The Uncomfortable Reality of Quitting Smoking.
This isn’t going to be another article about why you should quit, or the health risks to continuing to smoke. If you have read this far, you likely already know all that. If you don’t, click here.
Let’s be honest, quitting smoking is hard, and it’s more than just the addiction to nicotine. I know, because I’ve been there. I jumped over that hurdle in 2002. 15 years ago, and I’m the first to admit that I’m still drawn to it, and when I am around smokers I need to make a conscious choice to not smoke.
The most uncomfortable part of smoking for non-smokers to understand is that smoking is pleasurable. There I said it, we all have thought it, and uncomfortably denied it. Or only told ourselves, but smoking is enjoyable. Smoking might be your quiet alone time where you can separate yourselves from the group and in an almost meditative fashion let your mind wander as you repetitively bring the cigarette to your lips to inhale and exhale. In a way it has been for decades a socially acceptable way, for adults to walk away from a bad situation. To take a time out, to reassess before walking back in. Smoking might also be a social activity, less now I suspect than it was in the past. A common connection with strangers, where you are all located in a designated area.
Why do you need to be reminded as to why you enjoy smoking? Because to quit means to give that enjoyment up. To quit means to acknowledge and find new ways to cope with a stressful situation, a social situation, or if you want a moment to yourself. Your reason, your joy from smoking might be entirely different than any I listed above. Trust me, ask yourself and be honest with yourself about why you enjoy smoking.
Here are somethings that might be helpful.
- Pick up a hand craft: knitting, or crocheting to replace a meditative movement with your hands.
Learn a simple yoga routine or meditative breathing exercises.
- Start taking walks. Go outside as you would to smoke, but don’t stop at the designated smoking area, start walking instead. Take a 5-10 minute walk.
- Pick up a hobby. You are going to discover you have 30-60 minutes or more a day, time you used to dedicate to smoking. Enjoy it!
Now for the other part of quitting smoking, the other uncomfortable truth that no one discusses. The first week to several months after you quit, you are likely going to feel sick. Once you are no longer damaging your body with smoke, the body will start the cleaning and healing process. For some it might be minor, for others they may feel like they have a horrible chest cold. You may be tired as your nervous system is used to responding to nicotine and needs to re-balance to not having that stimuli. Drinking water, green tea, taking your AM/PM vitamins and of course regular neurostructural adjustments will help manage the symptoms.
Non-smokers, if you read all this and think maybe smoking isn’t so bad. Trust me, this is not an experience you need to do. Refer to the link in the first paragraph.