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The Natural Path to Smoking Cessation

Planning and preparing flows into many aspects of our lives. Learn some natural ways to kick your smoking habit to the curb.

Planning and preparing flows into many aspects of our lives. We plan and prepare our daily schedules, budgets, our grocery lists, and our emergency plans.

Planning and preparing is also a way to be mindful of our life, as well as, prepare your mind, body and soul to break bad habits. I have found that when you have a plan, it’s easier to stick with changing the habit that needs to be changed.

I recently came across an article about a man who quit smoking by using yoga. He notes that, “Beyond the litany of detrimental health effects, cigarettes have a way of taking over one’s life.  As any smoker will know, whether or not he or she chooses to admit it, nicotine cravings can shape ones schedule, work, relationships, and daily habits. Give cigarettes a chance and they will own you. Consider yourself warned.”

Make the Choice To Not Be Shackled to Your Habit

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet, more chemically addictive than heroin, alcohol, cocaine, or caffeine. While nicotine—the primary addictive ingredient in cigarettes— is cleared from your body quickly (about 24 hours), the 7,000 other chemicals found in cigarette smoke can make the detoxification timeline more complicated.

Many feel shackled to smoking. They know it is bad for them and are well aware of the long term damage that it creates on the body, but the habit seems to overpower us and kicking the habit to the curb is difficult. It is said that the average smoker will try and fail to quit smoking seven times before they finally succeed. Perhaps the reason they continue to fail is because they have not created a well laid out cessation plan.

It’s All Mental

On average, it takes two weeks to break the mental connection with a habit and 10 weeks to build a good habit in its place. As humans, we typically resist change every step of the way and have to force ourselves into new behavior patterns. And all the while, your brain is acting like a like a child relentlessly wanting something and not stopping until it gets what it wants. The way to break bad habits, is to trick the mind into overcoming the psychological cravings.

You should know ahead of time what you are facing when you initially decide to quit smoking. Heath Dingwell, PhD, author of 12 Things to Do to Quit Smoking states, “The physical withdrawal, for most people, lasts from a few days to a maybe a week. After that, it’s the psychological withdrawal that people have the most difficulty with.” Forcing the mind to break the connection of needing a cigarette will be your biggest challenge which only reinforces the importance of planning and preparing.

1. Have a Cessation Plan

This is where our prepper mindset comes in handy. Make a plan and prepare to stop smoking and stick with it. If you make a daily plan listing out your daily activities, you are more likely to stick to the plan. Finding and scheduling new activities to substitute for the time you usually smoke will help fill your day and keep your mind off of wanting a cigarette.

  • If you smoke after lunch each day, take that time and walk around for 15 minutes or find a quiet place to read or meditate.
  • Instead of sitting outside smoking, make a list of all the housework and chores you need to do and start doing one each time you want to smoke. You’d be amazed at house proactive you become after you smoke.
  • If you typically smoke in your car while driving, remove all lighters and listen to relaxing music to help you through the smoking trigger.
  • Some people have had great success with limiting their daily cigarette intake until they are only at 1 or 2 per day. This makes it much easier to quit the habit.

2. Keep Progress in Mind

The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can be daunting. Prepare for them using natural alternatives listed below. Further, charting your progress with this cessation timeline can help you move further toward your goal. This timeline can help you make smaller and more achievable goals to reach and progress you along. Further, knowing your triggers and learning how to mentally get past them will also help you prepare for it.

3. Breathe Through the  Craving

Smoking cigarettes mimics deep breathing. Rather than inhaling carbon monoxide and dangerous chemicals, sit alone and breathe through the craving. This form of meditation is very therapeutic and can be used as a way to naturally break the habit of smoking and help you relax. YouTube has many 5-10 minute meditation videos you can listen to. Have them ready on your computer so all you have to do is hit play. 

As previously mentioned, in the article about the author who used yoga as a way to quit smoking, he remarks that, “Yoga, as it tends to be, was the catalyst for change. In spite of the smoking, my body responded quickly to the physical practice. I grew strong and vibrant. I learned to love and honor my physical body… but I also learned that my body is not me. I am not the body, and though the body suffered less as a result of the practice, the state of my mind, skewed as it was, became more and more apparent. ” Simple yoga movements can help relax you, build your muscles and keep you busy so that you move past your smoking craving. Again, YouTube is an excellent source of yoga videos you can try.

4. Find Natural Alternatives

Find positive habits to replace the bad habit. Go on a walk, exercise, cook, or call a friend. Moreover, using natural alternatives as a way keep the cravings at bay will you in your path toward a healthier self.

  • One way that to resist the temptation of smoking is to do a steam inhalation. Rather than filling your lungs with harmful smoke, fill it with warm and healing vapor. A few drops of peppermint essential oils added to warm water will help to clean and heal the lungs. This will also break up any mucus in the lungs as well. Taking a hot shower can also be beneficial. Moreover, you are less likely to smoke after you are showered and clean. Afterall, no one wants to smell like stale cigarette smoke.
  • Flush out your system. Drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day helps the kidneys flush out the toxins from cigarettes and also aids in the healing process. Fresh juices can also help the body rid itself of harmful radicals. This juice recipe is great one to start with.
  • Herbal supplements can also be helpful in expediting the cessation process. Herbal supplements such as lobelia, ginseng, and St. John’s Wort may have some positive potential.
  • Take your vitamins! Smoking can deplete certain vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C.  Taking a multivitamin replenishes those lost from smoking.
  • Exercising also helps the body remove toxins built up in the body through the sweat glands. This is also a great way to replace the harmful habit with a healthy one.
  • Drinking herbal teas can also aid the body. Green tea, for example, is an antioxidant that helps to fix damage caused by free radicals. Peppermint tea is also a soothing tea to drink. The steam can also help open up the lungs and heal them. There are many herbal teas to choose from and some specifically used for detoxing the body. Do some research on your own to find which one is best for you.
  • Eat foods that improve the health of your lungs. Certain foods can help improve your health and detox the body at the same time. According to the author of What To Do After You Quit Smoking, “Grapes, almonds, olives, water chestnuts and apricots are all considered ‘lung friendly’ foods.” Further foods that are chlorophyll-rich food such as spinach, spirulina, and chlorella, will play an important role in cleansing your lungs, as well. Here are 12 foods that can be added to your diet to help detox.

You Can Do This!

We all have our demons we have to fight with daily. That said, there are natural ways to finally kick the habit and be more healthy in the process. Having a plan in place and the informative tools to keep us on the right path will help you to stay healthy. Refer to the listed tips when you takes those first steps in smoking cessation. Remember that having control over your mind is the first step in kicking this habit for good. You can do this! When in doubt, use this as a mantra to repeat until the temptation is gone. Those of you who have stopped smoking, feel free to leave a comment on how you were able to quit, or provide some helpful advice.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on June 15th, 2014

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