by Katalina Mau
All Rights Reserved
If you were only going to do one thing to improve your health, and your overall quality of life, it would be to quit smoking. Quitting smoking will improve your health, your appearance, and how you feel. You will be able to exercise easier and enjoy life more! No more standing outside the door in the rain for a cigarette! You can quit!
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, in fact it is one of the hardest things I have ever done! But if you really want to give up cigarettes, for good, you can! With a little planning, some determination, and an understanding of nicotine addiction, you will find you don’t need any pills, potions, or patches! In fact, the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are intense for just about 3 days. Knowing that the physical withdrawl from cigarettes in only 3 days, most people can get through it on their own. It is the mental part that is hard. Plan to conquer your mental addiction to smoking and the physical addiction will take care of itself.
The thought of not smoking forever can be intimidating! After all, cigarettes have been a large part of your life. Talk yourself into quitting for an hour, then another hour, then another hour… I haven’t smoked in 169,492 hours. My next goal is 175,250 hours, or 20 years. I am sure I will reach it!
Cigarettes have become a ritual in your life. To quit smoking, you need to find new rituals to replace your smoking rituals. You probably smoke to start your day, to end a meal, while driving in the car. Probably the last thing you do each day is smoke a cigarette. Plan ahead! What will you do now that you don’t smoke? For me, chocolate chips did the trick. Instead of a cigarette I would take a single chocolate chip, let it melt slowly in my mouth, and totally enjoy the rich chocolate taste. (I bought the best chocolate chips I could find!) In the car I would chew gum, and at the end of the day, a nice cup of tea and a long kiss from my honey!
Find your reason to quit. Quitting is hard! You are not going to do it because someone else wants you to. Find a reason that really matters to you. For me, it wasn’t for health reasons that I quit. Lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, those all seemed distant and unlikely. Second hand smoke, not a motivator, everyone around me seemed fine. Vanity was the key for me! I didn’t want to look like a smoker. I could see that smokers had more wrinkles, their fingers were yellowed, and their voices were hoarse and rough.
Money can be a great motivation. Smoking is expensive. When you don’t buy cigarettes you save tons of money! Giving up a pack a day habit will save about $5 in a day, $35 in a week, $150 a month or $1800 a year! And that is just the cost of cigarettes. Add in lighters and breath mints and you are talking serious money! Treat yourself with it! After a week, get a manicure to rid your fingers of those ugly yellow tobacco stains.
Remind yourself that life wasn’t perfect before you gave up smoking. One of the hardest times for me after I quit was when I got uptight about something. I just knew that a cigarette would calm me down and make everything all better. Of course, that wasn’t true. I would get tense and uptight while I was a smoker. So instead of a cigarette I would do some deep breathing, stretch, or take a brisk walk.
If you are a smoker, (now an ex-smoker!) chances are good that most of your friends are smokers too. Temptation will be huge when you are with friends. It wouldn’t be fair to have to give up your friends, so once again, plan ahead and come up with some strategies to resist temptation. You could try and get all your friends to quit with you. If that doesn’t work, try these suggestions. Find something you can do with your hands. Remind yourself of your reasons why you quit. Get a little silly. When I was out with friends I would smoke… without a cigarette! I would just pretend and go through the motions. Lighting up, a deep inhale and blowing smoke rings. If temptation got strong, I would think of dirty ashtrays and smoker’s breath. I would notice the yellow fingers and wrinkles of the smokers, and count how many hours it had been since my last cigarette. Anything except smoke a cigarette!
Know that you will always be addicted to cigarettes. Even after almost 20 years I still have moments when I want to smoke. I know people who quit for over 20 years and then started right back up in a moment of weakness. It does get much easier, but remember, you are only “a puff away from a pack a day!”