Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


How to Avoid the Temptation to Smoke When You’re Busy and Overwhelmed

by Bethaney Davey

how not to smoke

Quitting smoking is already hard enough on its own. However, being a professional with a full time career while trying to quit is a different story altogether. After all, the dopamine hit that stems from smoking tobacco is especially hard to resist when overwhelmed — Nicotine & Tobacco Research notes that as many as 62% of smokers attribute their inability to stop smoking to stress.

It is important that busy professionals understand ways to resist temptation and find relief elsewhere. But how easy is this when you’re already stressed enough on your own?

Here are our suggestions for smokers with packed lifestyles who want to quit smoking.

Tobacco-quitting diet

Everyone has to eat at some point during the day, so why not make the most out of that time frame and prioritize foods that curb tobacco cravings? Verywell Fit suggests that minty food, or crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery, can help make cigarettes less appealing.

Finding ways to incorporate these ingredients into your meal can reduce the desire to smoke. At the same time, simply redirecting your focus from the physical or psychological craving by keeping your mouth busy can distract yourself long enough to soldier through the urge to smoke.

Fortunately, cravings come and go, and likely last about ten minutes at the longest. With good food, the time can pass by faster.

Opportunities for exercise

Finding time to do a 10-30 minute workout is great, but you could also use the stairs, or even try biking to work. Even doing chores around the house is enough to get your heart pumping.

Besides getting more oxygen in your body, exercise has been proven to release a number of neurotransmitters as well. This includes endorphins, endocannabinoids, and of course, dopamine, which makes exercise an excellent activity to curb withdrawal symptoms from tobacco.

Nicotine alternatives

Weaning oneself off nicotine must be done carefully because the body’s natural reaction to an addiction is a physical reaction, including altering one’s heart rate and blood pressure.

Our previous article on kicking smoking habits highlighted Ultra as a top brand for e-cigarettes, a tobacco-free alternative that can ease the quitting process. In recent times, however, vaping has become less convenient for busy users, as it’s a fire-hazard and is also banned in many public spaces.

More popular today is the nicotine gum from Nicorette, available in many drugstores, as well as the many leading nicotine pouch brands listed on Prilla such as Zyn, On!, Rogue and Velo. As a spit and stain free option, flavored nicotine pouches are placed between the cheek and gums to discreetly supply your body with small doses of nicotine. Afterwards, the non-combustible pouch can be disposed of in the trash just as easily.

Using a vapor-emitting e-cigarette in an air-conditioned office would’ve been out of the question, but with modern alternatives, it is easier to avoid the urge to smoke and remain productive.

Mindfulness techniques to Overcome the Urge to Smoke

Practicing mindfulness can be hard, but finding ways to incorporate this in your daily life can help one resist tobacco cravings and also reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

The prefrontal cortex, which is where our willpower comes from, shuts down when stressed. Jud Brewer, M.D. claims that acknowledging your stress and cravings is the initial key to riding them out. Allowing yourself to feel your emotions and get in touch with your surroundings breaks the habit loop, and helps you address the psychological root of the problem.

For the busy and overwhelmed workers out there, even one minute to practice breathing methods or five minutes to go up the stairs is one to five minutes more towards success. Every journey towards cessation is different, and you can read up on more personal stories at our forum, Recovering The Self.

About the Author

Bethaney Davey is a digital nomad and writes in her spare time. Despite her ever-changing schedule, she never forgets to start each day with a 10-minute meditation to ground herself in her goals.

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