Quit Smoking 101: A Long Road to Recovery

Do you lead a pretty healthy life, but struggled to quit smoking?

This was my issue. I changed my eating habits, gave up alcohol, started intermittent fasting and dedicated myself to practising Mysore Ashtanga Yoga 5/6 mornings a week.

I was getting up early, going to bed early, dodging nights out to be a good dedicated yogi, yet I was still struggling to kick the cigarette habit. I could go one or two days without one, then would find myself having sneaky cigarettes again.

I was feeling disappointed in myself, it was the only vice really left to kick. I was unhappy with myself, I didn’t enjoy smoking anymore or the anxious feeling I would get after having a cigarette. However, nicotine still had a hold over me.

This is when I decided that I would go for it  and not be a slave to my cravings anymore.

‘Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it 1,000 times…’

– Mark Twain

I find this quote both funny and very relatable, as I think many smokers want to quit and have attempted it 1,000’s of times! I know I have…

The longest I went without a cigarette was 2 months. It was in my early 20’s when I had a really bad virus. I also went 1 month without smoking in Rishikesh, Northern India.

Now I am determined to call myself an ex-smoker; it’s been quite a while since my last cigarette. My mindset has totally changed. I feel that I have re-programmed my mind and body through:

  • Regular meditation
  • Devotion to Ashtanga yoga
  • Focusing on nutrition
  • Being aware to avoid ‘triggers

I think this time I have managed to kick the habit for good.

Would you like to quit smoking? Here are some pointers that I followed when quitting once and for all…

– Cravings –

There is lots of evidence that cravings only last for three minutes. Once I learnt this, it made it so much easier to ride out the hellish nicotine storm.

– A Reason to Quit Smoking –

Find a reason to give up smoking that is greater than your desire to smoke.

For me, its being dedicated to Yoga practice, because I don’t want to waste money on something that is making me age and making me unhealthy anymore and wanting to do it for family reasons also.

Find a reason that outweighs the reasons you want to smoke. Make a list and keep it around so you can look at it when times get tough.

– Avoid Triggers –

What situations will trigger you to smoke? Know your triggers (what makes you want to smoke) and avoid them as much as possible. Certain bars, clubs, parties, social situations, daily habits, smells and even coffee can trigger cravings.

Friends smoking and drinking can also trigger cravings. If you are aware of these, you can plan ways to avoid these situations whilst you focus on quitting.

– Take Yourself Out of Situations –

Sometimes we might get caught off guard and find ourselves in a situation that triggers a smoking craving. These can include a stressful situation, meeting a friend in a Bar where lots of people are smoking, there could be lots of reasons!

The best thing you can do is to take yourself out of this situation. Don’t allow yourself to relapse.

– Drink water –

Always carry a bottle of water with you. When you feel the need to smoke, drink water! It really helps calm the mind, then remove yourself from the situation.

– Dispose of All Cigarettes & Lighters –

If you don’t have them, you cannot be tempted to have ‘just one more’ when you have cravings.

– Give up Alcohol For a While? –

For me and many others, alcohol and cigarettes go hand in hand.

Many cannot drink without smoking. A lot of people have this experience, so decide to give up alcohol at the same time. If you research the benefits of giving up alcohol, it’s not all bad whilst quitting. Many people I know who quit introduced alcohol back into their lives later and remained smoke free.

– Focus on fitness and nutrition –

If you are exercising, it releases endorphins and other feel good hormones that help you relax meaning you’re less likely to smoke. Also, eating healthy and avoiding coffee, alcohol and other things likely to trigger you means you stand a better chance of quitting for good.

We literally are what we eat, our bodies use vitamins, minerals , proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds from our food to literally re-build our bodies from a cellular level. What we eat is super important for our health, emotional and physical. When we eat healthily, we have a tendency not to want to un-do the hard work. This can be a good tool in quitting smoking.

– Research the Damage Smoking Does to Your Mind & Body –

You do a google search to research what happens to you  what happens to your mind and body when you smoke. It does lots of damage, from changing your brain chemistry with nicotine receptors, to damaging the function of your lungs and poisoning yourself with carbon monoxide so your muscles and organs don’t function as well. There is also a whole host of other effects.

When you reaslise how detrimental smoking is to your health, then it will help you with quitting.

Did you know that one cigarette causes 10,000 DNA mutations in the body? Wow! Scary, huh?

Heres a good article on the effects of smoking on the body to get you started.

– Research What Happens When You Quit Smoking –

There are some amazing health benefits that happen 20 minutes after giving up, an hour, a day, 4 days, 10 days, 2 weeks, a month, etc. Its really interesting to research how your body starts to heal itself and will help spur you on.

Heres a good article to read on the topic. ‘The bodys ability to heal is a beauty to behold!’

– Tell Friends & Family –

The more people you tell, the larger support network you will have. Its good to have people to talk to when its rough, or people around to high-five when its going well.

– Try Sleep Hypnosis & Guided Meditations –

Sleep hypnosis and guided meditations really help to focus the mind and re-program the subconscious. I really recommend short guided meditations during the day and sleep hypnosis when going to bed.

You don’t need to pay for this, you can do them for free through YouTube and they are really effective!

Here are some links to Michael Sealeys short guided meditation and longer sleep hypnosis for reprogramming to stop by Thomas Hall. Really useful.

– Don’t be Too Tough on Yourself –

If you do cave in and have a cigarette, it isn’t the end of the world. You can always start again, remember the Mark Twain quote – Quitting smokings easy, I’ve done it a thousand times!

It’s definitely a journey… I love this video by Dr. Mike Evans…

What are your experiences with quitting smoking? Any other tips or pointers to quit holistically?

I’d love to hear from you!

Peace and Love… Aimee Lou 🙂

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