I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. I’ve never even tried one. I don’t really plan to take up smoking ever. But, on certain occasions, I catch myself thinking, “Man, I could really go for a cigarette right now!” Which is kind of ridiculous, really, since I wouldn’t even know what it’s like.
When I was studying abroad in Morocco I was surrounded by smokers. Men walked down the street and sold single cigarettes for change. I’ve been friends with people who smoke since high school. It’s never really bothered me. My sister, on the other hand, will make a point to cough especially loudly if she spots someone in public smoking. Which is completely justifiable for her. She lives with a respiratory condition that makes it harder for her to breathe than most healthy people. That’s part of the reason I will probably never smoke.
So what do I do instead? When everyone around me pulls out a cigarette and I’m just standing there? I chew a lot of gum. I’m serious; it puts me at ease for some reason.
Often, when I get the weird craving, it’s because there are added emotional stresses in my life – with friends, family or other relationships. A trick that I use to calm myself down in the short run is to take a second, wherever I am, to stop, close my eyes and take a deep breath.
Something I do in the long run to get my jitters out and alleviate stress is exercise. I took dance classes for 15 straight years, so physical activity needs to be part of my routine, and sometimes that’s what I crave more than anything. A bike ride, exercise class, power walk with a friend or 45 minutes of lap swimming will do wonders for me.
We all have stress in our life, and we all crave different things to help us deal with them. Different things work for different people. What works for you?