Ask most people why they use nicotine, and they’ll tell you that it relaxes them, and helps them feel less edgy. Naturally then, we can assume that a good majority who vape do so the most often when they’re feeling stressed. Many of us experience stress on a regular basis, whether it be related to family, work or financial responsibilities. This leads us into a major question for which we’ll be addressing today, especially with the help of science; is vaping a good way to manage stress?
Science Behind Stress
To understand the relationship between vaping and stress, we have to first grasp what stress is, what causes it and what it does to the system.
Stress is a natural biological response to a threat. The stress response exists to support our ability to escape or defend ourselves against a dangerous situation. When our brain perceives a threat, our nervous system is stimulated in a way that allows adrenaline to run through the body, which creates a series of processes including an increased heart rate, faster thinking, a burst of energy and increased physical strength.
But, while that may sound like a positive thing, it’s not always. Stress can become chronic, and because we’ve evolved to exist in environments that aren’t constantly exposing us to real danger, our stress response can behave in quite strange ways. For instance, we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmingly stressed as a result of a work deadline or looming bill, and this can trick our brain into thinking that we are in great danger.
Chronic stress is, in short, extraordinarily bad for our health. When stress becomes chronic, our brains release excessive levels of a neurotransmitter called cortisol, which can cause various areas of the body to become inflamed. This can also leave us feeling fatigued, depressed, and anxious.
What Vaping Does to Your System
We mentioned earlier that many people claim that nicotine relaxes them. And those people aren’t wrong. When inhaled, nicotine levels peak in the system almost instantaneously. One thing that nicotine does is promote a feeling of relaxation. The muscles release tension, the mind feels more relaxed and the nervous system slows down.
However, nicotine is a funny chemical compound. While a small amount of the stuff is capable of doing the above, too much of it can have the opposite effect. Too much nicotine can make us feel more agitated, acting as a harsh stimulant that makes us uncomfortably edgy and anxious, not to mention dizzy.
Further, those who are extremely addicted to nicotine may find that if they must withhold from vaping for a prolonged period of time, they may feel enormously stressed due to the symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal.
Balance is Key
Like most things in life, the key to vaping when stressed is finding balance. We know how tempting it is to chain-vape during moments of intense stress, fear, or anxiety. Chain-vaping though, can definitely give you too much of a stimulant effect which causes your heartrate to increase even more, which can exacerbate feelings of stress. Hence, try not to vape any more than you normally do if you are experiencing a moment of stress.
Your Nicotine Strength Makes a Difference
Note that there are some ways in which your experience can differ depending on certain factors of your vaping setup. The biggest one is the nicotine strength at which you are vaping. Some people vape extraordinarily high nicotine concentrations, which means that if they were to vape more than they normally do when feeling stressed, this could backfire.
On a similar level, vaping next to zero nicotine may not give you the initial calming effects of the compound. But, for some people, simply inhaling vapor and blowing out clouds, whether or not nicotine is present, is a calming activity.
The Importance of Maintaining Healthy Stress Levels
Of course, it’s important that you have stress management techniques, as vaping alone should not be your way of dealing with stressful moments. Meditation, deep breathing, yoga and journaling are all proven methods for managing stress.
Vape Wisely When in a Certain Mood
The bottom line is that vaping has the ability to relax you, but ultimately, it depends on how much nicotine you’re taking in. If you are dealing with severe stress, still continue your vaping routine, but also, try to incorporate some known stress management techniques into the mix as well.