As you all know by now, tobacco is a big killer. More than 50 million Americans smoke. According to the Center for Disease Control, it kills more than 440,000 people every year in the U.S. If you are a current smoker, quitting is the biggest favor you can do for yourself. You might have already tried to do so and failed several times before. Please realize that your past failures do not mean you are unable to quit smoking this time. Instead, view them as part of the process of successfully quitting for good.
You have many reasons to quit smoking – for your health, your loved ones, your sex drive, and even for the money in your pocket. The earlier you quit the better your body will recover.
Once you plan to quit smoking, arm yourself with these four tools – be ready, get support, learn new skills and behaviors and be prepared for relapse.
Smoking is a powerful addiction. You have to realize that you are fighting a strong addiction, not just a habit. It is not going to be easy. In my many years of experience in helping people withdraw from addiction, I would say that the number one key to success is to be ready. Without your cooperation, nobody can really help you. So, sincerely ask yourself if you are ready to do this NOW. If you are ready, congratulations. It is now time to set a quit date and stick to it. Try to avoid high stress days and holidays. You should choose a three-week period that is clear of any known deadlines or other stressors so that you can better deal with the strong nicotine desire and other withdrawal symptoms.
See your health provider for support and help. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may help you detox, reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, headache, poor concentration, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, irritability and weight gain.
Tell your coworkers, friends and family members that you are quitting smoking. Ask for their tolerance because you might be edgy or grumpy for a little while. Ask people to not smoke in front of you. Try attending Nicotine anonymous meetings.
Learn New Skills and Behaviors
Learn a deep breathing technique. Practice it and repeat it any time you have a craving.
Drink a lot of water or tea in the first week. Bring a big bottle of water with you at all times. It will help flush out the nicotine and other toxins from your body.
Increase exercise. Go to a gym, sit in the steam, take a long walk or ride your bike daily. Chi-Gong, Tai Chi and Yoga are excellent for you and can increase a sense of calmness and well-being.
Stay away from alcohol, sugar and coffee, as these tend to stimulate the desire for a cigarette. Avoid fatty foods and cheese. Eat many fresh vegetables, especially living greens. Eat enough protein.
Change your eating habits. Try to eat small amounts of food at each meal every 2-3 hours. Eat slowly, one bit by one bit. Chew gum or suck on cinnamon sticks.
Deep breathing. During deep breathing, repeat to yourself the affirmation “I am a non-smoker.” Do this several times a day. Remember that most of the urges to smoke will pass after 5 minutes.
Avoid going to places where you will be tempted to smoke, such as bars and parties with smokers during the first few weeks of quitting.
Prepare for Relapse
Once you reach the third week goal without smoking, give yourself a big applause. You are on your way! Be careful – nicotine is a powerful drug. From time to time, the urges to smoke still occur and may increase during the holiday season, with peer pressure and high stress levels. These kinds of urges may occur in the next 6-12 months, sometimes even 1-2 years. However, the craving intensity usually only lasts twenty seconds to five minutes. Use the same techniques (i.e. deep breathing) that you used when you were first quitting to overcome the desire.
You have my best wishes for your success. Call us at Tao of Wellness—we stand ready to help. If you can stop smoking, you have proved that you have the power to make anything possible.