When you stop smoking, you may have no idea what else to do during those moments you used to smoke. The things you come up with may not really 'do the trick' at first. Finding new emotional coping tools and behaviors can be challenging. The newly-quit often feel lost. Rest assured, most every smoker goes through this during their quit! Allow yourself a month or so to get to the 'feeling better' part. To help you navigate the beginning phase of your quit process, give these 3 tips a try:
1. Get To Know Yourself
What interests you? Motivates you? Inspires you? What do you find relaxing, rewarding or fun? Identify new meaningful activities, effective emotional coping tools and daily routines that really appeal to You. This is your quit, so get involved!
2. Plan For Success
Planning ahead for your personal triggers will ensure you make it to the other side successfully! Identify your top 2 smoking triggers, and that is where you'll want to put your time, energy and focus during the next month. Make a plan. What are some things you can do instead of smoke whenever you encounter a trigger? Could you take a walk, call a friend, listen to music, write in your journal, repeat a mantra or wash the car? What has worked for you before? What else can you try? Where will you go to enjoy yourself that is smoke free & supports your quit? How will you handle anger, stress or boredom? Know your triggers and have a clear plan of action for each and every one of them.
3. Smoking Is Not An Option
If you do not smoke today, you will never smoke again! The new you does not reach for a cigarette, no matter what happens, no matter how you feel. Smoking is not an option, so always ask yourself, "What is an option?" "What can I do?". It is in that moment of choosing something else that you will find the very answers that work perfectly for you. You will also reinforce your identity as a nonsmoker, increase your self confidence and strengthen your quit resolve. N.O.P.E. - Not One Puff Ever!
It takes more than just not smoking to become a nonsmoker! It takes ongoing, daily effort and practice. Try these 3 tips so you can work your quit effectively, make healthy lifestyle changes and gain long term quit success!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki C. CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Remember; you can quit smoking for good, and QuitNet is here to help:
Quitting smoking isn't easy, and at times your motivation can begin to lose steam. To ensure success you will need to power up your desire to stay quit.
REASONS FOR QUITTING
One way to boost your motivation is to review all the reasons you wanted to quit in the first place. Are those reasons and motivating factors still important to you? If not, then reevaluate and come up with a new list of valid reasons to quit smoking. Keep in mind that the more reasons you find to motivate yourself in favor of quitting the more likely you are to stay quit.
Make your reasons personal and specific. For example, instead of saying 'To feel healthier' you might say 'So I don't feel out of breath when I play with my children.' Think about the personal costs of smoking for you and those you love. Being a good role model and protecting your family from second hand smoke may pull at your heart strings. Imagine yourself five or ten years down the road if you quit; picture that same time period continuing to smoke and what do you see? Think about the consequences of continued smoking. Where do you want to be? Perhaps you are upset with the control cigarettes have over your life and you want to be free of the addiction. You can't leave out the spiraling cost of cigarettes today, either. With the money saved by not smoking, you could take a trip or pay a bill.
BENEFITS OF QUITTING
Acknowledging the short and long term benefits you receive from quitting smoking, and reframing your thinking to focus on the positive aspects of quitting, will help get you out of a motivational slump. Smoking is detrimental to every organ in your body. Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your overall health. Within minutes of your last cigarette your body begins to heal itself. In the first twenty minutes your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. There are other immediate benefits you become aware of right away, like fresher breath and clean smelling hair. The benefits of quitting get even better over time. Soon you may notice that your morning cough has disappeared, you can walk up the stairs and you are not out of breath, and the food you prepare smells and tastes good. Quitting helps improve self image and self esteem. You conquer an addiction, set a good example and take back control of your life. Your risks for smoking-related diseases decline and you get a chance to live a longer life. Focusing on the positive benefits of quitting will improve your motivation to move forward.
The more people you have cheering you on the better. This is especially helpful when you are going through a tough time and experiencing a lapse in motivation. Words of encouragement can spur you on and help you keep the focus on the positive. Involve yourself with others who are trying to quit smoking or have already quit. Most quitters have experienced dips in motivation; you can learn from them by listening to their stories. A great source of support can be found here on QuitNet, in the forums, clubs and chat. It's also important that you support yourself by recognizing your own quitting progress and the lifestyle changes you made to get to this point. Celebrate your quit milestones and reward yourself by buying something enjoyable with the money you have saved not smoking. Gathering support from others and acknowledging your quit success keeps you motivated and moving forward.
Keep Going and KTQ!
Quit With Us!
Quitting smoking is difficult, especially in the first few days. Physical and psychological withdrawals hit hard at this time and cravings and urges to smoke are strong. When a craving to smoke occurs, action needs to be taken. The choices are endless, but here are three of the best tried and true crave busters.
Drinking water is a great crave buster. Hand-to-mouth is a habit that's hard to break and water is a good choice for an oral substitute. Not only does water give you something to do with your hands, it’s also filling, reduces your appetite and has zero calories. Water is not a beverage that is usually associated with smoking, so it will unlikely trigger the same response as a cup of coffee or a beer. Staying well-hydrated is important in keeping your body healthy. Water removes the toxins from your body and helps with the healing process after quitting smoking. Reaching for that glass of water to quell a craving will help prevent constipation, which at times accompanies quitting smoking. If you don’t like the taste of water, try jazzing it up with a slice of lemon, lime, fresh fruit. When a craving to smoke hits, drink up and enjoy the benefits water offers.
Cravings to smoke often pop up when feeling stressed. Life stressors run the gamut, from issues with family, finance and health to the daily annoyances of traffic jams and waiting in grocery store lines. In the past, smoking may have been how you handled the stress in your life. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to manage cravings to smoke and stress. Now you can take a deep breath without inhaling the poisons in cigarette smoke. As you deep breathe, visualize yourself in a peaceful, soothing place where you can totally relax, escaping for a few moments. Repeating a personal slogan to yourself ‘Smoking is not an option’ while taking the deep breaths will reaffirm your decision to quit.
Take some time to practice deep breathing exercises. Begin deep breathing from the diaphragm, rather than the chest, by getting comfortable lying on the bed, floor or reclining in a chair. Begin by placing a hand on your stomach and breathing in slowly, through the nose while mentally counting to five. When you are inhaling picture the air going down into your stomach until it’s totally inhaled (you should feel your stomach rise up where your hand is placed). Now slowly exhale through your mouth for the count of five and picture the air emptying out of your stomach until it’s totally expelled (you should feel your hand on your stomach go down). Repeat this ten times during practice and you should feel stress and anxiety symptoms decrease. Taking a deep breath to get you through a craving will get you to the other side more relaxed.
Getting physical and moving helps distract from the cravings to smoke and reduces the intensity of the cravings. Quick and easy exercises that you can do in spurts when a craving appears work well. Knee bends, lunges, going up and down the stairs, or sitting in a chair alternately relaxing and tensing your muscles are exercise that can be done at home or work when time and space is limited. Even just getting up and walking around for a few minutes will help. Choose an activity you will enjoy, whether it be yoga, dancing, biking or swimming -- any activity that has you moving will do. Both high and low impact exercises increase your endorphin levels, which makes you feel good, more alert and energized. Physical activity helps reduce stress and tension. Not only does exercise help you deal with the physical and psychological cravings of nicotine addiction, but it’s also a major player in managing the weight gain associated with quitting smoking. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program if you have a sedentary lifestyle or any medical problems. Daily exercise will improve your mood, lung function and stamina. Using exercise to handle your cravings to smoke will keep you fit and healthy.
Keep Going and KTQ!
Quit with us!
What happened? You were doing so well, pleased with the way your quit was going and then the next thing you know you’ve slipped. A relapse back to smoking is in the making. Now you’re feeling guilty, self critical and down right depressed; saying “It’s not a good time”, “I’m not ready yet”, “I’ve already smoked, so another one won’t make a difference.” Sound familiar? Slips and relapses are common in the quitting process. In fact, most smokers attempt quitting many times before being successful. Quitting smoking is a learning process and rarely a one-shot done deal. So, how do you recover and get back on track?
When a slip up occurs (slip = a puff or a couple of cigarettes) the best response is to stop smoking right away. Toss any cigarettes you may have on hand to remove any temptations to light up. A slip doesn’t mean you are a failure, so don’t use it as an excuse to pick up another cigarette! Try to figure out what made you slip up so you can handle it differently next time. Re-commit to quitting by thinking about all the reasons you quit in the first place. Have your reasons matter and motivate you enough to make quitting smoking the number one priority in your life right now. Focus on all the health benefits you enjoy now and in the future by not smoking. You’ll need to keep the big picture in mind. Gather support from your family, friends and the QuitNet community. View your slip as a loss in footing that can easily be regained by immediately picking yourself up and refocusing on your quit.
A relapse (relapse = go back to your "old ways" of smoking) is a wake up call that you are losing control of your quit. It’s time to limit the damage, get rid of the smokes, reassess your quit plan and get back in the game. View your relapse as a teaching tool in quitting successfully. What triggering event or situation made you reach for the cigarette? What quitting strategy could you have used instead? Are you complying with quit treatment recommendations? Have the motivating reasons you wanted to stop smoking changed? Did you reach out for support? Take the time to figure out what went wrong so you can fix it and move forward. Don’t allow self-pity or self-blame to enter the picture. Commend yourself for trying to quit! Every attempt to quit moves you closer to your success.
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
Next week: Preventing A Relapse
Welcome to this week's installment of QMember Stories, featuring Froglady - who just celebrated a 14 year quit she started at the Q in 1999!
"I smoked at least two packs plus a day for more than 42 years. I tried to quit smoking many, many, many times. But once I joined QuitNet I was successful the very first time, and knew that I had found my forever quit!
"The worst part about my smoking was that 99% of my friends and relatives did not smoke; how they tolerated me I will never know. But, the main reason (other than #1, health concerns) I quit is that I had just bought a brand new silver convertible sports car (little old lady trying to hold on to her youth!) and I vowed that I would never stink it up with foul smoke!
"When I decided to stop smoking I went online looking for a support group, and on July 1, 1999 I found QuitNet. I had never belonged to an online group before so my first stop was the chat room. I was actually still smoking at that time and I was amazed at the warm welcome I received. From that moment on I knew that I had found a new addiction to replace my smoking .... QuitNet. With the help and support of my new found friends, I set a quit date of July 26, 1999, and it has now been 14 over years for me without a single puff!
"I quit using Wellbutrin and the nicotine patch. I had never tried NRTs before and I think that is what made the difference. Some people are against NRTs, but I say do whatever works for you.
"Today, I have freedom, freedom, freedom from being tied to the end of a cigarette! But, the MOST significant change in my life was being invited to visit my brother and sister in law in San Francisco. Because I live in Miami , we didn't get to see each other very often, and while it was never discussed, I knew that I was not invited to visit because I was a smoker. When I quit, I got my first invitation in more than 30 years, became a frequent visitor, and had some wonderful times that I would not have had experienced otherwise if I were still smoking.
"Unfortunately, my brother, who was 7 years my junior and not a smoker, died very suddenly of a heart attack in November, 2010. I never expected that I would outlive him. This is another reason why I am so grateful to QuitNet -- for making it possible to spend so much more special time with him that I otherwise would have missed if I had continued to smoke. My trip to the West Coast for the funeral was surreal and I was in a complete daze, but it wasn't until I arrived home that I realized I had not thought once about having a cigarette. At that point, I knew that I would never go back to smoking again NO MATTER WHAT, and that I was done with cigarettes forever.
"Without a doubt, the most interesting and memorable experiences I have had on the Q was the chance to attend two QuitNet 3D Meets - one in Chicago in 2007 and the other in Seattle in 2008. I met over 100 Q members in person! Real people, and most of them just as nice and caring in person as they were online! I can also remember my worst experience as a smoker -- when I had just started a new job and one of the benefits was a company car......that I promptly set on fire when I threw a cigarette out of the window and it blew back in and landed in the back seat. And, no, I wasn't fired! (pun intended)
"I suggest you use the tools offered to you. For me, the chat room was a place where I literally lived for the first few months of my quit. By using the Forums and reading, reading, reading, I gained invaluable information from people who had already been through the quitting process and applied their advice and experience to my own quit.
"My most valuable piece of advice to others trying to quit smoking? I would say never give up! Anyone can quit if they sincerely want to, and if they commit themselves 100% to reaching that goal. 'There is no can't, only won't.'"
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
Sheila, the Frog Princess (j/k!).
This week, let’s take the new coping tools you identified from last week’s blog and apply them to your quit process. What did you come up with in response to the questions? Here they are again, with a few answers listed by other quitters:
- How will you relax? (take a bath, write in my journal, have a cup of tea, play with my children)
- How will you reward and celebrate? (visit with friends, go shopping, go out to eat, go to a movie, save up for a special purchase)
- How will you process feelings of anger? (talk it out, relax, let it go, handle things better next time)
- How will you deal with anxiety? (keep things in perspective, relax, let go, take a walk, take a both, read a book)
- How will you cope with stress? (deep breathing, repeat my mantra, relax, reward, exercise, talk about it, let it go)
- How will you overcome sadness, loneliness or depression? (reach out, exercise, write in journal, call a friend, spend time with my dog)
- Who will comfort you and help you get you through a bad day? (friends, family, QBuddy, coworker, husband, wife)
Once you have your own list of coping tools, it is time to identify your biggest trigger challenges. When are you most likely to struggle with your quit? Are mornings hardest? How about driving, at work, weekends or when company comes by? Knowing when you are most likely to be tested allows you to come up with a plan of action for that specific situation. Take charge of your triggers! For example, make driving less stressful by leaving earlier. Close your door at work and refuse interruptions during a project. Have an enjoyable activity planned for a weekend reward. Have an area designated outside for smoking visitors and so forth. Plan ahead as much as you can. Use your list of emotional coping tools before you get stressed, angry, sad, overwhelmed or tempted!
By managing your trigger situations and emotions, you will feel centered during day to day experiences. This ensures you can keep your quit going strong. When you cope effectively, you feel more in control of your environment and relapse is less likely to occur. This is all part of a successful quit. By actively meeting your emotional needs, you will do away with thoughts of smoking and feel less stress, anger or frustration. The more you practice your new behaviors, the easier it will be to work through old smoking triggers.
When you find yourself in a tough trigger moment; Stop. Just stop everything and acknowledge what you are feeling. Next, identify what triggered your feelings. You are quit, you wish to remain quit and smoking is not an option. Breathe in deeply, pause and exhale slowly. Repeat a mantra if you like, and relax a bit so you can move forward. Now review your options!
Once you know what you are feeling (EX: stress) and know what triggered it (EX: fighting kids) then you can use your list of coping tools for stress plus your comfort sources for bad days plus your coping tools for anxiety and relaxation. Now you feel less stressed, the urge to smoke has passed and you can move forward with a family discussion.
As you work your way through your quit process, you'll learn some things about yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey as your nonsmoking life unfolds!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki Chavez CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Welcome to QMember Stories, featuring Sindie033013 - who celebrates nearly a three month quit!
"I started smoking when I was 13 years old. I remember living in Dunlap, IL, and going out into the woods behind my house and trying a cigarette. Then we would go out behind the bus barn after school and smoke. Both of my parents smoked back then, so I guess it seemed like the thing to do to become an adult.
"We moved to California when I started High school and that’s when I really started smoking regularly. I would swipe Salems from my mom’s closet and smoke away. There was a smoking section at the high school, so it was pretty much accepted in those days.
"There are so many things I dislike about smoking. The worst thing has been the isolation. My addiction to cigarettes has slowly isolated me from people. I live in California where NOBODY smokes, and smokers are very frequently looked down upon. I have rebelled against that thinking for a very long time, but I now see that I was only hurting myself and isolating myself from other people.
"This time I stopped smoking on 3/30/13. I wanted to stop on or near my birthday…and I did, so I am very happy about that. I am using NRT in the form of the nicotine patch. I used this before in a former quit when I stopped for 6 months. I know that it will work for me as long as I stick with it.
"I went searching online for a stop smoking support group and found QuitNet. I am very grateful to have found it. It is a big part of my Recovery Plan. I Joined on my Quit Date, 3/30/13. Going to the Newcomers chat room during Hell Week (week one) was a life saver. I would like to help others by going there when I am more confident in my own quit.
"This is the 4th time (I think) that I have stopped smoking. Each time I have stopped in the past I have learned something. I know now that I CANNOT have just one cigarette. That I CANNOT go Off the Patch too soon; I must give myself enough time. And, just for me, that I CANNOT take anti-depressants as they increased my anxiety the last time to an unbearable point.
"In addition to NRT in the form of the patch, I've used Alan Carr’s Stop Smoking the Easy Way for Women, QuitNet Support, free youtube Stop Smoking Hypnosis, having an actual Quit-Buddy (a very good friend of mine), “smoking” cut off straws in my car and whenever else I feel the urge, being more active, making plans to become a runner, and taking the Daily Pledge every Day at QuitNet.
"My main inspiration for stopping at this time is an upcoming trip to Ireland. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit but this is the first time I will be traveling solo with a group of new people. I decided I did not want to be smoking and isolating myself during this adventure. I hope that when I return from my trip I will find the motivation to remain smoke free.
"I am feeling so much better already. I had a terrible cough that would not go away. I’ve had it well over a year and would not go to the doctor for it. It is nearly gone now. I keep thinking I may have dodged a bullet and it really could be the very next cigarette that I smoked that would turn that cough into lung cancer. I want to stay alive … to see my son finish college…and to enjoy my future grandchildren.
"Also, I have overcome some life events in recent years and I have finally found a deeper strength within. I believe that I am finally ready to truly stop
and to be able to handle the uncomfortableness of quitting.
"My advice to newcomers? If you decide that you are going to quit, do not let anything stop you. Use each and every resource available to you, and Protect your quit at all costs. Recognize that you are an addict and that you are entering a period of recovery. Be good to yourself…and reach out for support from others…it helps a GREAT deal."
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
"P.S. I am thrilled to let you know that I have returned from my trip to Ireland and survived entirely smoke free!! What an amazing experience!" :)
Living with another smoker is one of the toughest challenges the newly quit can face. And if that 'other smoker' happens to be your significant other, you might agree the situation warrants a closer look! Let's say you are at the point where you've decided it's time to quit for You - your health, your life, your success and your future. You are finally ready to own your quit and own your daily choices. You're committed to keeping your precious quit no matter who you work with, who you live with and no matter what they say or do. Congrats ~ you have the motivation and winning attitude for a successful quit!
It helps to understand the potential roadblocks on your home front so you can navigate the murky waters ahead. You will want to keep your quit and your relationship intact. Since you'll also want support, encouragement and a little help, let's take a look at that smoker in your life! Did you know they have an emotional and habitual attachment to your smoking habit, as well as their own? This is perfectly normal. When you decide to quit smoking, their life will change, too. Here are some common thoughts, emotions and fears that the smoker in your life might subconsciously go through when you announce you are quitting smoking:
- You're changing and I don't like it. (Will you still like me/want me?)
- Change is uncomfortable to me. (Why are you doing this to me?)
- How will you spend your time now? (Will I be lonely?)
- What about our smoking friends? (Will I be bored/excluded?)
- We were smokers, what are we now? (I miss the smoking 'us'.)
- You can quit & I can't/won't/don't want to. (Are you better than me?)
- You'll judge me for smoking. (Why are you being unfair to me?)
- I feel guilty smoking now. (Why are you doing this to me?)
- I feel pressured to quit. (I resent you doing this to me.)
- You won't make it a week. (I feel threatened by your resolve/success.)
Your significant other may experience loss - losing a friend, losing your bonding time, losing your couples lifestyle and losing a part of your relationship history. You may feel some of these things, too! Be honest with yourself, process your feelings and be willing to let go of any underlying resentment towards your quit or your partner. Respect their choice to continue smoking at this time. Accept the process of change, and that it might be harder for them to accept since you initiated it. Change is good for everyone! Both of you can move forward successfully with mutual respect, empathy, consideration and open communication. Let your loved one know you recognize your choice affects them, you appreciate their efforts to support you and you don't expect them to quit until/unless they are ready to. If you socialize with other smokers as a couple, share how you plan to do things together just like before, once you get beyond the first few weeks or month of your quit.
Be sure to ask for help, and do so very specifically! Pick your battles. Identify your Top 3 requests that offer the most help for your quit. It helps to use "Please do" when possible, as "Please don't" may create resistance. Here are some examples:
- "Will you please help me by keeping ashtrays, cigarettes and lighters in this drawer?"
- "Will you please say "I'll be back in a minute" instead of "I'm heading out for a smoke?"
- "Will you please tell our smoking friends I quit so I don't feel on the spot?"
- "Will you please help me kick start my quit by smoking outside on the porch?"
Really brainstorm what would help you the most. Some people love to be made a fuss over, others like to be left alone. If your significant other is not very willing to discuss your suggestions, try giving options instead. An example would be: "Would you rather help me by smoking outside on the porch, in the garage or over at John's porch?" Support is a fair thing to ask for! You live there, too, and partnership is a team effort. Focus on what they will do to support you, get a commitment for how that's going to look, then thank them for taking the time to help you plan your quit.
Do avoid the "No matter how much I beg, promise you won't give me one!" request. This sets everyone up to fail. If you do beg, they don't know if they are supposed to honor the No Matter What rule or the intense, glaring person in front of them. Instead, let them know not to give you one unless you _______ or promise you won't get mad (and be sure you don't) if they hold steady. Have some clarification so they won't feel cornered!
With some effort and planning, you can increase your home support system, reduce tension, get along great and quit smoking in a smoking household. Chances are, as you celebrate each successful smoke free day, your loved one will become inspired to give quitting a try, as well.
KTQ in your happy, supportive home!
Vikki Chavez CTTS-M
For peer support from other Quitters, click here:
Meet Kathy. She is a lifelong athlete and 30 year smoker. She is ready to get back into the game! She is quitting in honor of her parents who both died from tobacco-related illness.
Research shows that peer support signficantly increases your chances of a successful quit. Reading about another quitter's triumphs and challenges can help you get through your own. It really helps to see that you are not alone, that struggles can be overcome and your fears and concerns are normal. Watching another quitter go through the process can help normalize your quit experience and provide encouragement.
Here at QuitNet, we often hear it was member testimonials that inspired another member to quit, or helped someone to keep going through challenging times. This month, seven Utah quitters were chosen to participate in a reality TV quit journey. We invite you to read their stories and lend your support. Please join them as they go through their self-documented journey to becoming tobacco free!
You already met Kathy; here are the remaining six Utah quitters and a little about them:
Gavin is a musician, writer, and smoker for over 20 years. He is quitting for his health, an upcoming race challenge and his future family.
Tanner is a young dad-to-be and smoker of five years. He is quitting for his unborn child.
Bob and Mary Beth have been in love for 37 years, and smoking even longer. They are quitting so they can grow old together.
Chelsea is only 22 years old, but has been secretly smoking for the last five years. She is quitting now to ensure a healthy future.
Scarlet is an aerospace worker and smoked for over 30 years. She is quitting for a brighter smile and freedom from addiction.
Chances are, their smoking history, motivations, concerns, struggles and successes are similar to yours. You can cheer them on through the BecomeAQuitter Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channel, as well as read more about each one of them here.
Would you like to share Your quit story? Stay tuned for information on how your quit can be featured right here on the Quit Blog!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Exchanging of presents is a popular tradition in many countries during Christmas season. But the best gift can't be found at the mall or any specialty store. The best gift you can give yourself and your family this holiday is the gift of quitting smoking.
At first, quitting smoking may seem like more of a pain than a gift. Common withdrawal symptoms like coughing, mucus production, fatigue, headaches, and mood swings make the long term benefits of reducing cancer, heart attack, stroke and emphysema, seem too far away to appreciate.
Rather than focusing on some of the long term benefits of quitting, take note of the more immediate benefits of quitting smoking:
- Improved sense of taste and smell. When you quit smoking, food becomes tastier and more enjoyable!
- Look and smell better. You no longer have to worry about others being able to smell smoke smell on you, in your home or in your car!
- More money in your pocket. According to the American Lung Association, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $5.51. That's money you can use now on groceries, gasoline, or for entertainment (dining out, movies, etc.).
- More time on your hands. And with that time, you can be more productive in your day!
- The health benefits of having more energy, being able to take in more oxygen, improved circulation, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and less coughing.
For some, however, the immediate benefits of quitting may be too subtle to notice or enjoy. Or perhaps the benefits are overshadowed by the daily struggle with cravings and/or withdrawal symptoms. You may not even feel like you are getting any benefits from your quit and wonder if you ever will. While these thoughts are completely normal, there are benefits of quitting smoking that are valuable beyond measure.
- Relaxation. Ex-smokers are less stressed than those who continue to smoke. You no longer have to worry about getting your next "fix." Your schedule no longer revolves around the next cigarettes. You can still deep breathe, but without the toxins, heat and smoke.
- Freedom. You can go anywhere, do anything. You are no longer restricted to from public areas because of smoking. Nor will you find yourself standing out in the cold, snow or rain ever again (at least not over a smoke!).
- More time with family and friends. Your time is a gift to others, as well as a gift to yourself. In addition, each cigarette not smoked saves you 11 minutes of life. That's time better spent working on relationships with people rather than cigarettes that are destructive!
- Role modeling. Your children and grandchildren are the future. When you quit smoking, you give the gift of leaving a smoke-free legacy!
Early in your quit, you may not feel like yourself. The changes that come with quitting smoking will be many; some good, others challenging. These changes are gifts. Your body is healing from years of cigarette smoking. The benefits are there; you just need to take the time to notice them! What's more, the benefits keep coming for weeks, months, and even years after quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is truly the gift that keeps on giving!