One of the main obstacles to quitting smoking is the dread of uncomfortable symptoms caused by the body’s withdrawal from nicotine. Just the thought of it can bring many smokers out in a sweat and make them quickly shelve their decision to quit. There’s no denying these feelings are real. But most peak after 48 hours. And the way you deal with them is crucial to your success in quitting.
The first feeling smokers experience is one of loss. It’s an unpleasant sensation of emptiness with the painful undertone that you are being deprived of something. Just remember what you’re being deprived of is nicotine, a toxic addictive drug that has kept you enslaved since you first drew it into your lungs. Activity works well here. As part of your quit-smoking game plan you should set up a routine preferably involving some physical activity. Once you get involved in some sport or exercise, thoughts of smoking will fade.
Then there’s the famous feeling of irritability that make a ex-smoker so difficult to be around. You feel miserable and tense because you’re body is craving its habitual fix of nicotine. Much of what you’re experiencing results from your nervous system returning to normal after years of nicotine-driven stimulation. It normally last for up to two weeks. Again draw on your grab-bag of tricks – take deep breaths, walks, practice relaxation techniques, eat fruit…whatever works for you.
Finally and perhaps worst of all there’s the feeling that a cigarette is the most important thing in the world. Nothing else exists that can replace it. You try all the substitutes – eating, drinking juice, gum, everything. But nothing comes close. And you feel that without cigarettes, you’ll never be able to enjoy yourself again. All you can do here is breath deeply, visualize the clean you, and reassure yourself that this feeling will pass. It will in a few minutes. It will come back but each time it will be weaker and weaker until one day you realize with joy that it’s gone.
In reality the withdrawal blues are never as bad as people fear. What’s more they don’t last long, a month at most. And if your quit-smoking game plan is in place, you’ll handle them easily. So don’t delay. Make the decision to quit now. Set a date and prepare. It’s not as hard as you think.