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Keeping Calm

Learn how to break your emotional attachment to smoking and get some tips on how to cope with stress without turning to cigarettes.

As a smoker, without realising it you formed an emotional attachment to cigarettes. You turned to them for comfort in stressful times and, now you’ve stopped, you need other ways to ‘keep your cool’. So here are a few suggestions.

Talk through it

Talking about a problem with a friend or colleague will relieve tension even if it doesn’t solve the problem. You might even want to choose a ‘quitting buddy’ – a really supportive friend or family member you can turn to when temptation strikes.


This is one of the best stress-reducing methods around. Anything from a quick walk to a rigorous gym workout can reduce tension and remind you how much healthier your body is now you’re not smoking.


Take a long bath, rent a great movie or treat yourself to a new CD. It’s also a good way to reward yourself for staying strong and not having a cigarette.


You don’t need formal training to get the calming benefits of meditation. Just find a peaceful environment, relax your muscles, clear your mind of immediate thoughts, take a deep cleansing breath and repeat a calming word or phrase silently, to prevent stressful thoughts from distracting you.

Take a deep breath

Many ex-smokers find this is one of the most effective techniques to keep calm. When you get an urge to smoke or start feeling irritable, just follow these simple steps until it passes:

  • Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, fully expanding your diaphragm as you breathe in, deflating it as you let the air out.
  • Practice breathing so that your left hand moves out when you inhale, while your right hand moves only slightly.
  • As you exhale, your right hand remains still while your left hand goes back down.
  • Each time you exhale, think of the tension, craving or bad feeling leaving your body.

Repeat this pattern until the stress or craving to smoke has gone.