Healthy living

Staying stopped – tips for the tough times

Cravings and stressful situations can make you want to reach for a cigarette. Before you do, try some of these tips

  1. Breathe deeply and slowly.
  2. Relax your body and your mind. Try this technique:
    • Lie down or sit in a comfortable position.
    • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
    • Tighten your feet and toes, hold them tight for 3 seconds, then relax them. Repeat this exercise with your leg muscles, your stomach and your arms and shoulders.
    • Think about something relaxing, perhaps lying in the shade of a tree on a hot day … a gentle breeze brushes your skin … the leaves rustle quietly … nothing to do just now except close your eyes and let your mind drift …
    • When you are relaxed and ready, open your eyes and bring the good feelings with you.
  3. Look after your body. The following might help:
    • get enough sleep
    • eat sensibly and well
    • do some gentle stretches to relieve muscle tension
    • ask a friend for a neck and shoulder massage.
  4. Manage your workload and time. You can do this by:
    • setting achievable goals
    • making sure you don’t take on more than you can handle
    • asking for help if you need it
    • keeping some distractions on hand for boring times, for example music or a stress ball when stuck in traffic or queues.
  5. Take care of your feelings:
    • talk to others about your problems – don’t keep your feelings bottled up
    • try to be around people who support you.
  6. Do things you enjoy:
    • write in a journal or draw
    • do nice things for yourself occasionally
    • do something you enjoy every day.
  7. Exercise:
    • this can be as simple as getting off the bus one stop early and walking the extra distance or using stairs instead of lifts.

Where to get help


Quitline is a confidential telephone support service staffed by professional advisors who are trained to provide encouragement and support to help you quit.

Phone: 13 7848 (13 QUIT) (local call rates from land line only). Advisors are available from:
  • Monday to Friday 6am – 7pm
  • Saturday 11.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Sunday closed.


Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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