If nixing your nicotine addiction is among your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider this additional incentive: Even though you might feel on ...
If nixing your nicotine addiction is among your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider this additional incentive: Even though you might feel on edge at first, cutting out the cigs will ultimately leave you less anxious, says a recent study from The British Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers had 491 smokers—some with mood and anxiety disorders, some without—attend smoking cessation clinics for 6 to kick their bad habit. Participants took anxiety tests at the start and finish of the study period, as well as had access to nicotine patches and oral nicotine replacement therapy.
The results: The 68 smokers who stayed smoke-free saw a significant decrease in their anxiety levels, and the effect was greater for those with mood and anxiety disorders.
But most importantly, these results emphatically contradict the notion that smoking is a stress reliever, says Máirtín S. McDermott, Ph.D., study author and researcher with Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College in London.
Here’s why that notion is incorrect: If you’re a dependent smoker, your nicotine levels begin to fall quite rapidly between cigarettes. As your levels drop, you begin to feel anxious, irritable, and moody—all symptoms commonly interpreted as stress. But really, they’re just symptoms from nicotine withdrawal. The solution? You reach for a cigarette.
So how can you start working toward your goal if you’re a smoker? Stick with the whole New Year’s resolution theme and hit the gym. According to a study published in the journal Addiction, people who exercise when they crave cigarettes are more likely to overcome the urge to smoke.
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