Nicotine has a powerful effect on your mental health.

woman looking out window thinking

Nicotine temporarily raises your dopamine levels, giving you a “rush” of feel-good hormones when you smoke or vape. But that good feeling quickly fades away, leaving you feeling agitated and restless. These symptoms can only be relieved by more nicotine or by quitting.  

When you quit, and your body adjusts to being without nicotine, you may experience low moods, sadness, or anxiety. These feelings are temporary and usually get easier after your first few weeks nicotine-free. In fact, quitting smoking has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in the long term.  

Some people believe that smoking or vaping helps them handle stress, but the truth is that it only makes things worse. Smoking or vaping can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension, making you feel more anxious. The relaxation you feel while smoking is actually just relief from nicotine withdrawal between cigarettes. Quitting makes space for you to find healthier coping mechanisms to manage your stress.  

It’s important to monitor your mood after quitting and seek advice from a healthcare provider if your feelings of depression or anxiety persist. 

Coping Strategies to Manage Moods

Be kind to yourself

Everyone has days when they don’t feel their best. Remind yourself that how you’re feeling is normal and will go away. Be patient and kind to yourself until these feelings pass, as you would a friend or loved one.


Compassionate thinking

Speak to yourself kindly and with acceptance of what you're experiencing. Validate your own emotions and practice self-soothing techniques such as a warm bath or soothing music.


Remember your why

When you’re feeling down, remember why you made the decision to quit.  Remind yourself of all the ways your health and your life will improve in the future rather than focusing on how you’re feeling at this moment.


Celebrate your milestones

Look at how far you’ve come on your quit journey already and celebrate your progress. Focusing on your accomplishments can boost your self-esteem and help improve your mood.

Try self-care activities

Mindfulness, movement, and reflection are proven self-care tools to help calm symptoms of anxiety and depression. Try them out and see what works for you.


Get active

Exercise releases endorphins that can help lift your mood. Any form of movement is beneficial, whether it’s a gentle walk, a sweaty gym session, or an at-home dance party!

Visit our Physical Activity and Quitting page for more tips to increase your activity.


Try mindfulness or meditation

Sit in stillness or repeat a mantra like “I am choosing my health” or “This too shall pass”.

Try a meditation app like Balance for guided meditation and mindfulness exercises (your first year is free!).


Do some deep breathing

Focus on your breathing can help calm anxiety. Try box breathing: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.


Start journalling

Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts or journal about your accomplishments, hopes, and dreams.


Do something that makes you feel good

Watch your favourite movie, order your favourite meal, or do a hobby you enjoy. Doing something fun can help relieve the temporary depression that comes from quitting. Small things can make a big difference!

Connect with others

Having regular social interactions, online or offline, can help boost your mood.


Get social

Make plans with other people and try to stay busy doing things you enjoy. Schedule activities in advance so you have something to look forward to.


Join QuitNow’s Community Forum

Share celebrations and frustrations, swap tips and advice, and make friends with people who know what you’re going through.

Join here!


Ask for support

Lean on your loved ones and remember that you’re not alone. Friends, family and others are there to support you. Tell your loved ones what they can do to support you best. You can also reach out to our Quit Coaches for one-on-one support and guidance.