How can quitting improve your mental wellbeing?
Quitting smoking can positively impact your mental health in many ways. We spoke to one of the stop-smoking advisors at Stop For Life Oxon, Fiona, who gave some insight on how quitting can help improve your overall mental health:
It isn’t known yet whether smoking causes depression or whether depression increases your likelihood of smoking.
Many people with mental health issues smoke because they feel it helps them with their mental health overall. This is because when you smoke, a chemical called dopamine is released in the brain. This a reward chemical which makes you feel good. However, things aren’t quite this simple. When you smoke, your brain actually switches off its own mechanism for making dopamine and so your overall supply decreases over time. This makes people then want to smoke more, so that they can keep on getting that good feeling.
When you smoke, you get a sense of relaxation. This comes from the nicotine reaching your brain within seconds. The nicotine actually then leaves your body quickly and you get withdrawal symptoms. These can involve your heart beating faster, your blood pressure going up and you can feel anxious and stressed too. So despite that initial relaxation, you can end up feeling more anxious overall which is why life can feel calmer and easier once you stop. You are stepping off a rollercoaster.
The achievement of managing to quit is a big one and you might find doing so gives you more confidence and a sense of being able to change other areas of your life. By stopping, you are also giving yourself the chance to learn healthier ways of managing stress which will make you feel resilient and give you a sense of being able to cope using your own resources.
Many people report feeling much more positive about their life and having better quality of life overall once they’ve stopped. You will also be reducing your overall financial stress once you quit given how expensive smoking is. If you manage to save money, you can think about how you will hopefully treat yourself. You can use our Best-You app to track how much money you’re saving while you quit so you can see how well you’re doing.
The advisors working for Stop for Life Oxon have specialist training in helping smokers who have mental health issues and they are always happy to hear from new clients. They know some of the challenges people face in going on this journey but rest assured they are there to cheer you on or provide a listening ear when times get tough.
For support & advice to quit smoking and begin to improve your health - both physically and mentally - get in touch with one of our team today. Text STOPOXON to 607777 or click here to find out more.