Skip to main content

Why It's OK to Be Nervous About Life Without Cigarettes

< Back to the article list

Thinking about giving up smoking can be a nerve-racking, and that’s totally normal. Here’s how to learn to be OK with it.

You know you want to quit smoking, and it’s likely you’ve either tried to quit before or have thought about chucking your cigarettes in the trash for some time. But even though you think you’re ready to give it up for good, your nerves are still feeling rattled. The good news? This is completely normal, and all part of the process of quitting. Here are some thing to keep in mind if you’re scared to stop smoking, plus tips to combat those nerves so you can quit for good.

Why It’s OK To Be Nervous About Quitting

Nicotine Can Cause Anxiety

One of the top reasons many people smoke is to help reduce stress. Studies have proven this, showing the connection between the nicotine in cigarettes and lower anxiety levels. But what’s actually happening when you smoke is that you’re relieving your nicotine withdrawal symptoms, including the release of the feel-good chemical, dopamine, which contributes to the anxiety you may be feeling.

If you can’t fathom quitting cold turkey, give your body a chance to slowly decrease its nicotine dependency with a smoking cessation product like the NicoDerm CQ Patch. The patch comes in three strengths depending on how much you smoke per day, so you can gradually absorb less nicotine into your body and reduce feelings of anxiousness.

Quitting Smoking Brings Up the Idea of Failure

No one likes to fail, and research has found that for some smokers it may take up to 30 times to successfully stop the habit, making the road to a cigarette-free life seem long and daunting. What’s important to keep in mind is the progress you’re making as you quit. Setting mini-goals for yourself, whether it’s cutting one cigarette out a day from your usual smoking routine, or no longer smoking at work, will set you up with wins along the road to quitting for good.

You Worry About Your Social Circle

Smokers are brought together by the act of smoking. Cigarette breaks at work often create a social circle, and you may be worried that you won’t have an outlet to mingle once you remove cigarettes from your life. Keep in mind your friends are friends with you because of the person you are, not what you do. If you mention that you’re trying to quit smoking, chances are you’ll end up motivating a few to do it with you.

Think of this also as an opportunity to make new friends as you embark on a new lifestyle. By distracting yourself with a group of friends that walk during lunch at work instead of smoking, you’ll start a new healthy routine and make some helpful coworker connections with it.

You Think You Might Be Depressed

While studies are conflicted when it comes to the link between depression and smoking, there is research that shows stopping smoking will actually reduce feelings of depression and improve quality of life. If you started smoking because you had feelings of depression and you’re nervous they will return if you quit, talk to your doctor about it. They can help refer you to a mental health specialist who works with smokers to help you quit while also giving you tools to help reduce feelings of depression without a cigarette. Whether you plan to quit now or in the future, the best way to deal with depressive feelings is to speak with a professional, not rely on the effects on nicotine to help beat your blues.