Stress and anxiety can trigger vape cravings, and make it harder for you to quit for good. You may be tempted to reach for your vape when you have these feelings, but vaping is not an effective way to cope. There are healthy and effective ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a normal part of life—everyday worries, responsibilities, and hassles all contribute to your overall stress level. Too much stress can make you feel overwhelmed and affect your mood. If you automatically reach for your vape when you are stressed out, you will need to have a plan for handling stress when you quit.
Anxiety is feeling worried, nervous, or panicky. Anxiety can be a reaction to stress, or it can be triggered by other things in your life. It’s normal to experience anxiety from time to time – but anxiety can be a problem if it is frequent or interferes with your daily life.
Even if you rarely felt stressed or anxious before quitting vaping, you may feel increased stress, irritability or anxiety after quitting. For some people, the experience of quitting can feel overwhelming. It might be hard to imagine yourself or your life without your vape. 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.
Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety
You can manage feelings of stress and anxiety without reaching for your vape. Try these ideas – some may work better than others, so find the ones that work for you.
Stop and Breathe
Pause what you are doing, and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on the inhale and the exhale of your breath. Interrupting the anxious feeling with conscious breathing can help you calm down and think clearly.
Learn Your Anxiety Triggers
Anxiety can happen without being triggered. But, certain people, places, and situations can also trigger anxiety. Identify what makes you feel anxious or panicked and record it on your phone or in a journal. Do you see a pattern? Understanding your triggers is the first step in learning how to manage them.
Move Your Body
Getting your body moving is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. Take a walk, hit the gym, or do some yoga.
Care for Yourself
Eating a balanced diet, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep will help your body keep your stress level down. Keep healthy snacks on hand, and don’t skip meals.
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 stay in the moment.
Caffeine can help you stay awake, but it can also make you feel tense, jittery, and stressed. That’s not helpful when you are quitting vaping. Cutting back on or gradually eliminating caffeinated products— like coffee, energy drinks, and some sodas—while you are quitting can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Reach Out to Loved Ones
You don’t have to deal with stress alone. Focus on spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself and want to help you stay vape-free. Talk to your friends, family, teachers, school counselors, and other important people in your life who support you and your decision to stop vaping.
Accept Life’s Ups and Downs
Life is full of twists and turns. You’ll always have some stress in your life. It helps to understand that there will be good days and bad days.
Look Out for Signs of Serious Anxiety
Feeling anxious or irritable as you are quitting vaping is normal. But if you are feeling extreme anxiety or mood changes, you may need help from a professional. You may feel like the symptoms are too extreme or won’t go away. Watch for this, especially if you’ve ever had severe anxiety. If you feel like the anxiety is overwhelming, tell a supportive friend or family member, and talk to your doctor.
If you need help now:
- Text the Crisis Text Line to talk with a trained crisis counselor via text message at any time of day or night by texting TALK to 741741. Counselors are trained to address any serious problem you may be having.
- Chat with a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline counselor at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
- Call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for free, private help, or dial 911.