It is a natural tendency to quit smoking and expect to be over it within a month. That would be nice (very nice!), but it doesn’t work that way.
When we quit smoking, we’re letting go of a habit that most of us have carried for many years, if not all of our adult lives. It’s only fair to expect that breaking down the old associations that tied us to smoking and replacing them with new, healthier habits will take some time. Sit back, relax, and think of time as one of your best quit buddies. The more of it you put between you and that last cigarette you smoked, the stronger you’ll become. Have patience with yourself, and with the process.
Worrying About the Future
Nicotine withdrawal plays mind games with us early on in smoking cessation. We think about smoking all of the time, and we worry that we’ll always miss our cigarettes. It’s called “junkie thinking,” and we all go through a certain amount of it as we recover from nicotine addiction. For the new quitter, it can be paralyzing to think about never lighting another cigarette. Thoughts like this, if left unchecked, can easily lead to a smoking relapse.
If you find yourself feeling panicked about your smoke-free future, pull out of it by focusing your attention only on the day you have in front of you. It takes practice and patience to stay in the here and now, but it can be done, and it is a great way to maintain control over your quit program. It is the truth that today is where your power to affect change in your life is, and always will be. You can’t do a thing about what happened yesterday, or about what is yet to come tomorrow, but you sure can control today.
It’s been said that the average person has approximately 66,000 thoughts on any given day, and that two-thirds of them are negative. It will probably come as no surprise that we aim many of those negative thoughts directly at ourselves. Face it, we’re almost always our own worst critics.
Start paying attention to your thoughts, and banish those that don’t serve your best interests. Be kind to yourself and stop lamenting the things you can’t change, such as the years you spent smoking. Look at past quit attempts not as failures, but as experiences you can learn from. Think about all of the positive changes you’re creating in your life by quitting tobacco now, and remember to use the value of today to your advantage.
Early smoking cessation is a time when you should be taking extra care to make sure all of your physical needs are met. The following list of tips will help you weather nicotine withdrawal more comfortably:
Eat a well-balanced diet
Your body needs good quality fuel now as it works to flush the toxins from cigarettes out of your system.
Get more rest
Chances are, nicotine withdrawal will leave you feeling fatigued for a few weeks. If you’re tired, don’t fight it. Sleep more if you can.
Exercise daily and Drink water
Water is a great quit aid. It helps you detox more quickly, works well as a craving-buster, and by keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll feel better overall.
Exercise benefits both physical and mental health, and it’s another good way to manage cravings to smoke. Walking is a low-impact aerobic workout that is a good choice for those of us leading inactive lives. Be sure to check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
Take a daily multi-vitamin
Cigarettes deplete our bodies of many nutrients, so give yourself the boost that a good multi-vitamin provides for the first few months of smoking cessation. It may help you regain your energy more quickly.
Being Hesitant to Ask for Help
Statistics show that people who quit smoking with a healthy support system in place have a much higher rate of long-term success with smoking cessation. In addition to the support you might receive from friends and family, consider adding some online support to your quit program. The quit-smoking-forum offers some of the best support the Internet has to offer. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who know exactly what you are going through is worth its weight in gold.