Six million people will die before 2016 is over. Cancer.org reported that 30% of those numbers will be from cancer-related diseases. Scary, isn’t it? It’s especially horrifying if you’ve spent the last few years of your life smoking two packs a day, every day.
Heck, I used to smoke a pack a day – which isn’t as bad… if it weren’t for my mom smoking two packs a day while she carried me in her belly. I was born with asthma and a whole host of other trials. Heck, I didn’t even experience life until I was 2 – my first 2 years on Earth were inside various hospitals.
I’ve been smoking since I was born. So, yeah, quitting is hard. BUT, through trials and errors, and putting myself through sheer hell for the benefit of others, I’ve managed to cut back to six cigarettes a day. How? By rewiring the brain, which believes anything that makes you happy is good for you. The brain doesn’t understand good from bad. Prime example: alcohol.
One thing I actually cannot get rid of is the orgasmic joys of that first cigarette in the morning. You know what I’m talking about, right? (Yeah, you know.) This is because nicotine gives us a temporary (but addictive) high.
Here are several ways to curb that high.
1. Stand Up And Shout
The biggest way to make sure something never goes away, is to be silent about it. Bring the issue to light. Grow the proverbial balls and try to make a difference for yourself, and others suffering, by confiding in people. A research firm Stollznow did a study that found two thirds of people who talked to others about quitting, felt like smoking less.
2. Avoid Triggers
Avoiding triggers helps us to not destroy ourselves. One of my triggers is coffee – after a few cups of Joe, I’m fixing for a cigarette like homeless people need food. If we stay away from triggers, we’ll sidestep that gut instinct and unracking nerve to light up. Sometimes it’s as simple as returning your mind’s frequency. Other times, it means not going out with certain friends or colleagues.
Now, what I want you to do is this: throw out all your cigarette packs, ashtrays, lighters. Then wash your clothes; put them in bags, and wash them a bag at a time. Shampoo-clean your drapes, carpet, and steam your furniture clean. We want to exterminate the smell of smoke.
3. Cold Turkey
You may or may not have heard horror stories about the benefits of quitting cold turkey. The power of the mind’s will and human spirit is a tremendous feat, and no small matter. A number of people have pledged to themselves to quit, and they did. This flies smack in the face of “medical experts” who advise you to never go cold turkey. (Then again, if medical experts told you to down a mickey of Jack Daniels, in less than 5 minutes, would you?)
Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about you, and want you to quit smoking (and to live a happy, long life, hopefully) is key here. Warm friends. Good family. People who make you smile. There’s nothing like seeing the motivation reminders about why you’re doing something, each and every day.
4. Make A Journal
How much time have you put into a crave journal? In the same vein as budget tracking, in your crave journal you list all the times you wanted to smoke throughout the day; who you were with, where you were, what you were doing.
It’s as simple as being vigilant about note-keeping, and here’s why: At week’s end, you’re giving yourself a chance to see what fires off your triggers and makes you crave. Giving you a hands-on experience to see which people/places keep you from kicking the habit.
5. Why You’re A Fool For Smoking
For measuring our best chances to quit, it’s imperative we look at exactly why we smoke. You can’t put out a fire without knowing where it is. Otherwise, nothing will be done: smoking is water. So, what is the fire? For many people (myself included), smoking (whether it’s weed or cigs) is a way to deal with stress, loneliness, fear, and depression.
Many people don’t realize the full-on, real-life benefits of alternate lifestyle methods. Some of them were beaten over our head for years until they were accepted and validated: vipassana meditation, sensory relaxation strategies, and Buteyko exercises.
6. The Lazy Man’s 10-Minute Exercise
Medical experts try pounding into our brain (again and again) that just ten minutes of exercise can significantly help us out – smokers and non-alike. The benefits of exercise have been chewed to death by now, for good reason.
They found that brain activity changes, triggered by exercise, could help reduce cigarette cravings. Who’s getting hurt from exercising? I personally surrender my joints to a five minute daily round of jumping jacks, seal jacks, and “boxer hops”.
7. Nicorette Gum
I’ve used Nicorette gum now and then (as in, I bought 13 boxes at once and still have a hefty supply of gum), and can say it does work. For me, the nicotine is a lot more prominent in gum than in cigarettes which, believe it or not, has me smoking less. (Remember I used to smoke 2 packs a day.)
Some people say e-cigarettes filled with e-liquid can help wean smokers off tobacco, at little risk to their health. For others, both of those assertions are false.
You’ve heard of these – some people say e-cigarettes help wean smokers off tobacco, others say it doesn’t work at all. But the U.S. Surgeon General often cites the combustive chemicals in the cigarette, not the nicotine itself in cigarettes or the e-liquid in e-cigarettes, is responsible for a majority of smoking-related illnesses and diseases. (After all, do you know how many chemicals are in one cigarette?)
Other medically-proven (University of Geneva’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine) cigarette-stopping measures include inhalers, nasal spray, and lozenges.
9. How To Kill Withdrawal Symptoms
Everybody has them. A few commons ones are:
- Irritability: can last less than a month. Take hot baths, exercise, anything to use up that energy.
- Exhaustion: lasts less than a month. Take power naps. Weariness is nothing to take lightly.
- Hunger: lasts a few months or more. Water helps curb our appetite and replenishes our system.
- Anxiety: Anxiety, on all levels, is something that needs to be treated by a professional. To help until then, though: consider Buteyko breathing.
“There’s an app for that” is so funny because it’s true. Thankfully, there are several apps that can help you quit by putting you in touch with quitline coaches. For those times, you need someone to talk to, and it feels like there’s nobody out there who truly understands.
As you can see, quitting the cancer stick isn’t easy, but it is do-able. Just be sure to keep a few things in mind: you can do this. You can do this. You will do this. You must do this. For the safety of yourself, your children, and everyone who wants you in their lives.
Featured photo credit: comfreak via pixabay.com via pixabay.com