If you're reading this - you have it in you to quit smoking!
Many former smokers have claimed that it’s one of the most difficult things that they’ve ever had to do. If you’ve tried quitting smoking, you know exactly what that means.
It often doesn’t take much to get hooked on nicotine. Although you may feel dizzy or nauseous after your first experience, by taking a haul off a cigarette or a puff of a vape, you’re allowing nicotine to hijack your brain’s reward enter. You get a hit of dopamine (the reward chemical that’s often associated with moving towards goals/succeeding) along with a rush other chemicals into your body (like adrenaline). Before too long, you’re craving those feelings. It becomes a vicious cycle of addiction. As the years pass, nicotine seems like it could be your best friend, despite all the damage that it’s doing to your body; specifically your lungs!
There’s good news though! Regardless of how long you’ve been smoking – you can quit! It will be difficult, but you have the strength to overcome addiction. Many people have been able to kick the habit and have never looked back. You can be one of those people, and when you get there, you’ll be filled with pride for you have conquered the beast that is nicotine addiction.
Quit with Purpose
What is your “why”? This is an important question to ask yourself when it comes to any goal or difficult feat. You need to understand your reasons for kicking the habit. Is it to live longer? To breathe better? To have more life to live and time to spend with your kids or grand kids? Are you sick of feeling controlled by your addiction and you want to prove to yourself that you are in charge of your body and your mind? Perhaps you want to save money – And money you will certainly save if you quit!
Regardless of what your reason is, you need to have one.
You may want to write it down to affirm the idea, planting it deep in your subconscious. Maybe you’ll want to put it on a sticky note and stick it somewhere obvious so that you can be reminded of your goal when the going gets tough.
Decide If You’re Going Cold Turkey or Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Many people who quit smoking choose to go cold turkey. You know yourself more than anyone – If you feel like this is the right decision for you, do it. Some people find this extremely difficult. Some people schedule a few days off work so that they can go through the withdrawal symptoms by themselves, perhaps in their bed.
For many smokers, getting past the first 3 days is the most difficult.
When you’re quitting, remind yourself that the feelings of discomfort and irritability will pass. The withdrawal that you’re experiencing will not last forever.
Some smokers choose to use nicotine replacement therapy to ween themselves off. This works very well for many people! You have a number of different options including nicotine gum, inhalers, or “The Patch”. Everyone is different, so you’ll have to see what works best for you. If you have any concerns, talk to your Doctor or the pharmacist before you pick one of these options.
Ask For Support
When working your way through any sort of addiction, you can feel quite alone. Make sure to ask your friends and family for their support. For the first few days they may be able to help your with your responsibilities. On top of that, hopefully they will encourage you and that will give you a little extra motivation to kick the habit for good. A support circle can also hold you accountable and remind you of your “why” during periods when you’re really struggling.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
You’ll probably want to avoid alcohol or any other triggers for quite some time. In fact, it’s a good idea to try and adopt new, healthy habits while your quitting smoking.
Your brain makes a lot of unconscious connections. The times that will be the hardest will be when you’re partaking in activities that you’d usually associate with smoking. This is includes things like drinking alcohol, having your morning coffee, while you’re socializing with others, or after a meal.
It’s a good idea to mentally prepare yourself prior to engaging in your usual cigarette-triggering activities. Walk yourself through the scenario mentally and gain a firm understanding that the cravings will appear. Mentally rehearse yourself saying “No” to nicotine. This will make the situation relatively easier.
Never Give Up
Quitting smoking is hard! Do not berate yourself for past failed attempts. It’s never too late to try again…and again…and again. Whatever it takes, you can make it through and finally kick that nasty habit.
Always remember your "why"! By quitting smoking, you're likely to live longer. You'll lower your chances of developing many different types of cancer, you'll lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, you'll decrease the chance of degenerative brain diseases, and you'll feel so much better.
Once you quit, your body and mind will thank you for it – and you’ll smell better!