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I remember how tough I found quitting when I was a regular smoker. Resisting those craving pangs was tough, but what was tougher was to make my mind believe (on a consistent basis) that cigarettes were not my friend, and they did not do anything for me except spoiling my health. The road is slippery, and while on my way out, there were several moments where my mind and my body created enough temptations to stay stuck in the prison called nicotine addiction.
One thing that helped me stay strong was the realization that successfully conquering a mountain like addiction would not just be good for my health, but also help me imbibe qualities that will strengthen my character. Here are a few things that I feel quitting smoking has taught me.
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who is a smoker. I told him, Quitting smoking is not that tough. You just have to grit it out for 12 days. I know 12 days feels like a long time.. He cut me short and said with a laugh, It feels like a lifetime!
Certainly, time is relative. While years in college pass away in no time because it is fun, a few minutes spent on a dentist s chair feels like an eternity because it is inconvenient.
12 days may seem incredibly tough. In fact, after the first strong craving hits you, even 2 hours without cigarettes seems tough because you want it so bad. Not giving in requires grit, and vast resources of it. If you can not give in to a tobacco craving, you ll not give in to many major problematic situations in your life. At least, that is what I believe. Here are 9 things that helped me stay away from smoking, for good.
One of the tricks that I learned midway through my journey towards quitting smoking, was to be mindful of the present. I didn t try to fight the cravings or wish that they weren t there, but simply accepted them as what they were a mild niggling sensation in the mouth and in the head, which made performing simple tasks difficult. Thinking like this, might seem difficult during the first few days, because those sensations aren t mild at all, but it certainly helped me tide over the time after immediate results were achieved. In such moments, I did not think that I would be free in 3 months or that I had done really well to come this far, etc. I simply sat still and appreciated whatever I had been lucky to get in life, and felt those pangs as my body s way of healing itself.
Life certainly doesn t seem pleasant when you are quitting. As smokers, we develop a relationship with cigarettes. They kept us company in our tough times, and the rituals helped punctuate our day. Quitting thus feels like a bad breakup, and the temptation to resume the relationship is intense. I was desperate to find happiness in some way to help me tide over this time, and being grateful for little things like being able to afford good food, having a nice house with air conditioner, not having the responsibility of feeding mouths, being young, etc. I used to often take these privileges for granted, and just be unhappy and sad about whatever problem I could find in my life.
While quitting smoking in itself boosted my health levels astronomically, the experience of quitting also made me appreciate the many joys of living well. My breathing improved, food started to taste much better, etc. All these benefits made me quit other unhealthy habits like sleeping late into the night, eating too much sugar and prompted me to pick up healthy habits like drinking green tea, eating fruits and exercising. Read about what happened to me after smoking a cigarette after several days of staying quit.
Sameer Jha was a regular smoker for five years and would smoke 10-20 cigarettes a day. He was extremely addicted and struggled to go an hour without a cigarette, let alone a day and believed that only death could make him quit smoking. In a series of posts, he shares his experience about how he was able to silence the beast that nicotine addiction is.
Image source: Getty Images
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