How To Minimize Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms - Part II

By: Josee Bedard

Beyond meditation, breathing exercises and emotional balancing, there are more physical activities that can help reduce your discomfort when you quit smoking.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Exercise
Since most people don't smoke while they exercise, getting active is a great way to distract yourself from your desire to smoke.
How to do it: First speak to your doctor to be sure physical activity is safe for you. Once you've gotten the green light, consider the types of exercise that would be most appealing to you. For the first few weeks of being a non-smoker, you may want to avoid very intense exercise unless you are already in great shape, because overdoing it will only make you more miserable. Instead, consider lighter forms of exercise that will get you moving but not tax your body too much, like walking, swimming, golfing, or dancing.
Exercise helps in several ways. First, it helps you burn off feelings of irritability and tension through physical movement, plus induces feelings of peacefulness and well-being when those endorphins start to flow. Plus it helps you expand your lung capacity again, which is likely diminished if you have been smoking for a long time.
- Rest
Quitting smoking is draining to say the least, on physical, emotional and mental levels. One of the best ways to help yourself get through it is to allow plenty of time to rest. Avoid quitting smoking during an extremely hectic or stressful time in your life. If you can, set your quit date for a time when you'll be on vacation, or at least have a lighter schedule than normal.
Don't be surprised if during the first several days of your quit, you feel very tired and have trouble concentrating. Nicotine is a stimulant that your body has become dependent upon and when you stop ingesting it, you'll probably feel like someone has "pulled the plug" and most of your energy has drained away. If this happens, simply allow yourself to rest as much as possible. Treat your fatigue just like you would the flu or a bad cold. Drink plenty of fluids and take it easy until it passes.
- Distraction
Another helpful technique is to keep your mind focused on other things while you're in the early stages of quitting. It's best to choose activities that would make it difficult to smoke while you do them, like spending time in public places that do not allow smoking, or cleaning out and organizing your attic. It may also help if you keep something similar in size or shape to a cigarette in your hands during idle moments, like a pen or straw.
More than any other coping method, however, your own attitude and determination will have a lot to do with your success or failure in becoming a non-smoker. If you want it badly enough, you'll be willing to deal with unpleasant side effects as they come up. Just keep reminding yourself that the symptoms are temporary. In as little as a few weeks, you'll be feeling much stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.

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