Quitting smoking has been on your to-do list for how long now? Every time you think it might be time to quit, another stressful event pops up that makes it seem completely impossible to give up cigarettes now. We get it. You’re addicted.
You may have been merely trying cigarettes to see what all the hype was about, but by the time you finished your first pack, your brain was dependent on nicotine. And by the time you had been smoking for a couple of weeks, it seemed like you had never not smoked.
What you’re about to find out is that even though you may be dealing with some of the highest levels of stress you have ever had, this is the perfect time to quit. Keep reading to find out why.
More Assistance Than Ever
Fifty years ago, there were no options and there was little support for quitting smoking. You were basically on your own. Now, however, kicking the habit is the in thing to do. There are websites and apps designed for every type of smoker. You have dozens of nicotine replacements like lozenges, patches, nasal sprays and pills. Go to your doctor and they will write you a prescription that your insurance may cover, or give something a try over the counter first.
Some people participate in reduction programs that gradually wean them off the nicotine, others prefer to switch up their routine to eliminate smoke inhalation while maintaining the ritual and the nicotine. Smokeless tobaccoless dip is a reasonable alternative for people 21 and over who are struggling to quit smoking but want to stop inhaling smoke and using tobacco.
You can combine the above methods with counseling for an even more effective strategy to ensure that this time is the last time you have to try to quit. Traditional counseling can help you get to the bottom of the emotional issues that may be causing you to hold extra tightly to your cigarettes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you create a goal-oriented approach to changing your behavior through developing a program of reinforcement with the help of a licensed therapist.
Financial Reasons for Quitting
We could go on and on with this one. There are so many financial repercussions to smoking, especially during a pandemic when you may be better off saving all of your expendable money for a rainy(er) day. Unemployment is at around 36 million people, and it will not be getting better any time soon unless a miracle New Deal comes along.
When you quit smoking, you not only immediately save the cost of a pack of cigarettes, you also save future healthcare costs. Your health insurance rates may be higher because you smoke, and you probably go to the doctor more, too.
People who smoke have a harder time recovering from respiratory illnesses, some chronic illnesses are exacerbated by smoking; and antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs need to be taken in higher doses when you light up on a regular basis.
In addition to the healthcare costs of going to the doctor, smokers are less productive at work than nonsmokers. If you smoke, you spend an average of between six and nine workdays a year on smoke breaks, and you take more days off of work due to illness and depression. If you do not get paid sick days, you are losing money.
If you get paid commission, you are losing out on sales opportunities every time you step away from your desk to suck one down.
Mental Health Reasons for Quitting
You already know the physical health implications of smoking. Cigarettes take a toll on your mental health as well. When you smoke, your brain becomes dependent on nicotine to be the signal to release dopamine. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone we produce when we do pleasurable things like listening to music, laughing with friends, exercising, eating good food, even sleeping. We need dopamine in order to function, and deficiencies lead to depression, lethargy, and symptoms that look like dementia.
When your brain cannot produce dopamine without a shot of nicotine to trigger it, you start to experience withdrawal, which feels a lot like anxiety. You may think you need to smoke in order to get rid of your anxiety, but every cigarette just solidifies the withdrawal process even further.
When you quit, you will go through withdrawal symptoms with a vengeance for the first couple of weeks. Eventually, however, that will begin to ease up and you will notice a reduction in those anxious feelings too.
The emotional hardship of doing something you want to stop does not make your mental health any better. If quitting is something you want to do, then you likely feel guilty every time you light up. Additionally, smoking affects your relationships and your ability to do other things you want to do. Cigarettes stop you from fully enjoying physical activity, and they even affect your love life.
Final Thoughts on Quitting Smoking
If you have tried quitting smoking before but have failed, you are not alone. Most people need to try between six and 30 or more times to finally be successful. The key is to keep trying and never give up. There is no better time than now to quit smoking. The sooner you do, the sooner you will start to feel like your best self ever.
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