Blowing smoke rings into oblivion after a wholesome meal is one of the life’s little pleasures for smokers. But no matter how much gratification you derive from smoking, it is highly injurious for your health.
When everyone knows that smoking is injurious to your health, then why people cannot quit it? What makes kicking the butt so difficult? Let us know the main reasons that make smoking a difficult habit to break:
- Nicotine high:
Every time you smoke, your gets hit with nicotine rush. An average chain smoker gets about 250 such hits in the brain in a day. This makes it very hard to quit. On an average, only one in every ten smokers is able to kick this habit.
Nicotine in cigarettes creates neural pathways in your brain. These pathways trick your brain into feelings of ecstasy, improved memory and enhanced focus levels. When you do not smoke, these pathways are shut down and you start craving for the sense of euphoria again that comes from dopamine.
Nicotine craving is the highest when you wake up in the morning. Most people take a puff as soon as they wake up to get a shot of dopamine through smoking.
- Withdrawal reactions:
When a smoker is trying to quit the habit, many withdrawal reactions occur. Some of the common signs of nicotine withdrawal are:
-Feelings of restlessness
-Feeling irritable and edgy
-Sadness or feeling low
-Slow heart rate
-Brain fogging and difficulty in concentrating
-Sleeplessness or insomnia
Countering these withdrawal symptoms is a difficult task for the smoker. It needs a very strong will power, medical help and a lot of support from family and friends to go through this phase. Many relapse due to lack of a support system.
Now let us discover ways that make giving up the smoking habit much easier for you:
- Watch what you eat:
If you eat a chicken burger you are more likely to crave for a joint of smoke. Sumptuous non-veg meals make you enjoy smoking.
Eat a veggies burger instead. Vegetarian diet including fresh fruits and veggies will take away the zing of smoking and you will find your cigarette butt tasting like muck.
- Screen your drinks:
Tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, alcohol enhance the taste of smoking and make you crave for another puff of nicotine.
Switch to healthy drinks like fresh fruit juices, water, tomato juice, smoothies and soups. This will curb your impulse to smoke and keep you healthy.
- Improve your lung capacity:
Get some fresh air into your lungs through daily exercise. Even if you do some light stretches and walk for five to ten minutes in a day, it will bring in more oxygen to your lungs. This will curb craving for smoking.
- Get safe alternatives:
Smoking is a habit. It will take alternatives to break this habit. Chewing gum, lozenge or using nasal inhalers are some of the safe alternatives your doctor will recommend to use whenever the urge to smoke arises.
- Get a support group and psychotherapy:
Resolve to give up smoking is often challenged by severe urge to smoke. This may happen due to being in a smoking zone in a party, restaurant or flight, or come across a company of friends or colleagues who smoke. It is best to avoid such situations.
It is therefore crucial to get a support group, preferably of family and friends that help you stay positive every time you feel the tendency to take a puff or two. The mental and emotional support is important as it helps you maintain your focus on why you want to quit, perseverance and tenacity to give up smoking.
Psychotherapy may also be recommended by your doctor to deal with the emotional turbulence and feelings of sadness during the de-addiction phase.
Meeting with other ex-smokers who have refrained from smoking is another way to keep up your spirits during and after the de-addiction period.
- Meditation helps:
Practicing meditation and deep breathing exercises helps relieve withdrawal symptoms of smoking. It helps relax your mind and body and boosts your immunity. Deep breathing helps increase oxygenation and clears chest congestion commonly found in smokers.
Meditation and pranayama keep you in a positive state of mind and prevent you from feeling anxious, sad, depressed or aggressive. This is essential for completing and sustaining de-addiction phase.
Discover the Herbs that help prevent the urge to smoke!
In Ayurveda, there are certain herbs that help you curb the urge to smoke. They are effective, have no side effects and safe to use. On a precautionary basis, consult an ayurvedic specialist to find the right dosage for you according to your body constitution and specific symptoms.
There are easy home remedies you can apply during and after de-addiction program. They are as follows:
Raw: Peel and cut 100 grams ginger into very small pieces. Add lemon juice to these ginger pieces. Dry them in the sun for a couple of days. Keep them in your pocket in a pack. Whenever you feel nauseous or crave for a puff, simply suck a piece in your mouth. The craving and nausea will subside.
Juice: Mix ginger juice and amla juice in an equal ratio. Take 1 tablespoon of this mixture 3 to 4 times a day to clear the chest congestion due to smoking and to curb the desire to smoke again.
Raw: Eat raw radish sprinkled with lemon juice to clear away the bronchial congestion common in chronic smokers.
Juice: Mix radish juice and honey in 2:1 ratio. Take 1 tablespoon of this mixture twice a day to quit smoking.
Whenever you are craving for a puff of nicotine, just pop a stick of licorice in your mouth. Chew on the stick slowly and the urge for smoking will subside.
Mix cinnamon powder and honey in 3:1c ratio. Take half a teaspoon twice in a day to clear your lungs from mucus. Mucus deposition makes breathing difficult, creates anxiety and makes sleeping difficult. By clearing it away these symptoms are treated and urge to smoke is reduced.
- Cayenne pepper:
Add 2-3 pinches of cayenne pepper in a glass of water. Drink it daily to reduce the craving for smoking.
Peppermint has menthol content that helps alleviate craving for smoking. You can take it in the form of peppermint tea, gum or inhaler. It even treats an upset stomach that happens due to nicotine withdrawal.
- Holy basil:
Take the extract of Holy basil leaves with some honey daily to curb nausea and urge for smoking.
Use these easy herbal remedies to keep the craving for a puff at bay. However ask your doctor before taking these herbs to ensure the right dosage and to prevent interference with other medication.
It is possible to get free from the clutches of smoking that does nothing but harm your body. Make up your mind to quit smoking and diligently follow a de-addiction regimen.
Kick the cigarette butt and say yes to life!