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If you’ve tried to quit tobacco in the past, you may have experienced some strong feelings from time to time – frustration, anger, sadness, regret, even fear. This is all perfectly common. Strong feelings can come and go throughout the day. And even though they can be tough to deal with, if you learn how to manage these feelings you can turn them into something more positive.

Why does this happen?

Let’s think about why you might have strong feelings after quitting tobacco. Even after all the nicotine leaves your body (usually within 48 hours), you might experience strong feelings several weeks, months or years later. You may be drinking coffee, trying to meet a work deadline or just watching TV when suddenly you have a strong feeling that is related to not using tobacco.

Why might this happen? The answer depends on how you personally used tobacco. Did you use it to relieve stress and calm yourself down when you were feeling angry, frustrated or anxious? If so, your body and mind may be searching for another way to manage these feelings. Think about what you can do instead of using tobacco. Make sure it is something that’s fun, exciting and rewarding.

What to do about it?

One good way is to find another outlet. Take the story of Frank for example. He found a great solution. He often experienced intense feelings of sadness and anger during his quit process. He knew that he really wanted to smoke during these times, so one day he decided to try something different. Any time he felt this way, he went to the gym and hit a racquetball against the wall as hard as he could. He couldn’t believe how quickly it took away his anger and desire to smoke! From that day forward, Frank packed his racquet in his backpack and played each day. Maybe racquetball isn’t for you, but find something that is! It’s important to remember not to ignore these feelings – they’re telling you something! Learn to understand what they’re saying, and then use that information to turn them into something fun and rewarding that will help you stay quit.