Did you make a promise to yourself to ditch the cigarettes in 2021? Good for you! Going cold turkey can be hard though, and there’s no shame in looking for a little help. Happily, nature has a few tricks up her sleeve to help you get through the toughest times when kicking a longstanding habit.
Natural supplements to help fight cravings and restore calm
If you’ve been a smoker for a while, kicking the nicotine habit can be a real shock to the body. That means you’ll likely feel some withdrawal symptoms like increased nervousness, the shakes, and energy slumps. Rest assured that these are short-lived and you will get through them, though knowing that doesn’t always help when you’re in the thick of it!
Fortunately, help is on hand. Many herbal and nutritional remedies can calm your nerves, combat stress, and help you deal with cravings.
One of the best supports when quitting smoking is Rhodiola rosea. This adaptogenic herb helps your body, well, adapt to stress. It can enhance your energy levels and give your vitality a boost, and is well know for supporting emotional health and wellness, keeping nervousness and anxieties in check.
L-theanine is another great choice as a support during stressful times. Non-addictive but highly effective, this amino acid is why we put the kettle on for a cuppa after a stressful event. Tea is naturally high in L-theanine, but if you want the benefits without the caffeine hit, L-theanine capsules offer a highly concentrated, non-drowsy, and convenient way to switch your brainwaves to a relaxed and alert state instead of a jittery anxiousness. L-theanine is also helpful for maintaining focus and productivity, and if you just quit smoking there’s a strong chance you’re finding it hard to concentrate right now!
Jan De Vries Craving Essence is another helpful remedy to have on hand if cravings strike. This tincture can help settle your mind and restore some serenity thanks to extracts of Clematis, Star of Bethlehem, Agrimony, Crab Apple, Tansy, Walnut, Chicory, Cherry Plum, Self Heal, and Morning Glory. To use, add 5 drops to a little water 3 times daily.
Other helpful strategies for former smokers
Even if you’ve only just quit, congrats! You’re now a former smoker. So, what else can you do to stick to your resolve and give your lungs (and the rest of your body) a good chance to heal and recover?
One thing is for sure, now is not the time to start a crash diet. Stick to one resolution at a time and give your body what it needs to feel happy and healthy. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, all of which pack in essential nutrients that support your brain and nervous system, adrenal glands, and your lungs and immune system too.
Fruits and veggies can even help make cigarettes taste bad! Pretty handy if you’re determined to quit. Beware, though, that coffee, alcohol, and meat are often seen as enhancing the taste of cigarettes, so cut these out to keep cravings in check.
Finally, take a tip from smoking cessation experts by learning the 4 Ds of quitting:
- Delaying – if you get a craving, wait five minutes. The craving will almost always go away
- Deep-breathing – deep breaths mimic the relaxed breathing when smoking and help your body relax and fight off cravings
- Drinking water – sipping water and holding it in your mouth for a few seconds can quash the urge to light up
- Distraction – find something to do that it totally incompatible with smoking, such as taking a shower, swimming, knitting, or going for a run!
If you’re having a tough day and are feeling the urge to smoke, consider how far you’ve come and take a moment to appreciate the gift you’ve already given your body. Even just 8 hours after your last cigarette your blood level of toxic carbon monoxide fell dramatically.
Two days after your last smoke your risk of a heart attack has also dropped and you can smell and taste better than before! After three days, your lung capacity will have improved and you’ll be able to breathe more easily than when you were a smoker. And in just a couple of weeks your circulation is better, making it easier to exercise, your skin will look healthier, and your immune system is better positioned to fight off infection. And, frankly, if there was ever a time to give your immune system some TLC, it’s now!
Want a little more motivation? If you quit smoking last year, you’ve already halved your risk of a heart attack. And when you celebrate 10 years of being an ex-smoker, you’ll have cut your risk of death from lung cancer by a whopping 50%! By 15 years, your risk of dying of a heart attack is the same as someone who never smoked.
Every hour, every day, every week, and every year without lighting up makes a big difference to your health and the health of those around you. If you’re finding things a real struggle, you can also look to things like hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy to help stay the course.