Kick Butts to Boost your Mental Health

March 17, 2014

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Most people are aware of the physical health risks associated with smoking tobacco, but research shows that smoking can also have significant effects on an individual’s mental health. Many people turn to tobacco for temporary stress relief, but recent findings prove that smoking has adverse long-term mental health effects. Nicotine only produces temporary feelings of pleasure. Once the feelings diminish, withdrawal symptoms rapidly set in. Anxiety, irritability, impatience and anger may develop because the smoker still has a need for the effects of nicotine. The UK Mental Health Association states that there is evidence to support that smoking tobacco leads to increased levels of stress and anxiety. This can potentially lead to long-term mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. Although many people with mental health issues say that they smoke to manage their symptoms, they usually begin smoking before their problems begin. Research conducted by The Journal of American Medical Association found that 44.3 percent of all cigarettes in America are used by individuals who live with mental illness or substance abuse disorders.

Since smoking is often used as a coping mechanism, it is important that individuals find alternative methods of dealing with their mental health issues if they are willing to quit. There is evidence to support the use of methods such as meditation or breathing exercises, acupuncture, reducing alcohol intake, eating a well-balanced diet and developing a strong support system. So before you reach for a cigarette, consider how it may affect your mental health. 

National Kick Butts Day is being held at UNH this coming Tuesday March 19th in order to support the fight against tobacco. Healthy UNH will have a booth with activities to help teach faculty and staff about the cessation resources they have access to. The event will take place in the MUB from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

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Hi Heather, this is a great blog about the awareness of smoking and negative mental health effects. I think it's very important to realize alternative coping mechanisms other than cigarettes, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, and even hanging out with friends.

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