anxiety is feeling worried, nervous, or panicky. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can be triggered by other things in your life. Having anxiety from time to time is normal – but anxiety can become a problem if it happens frequently or gets in the way of your daily life.
Even if you rarely felt stressed or anxious before quitting vaping, you may feel increased stress, irritability, or anxiety afterwards. The experience of quitting can feel overwhelming for some people. You may find it difficult to picture yourself or your life without vaping. The good news is that these mood changes are usually temporary while your body adjusts to being without nicotine. The longer you go without nicotine, the better you will feel. When you’re having a rough day, remember why quitting vaping will be better for you in the long run, and use your quit plan strategies or our tips for coping with stress or anxiety triggers.
Ways to Manage Stress and Anxiety
There are ways to manage stress and anxiety without turning to your vape. Try the tips below. Some may work better for you than others, so find the ones that are the most effective for you.
Learn What Makes You Anxious
Certain people, places, and situations can trigger anxiety. Identify what makes you feel anxious or panicked and record it on your phone or in a journal so that you can look for patterns. Understanding your triggers is the first step in learning how to manage them.
Stop and Breathe
Pause what you are doing and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Conscious breathing interrupts the feelings of anxiety and stress and can help you calm down and think clearly.
Moving your body is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. When you get active, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. Try taking a walk, hitting the gym, or doing yoga.
Take Care of Yourself
Getting back to basics can help keep your stress level down. Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep. Also, remember to keep healthy snacks around and not to skip meals.
Stay in the Moment
Life can be overwhelming, especially when you get caught up in worrying about what’s next. Instead, focus on what you can control and try to be present in the now.
Cut Down on Caffeine
Caffeine can help you stay awake, but it can also make you feel tense, jittery, and stressed. When quitting vaping, caffeine can make you feel even worse. Cutting back on or gradually removing caffeinated drinks like coffee, energy drinks, and some sodas while you are quitting vaping can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
You don’t have to deal with your stress alone. Reach out to your loved ones for support. Spend time with people who encourage you and want to help you stay vape-free. Talk to your partner, friends, family, coworkers, and other important people in your life who support you and your decision to quit vaping.
Take the Good With the Bad
Life is full of twists and turns, and you’ll always have some stress in your life. It helps to understand that there will be good days and bad days. So, remember to give yourself a break. Quitting is challenging. If you slip up and vape, recommit to quitting and keep going. A slip can be a silver lining that teaches you how to succeed next time.
Watch for Signs of Serious Anxiety
Feeling anxious or irritable while you quit vaping is normal. But if you are feeling extreme anxiety, mood changes, or symptoms that persist you may need help from a professional. This may be especially true if you’ve ever had severe anxiety before. If you feel like the anxiety is overwhelming or isn’t going away, tell a supportive friend or family member, and talk to your doctor or a counselor.