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The Natural Path to Smoking Cessation

[1]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 [2] 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.

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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 [4] 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

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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.

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 [6] 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

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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.

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.