If the idea of quitting smoking makes you want to light up, then you are not alone. The nicotine found in cigarettes is one of the most addictive substances out there, and quitting can cause withdrawal symptoms ranging from mood problems to digestive problems.
People who try to quit smoking, however, have more options for help than they have ever had before. Several products have entered the market in the last decade that serve as a substitute in various ways.
Some replace the sensation and activity of smoking, and others replace the nicotine (like this one found here: https://blackbuffalo.com/). In many cases, you can even get a prescription for nicotine pills, nasal sprays, and inhalers if you are looking for something accompanied by the supervision of a doctor.
In addition to nicotine replacement therapies and other products, groups all over the country offer social support and accountability to smokers trying to quit. People who participate in these groups are encouraged to reach out to friends and family as well; and having such a comprehensive approach to quitting can increase your chances of success.
Accomplishments Make You Feel Good
Do you remember working hard to get that promotion, lift a heavier weight, or pass a difficult exam—and the euphoric feeling that came as a result of hitting your goal? The first few days after you quit smoking are going to be the absolute hardest. However, if you can make it through that, you may feel a rush similar to having made it through a gauntlet.
Every milestone that you get past when you are quitting smoking is something to celebrate. At eight hours, your carbon monoxide returns to normal levels. At 24 hours your risk for heart attack decreases. You can find health markers for two days, three days, one week, two weeks, one month, and on and on.
Your self-esteem is going to get a major lift from taking advantage of so many opportunities to cheer your success, and hearing your loved ones praise you, too. And you should certainly relish every single moment of it.
One thing to keep in mind, is that we don’t typically celebrate ourselves and each other in normal circumstances. So there is a chance for depression—or at least a sense of the blahs—to settle in when your six-month marker has hit, and there isn’t another milestone to celebrate for a whole six months.
To mitigate the sense of loss, you can make it a point to celebrate yourself and others more often. You just added several years to your life by quitting, so why not make every moment of those years a moment to cherish?
Heartily pat your friends and family on the back for even the smallest victories. Treat yourself and the people close to you as the treasures that they are, and you will maintain that self-esteem boost that you got on the first day you decided to quit.
More Oxygen Means a Healthier Brain
When you are getting more oxygen to your lungs, they share it with your brain. That means clearer thinking for you, and more energy, too. When you combine these with an elevated sense of wellbeing, you are bound to feel better about yourself as well.
Take advantage of this moment to pick up an exercise routine if you haven’t already, and keep riding the wave. When you get your heart pumping, you’re going get another lift to your self-esteem because you feel better physically. Think of how you will feel when you run that seven-minute mile for the first time since eighth grade.
You may also want to consider starting counseling at this time to learn new ways that will keep you feeling this great long term. It’s unclear how smoking and depression are linked, and it is certainly different for each individual. But, you may have been more prone to cigarette addiction in the past, due to unresolved anxiety and depression.
Social Support Also Means a Healthier You
Most people have trouble asking for help from others, so this could be one of the first times you’ve experienced people rallying around you with such enthusiastic support. This feeling of cooperation does not have to end when you’ve gotten to the point where your milestones are more spread out.
In addition to any cessation support groups you may have joined, consider volunteering your time somewhere meaningful to you. If you used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you are saving yourself nearly two hours each day by quitting. Invest in your community and the return will be more than you ever expected.
Quitting smoking can be one of the hardest things you have ever done, but as you can see, it can also be the most rewarding. When you kick the habit, you quite literally give yourself a new lease on life, with more years, more energy, and more time to do the things that make your life meaningful.
With all these benefits, then it’s no wonder kicking the habit will make your self-esteem skyrocket!