Cigarette advertisements first entered the American alveoli in the late 18th century. Snuff and tobacco products were the way to go, and being able to spit tobacco like the lone western cowboys provided a keen sense of having achieved a status of cool.

Too cool almost, until it was not so cool anymore. Three centuries later, when science and medicine exposed the emotionless and sexless face of the modern tobacco industry and the millions of lives it was strangling every year, it’s difficult to imagine that people still willingly dance with a devil they have come to know so well. It seems as though science and medicine need better PR since they have still not reached every person who still lights up in the name of socializing.

Emotional stressors tend to trigger risky behavior; like stuffing your face with raw cookie dough after waiting all day for a text back from that certain someone, which never comes. You know that cookie dough will do nothing but make you pass out in front of the T.V. again, but you’re angry and sad, and only cookie dough will do! The mind wants what it wants, right? Wrong! Being able to resist digging into that cookie dough requires the same amount of willpower as resisting that cigarette. All you need to know is how to take that deep breath and de-stress. You need to know how to control your cognitive brain so it doesn’t getting usurped by your primitive desires.

Below are 5 great ways to de-stress quickly and effectively, allowing you to get past that desire for that cigarette.

  1. Positive Thinking: It sounds corny and cliché, but being able to take a deep breath and bring yourself back to a pleasant moment or memory helps your body calm itself down and mitigate the surge of cortisol and epinephrine causing you stress and unhealthy urges.
  1. Exercise: Take a 20-minute walk, do some yoga, go throw a basketball around, take a short jog. All these exercises will help you relax and release dopamine, a happy neurotransmitter linked to motivation, arousal, and reward.
  1. Remove yourself from the Stressor: If you’re out with friends and they all head out for a cigarette, odds are they may ask you to come out with them and thus you’re in the danger zone. The best way to avoid this temptation is to stay put and not go out there with them. Avoid the situation entirely. If you’re tempted, think about this. Acetone, Formaldehyde, Arsenic and Ammonia are just a few of the ingredients found in cigarettes. As a friendly reminder, arsenic is an ingredient found in rat poison and a favorite of certain lady killers looking to cash in on their husband’s life insurance. And formaldehyde is an embalmer’s favorite ingredient. Think about that next time your fingers willingly reach for that little death wand.
  1. Laugh! Reduce your stress by laughing. Look up a funny joke, recall a funny memory and laugh out loud! It will get your mind off your stress and dull any desire for a cigarette or that Pillsbury Dough Boy you’re always getting involved with.
  1. Talk To Someone: Call up a good friend who can uplift your spirit and put a smile on your lips. Talking through a problem will help you see it in a different light. If it’s a temptation you need to resist, having a strong, social bond with people who help you will only make it easier to combat risky behavior.
  2. ReadThe Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr, it’s the world’s bestselling book on how to give up smoking for good reason – it actually really works if you read it to the end!

Written by Maria Schumann for bodono.

Maria Schumann is a writer living in NYC.
About Maria Schumann: “I love writing poetry, breaking a sweat at bikram yoga, and reading serial killer books while cooking. I love watching documentaries and I am always game for a crazy night of poker. Understanding the importance of a healthy relationship with my body and mind inspires me to help others come to a symbiotic relationship with their bodies and minds as well. Through writing I am able to reach people with my words and hopefully inspire positivity and change.”