The Gift of Quitting Smoking
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!