April is Stress Awareness Month and a good time to evaluate the effect of stress on our lives. Are our lives balanced? Or are we a slave to stress resulting from home, work, or school? Chronic stress has been linked to depression. It also leads to elevated levels of a hormone known as cortisol, resulting in reduced serotonin that causes depression.

Scottsdale cigar shop

(Freeimages / vildan uysal)

Unfortunately, some degree of stress is inevitable in life, but there are many things that people can do to relieve stress. One of them is smoking a cigar. For cigar aficionados, lighting up at the end of a stressful day can melt away pressures and tension. Just the ritual of lighting the cigar can begin the cleansing process. When you observe the tip of your cigar turning into embers and the smoke slowly drifting upward, you can often feel your body and soul relaxing.

Cigars—from the production process to the smoking ritual—can be considered an art form. Their firm touch and masculine fragrance can indulge your sense of smell. Watching the billows of smoke after each puff can evoke nostalgia and reawaken pleasant memories lost in the fog of passing years.

Cigars have secured a stronghold in history. Great men who made important decisions through the ages often smoked cigars, including Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy. “Cigar people” are often associated with personality traits that are social and generous. Many notable cigar smokers faced significant challenges in their lives but emerged intact. Perhaps it has something to do with their ability to manage stress in productive ways—including smoking cigars.

The cost of cigars may seem insignificant when their anti-stress properties are considered. You can’t buy happiness, but splurging on a good cigar and reveling in the smoking experience can certainly help improve your outlook.