Top 5 mental health benefits of quitting smoking
It’s World Mental Health Day on 10th October and in this blog we’ll share some of the lesser known benefits of quitting smoking – the benefits to your mental health and wellbeing!
The physical health benefits of stopping smoking are quite well-known, but did you know these five mental health benefits of quitting?
1. You'll feel less stressed
Many believe that smoking helps relieve stress but the opposite is actually true. Smoking and stress are linked and numerous studies show that smoking increases anxiety and tension.
When you’re craving nicotine, this creates feelings of stress in your body. The longer you go without a cigarette, the more irritable you’ll become.
Smoking relieves these nicotine cravings, making you feel instantly relaxed. But don’t be fooled, it’s not the smoking helping you to relax, as many believe – it’s the nicotine withdrawal creating the stress in the first place. That’s why this relief is only temporary and the stress will quickly build again, alongside your craving.
Scientific studies show that after quitting, your stress levels will lower and you’ll feel less stressed than someone who smokes.
Although dealing with stress can be a reason for not wanting to quit, there is lots of support available to help you through your quitting journey with many ways of handling the stresses and strains of life much more effectively. Using nicotine replacement therapy – like patches and gum – can be a great way of relieving those cravings without smoking.
2. Feel happier
Quit smoking and feel happier!
Smoking affects the chemistry of the brain and can act as a depressant. Research shows that smokers who stopped smoking for six weeks or more are happier than those who carry on smoking. Even better, the evidence suggests that quitting can be as effective as anti-depressants in reducing depression and anxiety.
For people with mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, stopping smoking is likely to make you feel much calmer and more positive, improving your overall quality of life and happiness levels.
3. Take back control
Having a sense of control over your life makes you feel better. The more you perceive yourself to be in control the greater your sense of wellbeing and happiness.
When you smoke your addiction controls your life.
As well as taking over your thoughts, smoking can take vast amounts of time out of your day. Even shopping for cigarettes or looking for somewhere to smoke and going outside for a cigarette takes up time.
Stopping smoking puts you back in the driving seat.
Smoking will no longer control your daily thoughts and activities. You’ll be free to chose how to spend your time and you’ll be able to do things your way.
This feeling of being back in control can improve your mental wellbeing. Former smokers tell us how liberated and free they feel after giving up.
If you want to take back control of your life – maybe it’s time to quit for good?
4. Reduce your financial worries
Money worries can lead to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.
With the current price of a packet of 20 cigarettes anywhere between £9 – £12, the cost of smoking has never been more expensive. Add to that the indirect costs such as potential loss of earnings if you’re poorly and the financial burden of smoking can squeeze your budget to the max.
Quitting puts more money in your pocket instantly and these savings quickly add up. Use our cost savings calculator to see just how much you could save each month.
Very quickly you’ll be able to use your savings on special treats or just helping your monthly budget go that little bit further.
5. Enjoy a better quality of life
Your physical and mental health are strongly linked to the quality of your life.
The happier and healthier you feel – the better your quality of life will be.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the UK. Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking and it increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions including cancer.
Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your blood circulation improves making physical activity such as walking and running much easier. Your immune system also improves making it easier to fight off colds and flu.
As well as making you happier and healthier, stopping smoking will also help you save the money you would have spent on buying cigarettes. These factors will all contribute towards you enjoying a much better quality of life.
Where to get help to quit smoking?
Get personalised support to quit smoking from your Local Stop Smoking Service, GP or pharmacist. Or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.
Greater Manchester residents can also get six months’ free access to the Smoke Free app – usually worth £60 – when they sign up at www.smokefreeapp.com/GM (T&Cs apply).
If you currently take any medication (including antidepressants), talk to your GP before you stop smoking as your dosage may need to be monitored or reduced. This is because smoking can affect how some medications work.