Smoking isn’t healthy but it kept me sane. It was a deadly habit but it helped me thrive professionally, socially and oddly enough, athletically. I loved to smoke and didn’t attempt to quit until the day I stopped ‘cold turkey’. The miracle in this was I lost the urge to smoke but I gained a body that was unable to cope with stress. What I did: smoke to cope.
Our hormones are what regulates stress. Everyone doesn’t have the same hormone secretion so our level of what is stressful can vary. This is significant to how an individual will react within the fight-or-flight response.
How to quit smoking is similar to unravelling a ball of yarn from a neatly organized ball. My late teens, twenties then just into my thirties were thrilling because of my best friend, Cig A Rette. Always faithful and satisfying but equally costly and smelly. I didn’t care about that because I was after the calm, filling effect nicotine gifted.
Doc Calm or otherwise known as Dr. David Posen raises this worthy word in his tip on Work-Life Balance: Setting Boundaries and Limits: Enough.
“ENOUGH is another word we should add to our work-life balance vocabulary. The work day is getting longer and faster and more open-ended. To get control of this situation we need to start asking, “How much is enough?” How much is enough time spent at work? How much is enough achievement and success? How much is enough money?”
I have no regrets of my smoking days (did I mention I loved smoking). I do mourn the time spent on unresolved life issues cigarettes helped me to avoid. Time was a requirement to healing. It allowed a re-education of my emotions by allowing the feeling to occur. The toke of a cigarette was no longer a mask to my emotions.
A re-education on healthy emotional reactions does require life experience. This means getting messy and a lot of apologizing. Dedication to this timely work does help build compassion, trust, and belief in the value emotions have on wellbeing.
If you’re ready to say Enough(!) to smoking there are some extremely wonderful resources available. This was the path I took:
Limit where you smoke
1. Add a fresh coat of paint to your walls by painting them yourself. I kept that room off-limits to smoking.*
2. Get your car detailed at a top-notch auto business. My car became off-limits to smoking.*
Begin an active routine
3. Experiment with different exercises or activities. I got to know what I enjoyed and what turned me off before I quit smoking.
4. Hire a professional. I committed by paying six months of my trainer’s service to build accountability and routine with my self. I did this the week I quit.
5. Be outdoors. I forced myself into this one. Following a car accident I nixed buying one to become 100% reliant on biking, walking or public transportation (a.k.a waiting at the bus stop).
Keep a journal
6. Blab on paper. It didn’t make sense but it did get from my bottled up brain out into the space of a paper.
7. Track your vital signs. This was most insightful. Over months of tracking I learned the root of body function and performance issues that would have costed me five to six digits of unwanted health care costs.
Explore you spirituality
8. Open your ears and eyes. Sounds simple but required being open-minded. When I became willing, I enabled myself to trial things (i.e. meditation, devotionals, music) that my attention drew towards.
9. Revisit religious roots. This was hard but, again, required being open-minded. In this I learned how different the politics and teachings are. Plus, ‘going to church’ took on a different meaning from what my childhood taught.
* I did these things without the intention to quit smoking but I believe it helped change my mental imagery of ‘comfort’ in these places.