At a time, when a virus is damaging the lungs and leading to death and despair, here are a few ways to quit tobacco/smoking in a natural way to lead a healthier life.
By Reya Mehrotra
The habit of smoking is linked to many diseases like diabetes, stroke and cancer, yet many continue smoking, often struggling to live without it. In 1987, World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day on May 31 to draw attention to the dangers of using tobacco. At a time, when a virus is damaging the lungs and leading to death and despair, here are a few ways to quit tobacco/smoking in a natural way to lead a healthier life.
Make up your mind
For tobacco users, the urge to smoke is very strong. So when one decides to quit, the first thing to do is to make up your mind and stick to it. A strong will goes a long way. Once decided, the mind will naturally work towards the goal. Remind yourself every morning that you are on your way to quit it and repeat positive affirmations like “I’m free of unhealthy habits”. The stronger the will, the easier it is to reach the goal. Do not change your decision and stand by it firmly.
Fix a date
Once the mind is made up to quit, the next step is to fix a date when you would get rid of the habit completely. For instance, a heavy smoker can fix a date two months away. Each day or within a gap of fixed days, reduce the count of cigarettes and, in the last week leading to the final day, keep the cigarette count minimal or zero. Setting a day for being completely free of the habit will help one gradually decrease smoking and reach the goal in an organised manner. It will also help the body adjust to the new normal.
When trying to quit, smokers often feel the urge to keep the mouth occupied. One can keep a bowl of salad ready to chew on. A plate full of carrots, beetroot, cucumber or fruits would help in avoiding the urge to smoke while also providing nutrition to the body. Sugarless chewing gums or nicotine gums can also be had to avoid the urge to smoke. Chewing cardamoms or fennel seeds also helps in battling the urge to smoke.
Build a support system around you instead of struggling on your own. One can use their family’s or friends’ support during this time. Constant reminders from them can lead to motivation and would help a person remain upbeat. It will also make sure that you don’t smoke again. If the addiction is severe, one must seek the help of a professional or support group to lead one in the right direction.
The urge to smoke often hits hard when under stress. Hence, when stressed, try natural calming techniques like deep breathing, massage, meditation, listening to calming music, sounds or closing the eyes for a few minutes. A walk amid nature also helps beat the urge. At this time, remind yourself of the benefits of giving up smoking and how it could harm your body if not given up.
It is important to celebrate small milestones in the journey towards de-addiction as this helps you see your success and how far you have come. From the day you start reducing the usage of cigarettes or tobacco, celebrate every 10 days. Reward yourself with comfort foods or any treat of your choice. It helps if friends and family are part of the celebration too.
Staying busy is very important to avoid any thoughts that could lead to the urge to smoke. Plan a daily routine that starts with a healthy breakfast, workout, meditation and then work. If unoccupied, busy yourself in tasks like reading, running up and down the stairs, gardening and so on, so that the urge to smoke can be avoided. Replace any free time of the day with something productive or take up a hobby to distract yourself. If at home in isolation, try cooking new dishes or watch motivational videos.
Don’t indulge the craving
One must also plan to avoid any triggers. For instance, if one smoked while reading the newspaper, try holding a pen instead in the hand and underline the important headlines. At times, one might be tempted to have just one cigarette in order to satisfy the craving, but beware as this could lead to many more till it becomes uncontrollable. One could also use the delay technique. If there’s an urge to smoke, delay it for 10 minutes, then another 15 minutes and so on till the urge fades away or one gets occupied with work.