The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is always on the list of most commonly made new year’s resolutions, and it’s one that, for many, is the most difficult of them all to keep. However, being forewarned is being forearmed, so if you’re planning on making 2022 the year that you finally kick the habit for good, here’s what you can expect and how you can improve your chances of success.

Physical Symptoms

Once you stub out your last cigarette, it won’t be long before, in all likelihood, you start to feel the physical effects of withdrawal. Nicotine is a drug and, like all other addictive drugs that have become a habit, can cause troublesome symptoms when it’s kicked for good.

Being mentally prepared for this can not only help strengthen your resolve but means that you can put in place measures to help alleviate any discomfort you do experience, significantly reducing the risk that you’ll reach for the cig packet again as a result.

The most common physical symptom experienced by those quitting cigarettes is strong cravings. Although these may be intense, they will usually pass quickly, so have distractions to hand ready for when a craving strikes that could undermine your determination.

Some people find that immediately stopping whatever they’re doing and switching to another activity is very helpful to ride out the urge, while others prefer to keep their mouths busy by chewing gum, for example. Getting out for some fresh air or exercise is another tactic, or employing some yoga or meditation breath-style techniques works for many others.

Weight Gain

Weight gain isn’t experienced by everyone who quits smoking, but it is relatively common. Many people find that they feel hungrier than usual once they give up cigarettes and are more prone to snacking. Prepare for this eventuality in advance by clearing out your cupboards of junk food and stocking up on some healthy alternatives. Batch cook a supply of healthy meals and put these pre-made portions in the freezer so that you have something nutritious to grab out when you need a quick meal dinner.

For more ideas on how to counter the possible weight gain that comes with quitting smoking, click now on this link; here you will find information on how putting together a healthy habits inventory, and prioritizing sleep, can help prevent you from gaining any extra pounds.

It’s important to remember that, even if you do gain a little bit of weight when you pack up the cigarettes, quitting smoking is the very best thing you can do to improve your overall health, and that some additional weight (that can be lost once you’ve comfortably completed your goal) is nowhere near as detrimental to your wellbeing as continuing to smoke would be. So be gentle with yourself.

Emotional Symptoms

The initial days and weeks after stubbing out the cigarettes for good may be very emotional ones with lots of ups and downs. Try to keep in mind that this stage is a temporary one and a normal part of the process and that it will pass, however difficult it may feel at the time.

For many people, keeping track of the health benefits and how quickly they manifest can be really helpful when emotions are running high. Within just six hours of giving up smoking, there are positive impacts on heart rate and blood pressure. The bloodstream becomes almost entirely free of nicotine at the end of twenty-four hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood will have dropped, and the heart will be receiving more oxygen.

Many people find that their sense of smell and taste improves within a week – and the benefits keep coming as the days and weeks tick by. Knowing that these things are happening in the body – and experiencing the positive impacts of them – can help manage the roller coaster of emotions of the first few days.

Helpful Strategies To Deal With Cravings

For many smokers, having a cigarette is associated with key moments throughout their day – such as waking up in the morning, during a break from work, or after a meal – and having strategies to hand to call on at these times can make a big difference to maintaining resolve.

If you always used to smoke while drinking tea or coffee, try having your drink at a different point in the day, or simply use another cup; tiny changes like this can help to subtly shift your mindset and remove the previous association of a morning cuppa with a cigarette.

If it was previously your habit to have a cigarette whilst working at your desk in your home office, change the layout of the room, redecorate, or try taking your laptop to work in the garden. Anything that breaks the link to it being an activity associated with smoking.

Most of all, be mindful that every single time you resist a craving is a triumph, and be kind to yourself throughout the process. Remind yourself that after six months without cigarettes, your immune system and circulation will have improved, your stress levels have dropped, and your lung function will be significantly increased – which is a great way to remain motivated.

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