Body Changes When You Stop Smoking
Congratulations on working your way through the seven days and now being a non-smoker. This is the best thing you will ever do for your life and health. You will not miss anything. In fact, there will be another thousand things you can do now that you are smoke-free. You deserve to be smoke-free. You are worth it. You will never look back. It is time to totally forget to smoke.
You are now a non-smoker, you are now smoke-free forever. This is the beginning of the story, your story!
Solutions to possible side-effects
As mentioned previously, some people in the days or weeks after stopping smoking may or may not have a few of the following symptoms. Your body needs to get back to normality. By practicing the exercises and tips, you will go a long way towards either eliminating or reducing possible quit symptoms. In the same way a regular cold passes, so will any symptoms. You may be lucky and have none at all. The following tips are natural home remedies that you may choose to use if the need arises.
Anxiety is a warning to focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. Take a deep breath, relax and visualise a positive outcome rather than focusing on what is making you feel the anxiety.
Constipation is often the result of not enough fluids, not enough fibre in your diet, not chewing well and irregular eating patterns. A long walk after dinner can help get the system moving. Prunes, dates and mangoes are known to help. A tablespoon of castor oil chased by a small cup of strong black coffee works a treat.
Stay close to the bathroom. Carrot, beetroot, spinach and apple juice is a great drink and can relieve constipation. A tablespoon of linseed (flaxseed) oil over a salad or on your porridge can lubricate where needed. Freshly squeezed orange juice has been known to work wonders. Rolled oats for breakfast with bran or fruit salad can also help.
Take extra vitamin C. Lozenges are OK in the short term to help overcome a scratchy throat or cough. Take extra garlic and horseradish tablets. Warm water with diluted freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice with honey is beneficial.
Craving a cigarette
Use a replacement strategy such as deep breathing, sipping on water or one of the many other replacement strategies you now have at your disposal.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day.
Deep breathing will give you more energy. Relaxation exercises will help you feel calm and energised. Rest when you need to rest. Providing you have no allergy, ginseng has been used to help combat fatigue, as has co-enzyme Q10. Check with your pharmacist or GP for advice.
Feelings of loss
Remember your reasons for stopping and remind yourself of what you are gaining. Repeat to yourself: 'This too shall pass.' Acceptance that cigarettes are gone from your life and that you are infinitely better off is the key to overcoming the feelings of loss.
Practise the Tortoise pose and work the acupressure points on the back of the hand as well as the eyebrow point.
Irritation, cranky feelings or anger
Hit a punching bag and let off some steam. Burn up the feelings with a fitness class. Practise the one-point or two-points meditation. Practice deep-breathing exercises. Repeat in your mind: 'Let it go.'
The key to a good night's sleep is to switch off your thinking and let go of physical tension. Avoid caffeine or other stimulants after midday every day. Avoid alcohol for several hours before going to bed. Burn up tension throughout the day by doing a minimum of 30 minutes' activity (i.e. walk, swim, cycle, gym).
Write lists for the next day's activities before going to bed. Avoid anxiety by keeping a 'worries journal' to get those thoughts out of your head and in a place where you can action them the next day.
Drink chamomile tea as a relaxant. Listen to soft music before preparing for bed. Avoid action-packed crime shows before bed. Avoid large meals late in the evening. Include snooze foods in your evening meal – these foods include low-fat dairy; soy products such as tofu, seafood, meats, poultry; whole grains, beans, hummus, lentils, eggs, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Practise relaxation techniques and deep breathing.
Inability to concentrate
Include 'brain' foods such as apples, berries, carrots, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fish, nuts, seeds, green tea and whole grains in your diet, Practise breathing exercises.
Reduce refined, starchy carbohydrates and high-sugar foods. Include in your diet lean meats, oats, spinach, bananas, nuts, wholegrain foods and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil every day. Introduce some fresh vegetable and apple juices into your day. Eat lots of salads. Practise relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi and chi kung, and get some sunshine. Taking vitamin B6 can also help.
Put eucalyptus drops in a bowl of steaming hot water and a towel over your head, then breathe the eucalyptus fumes in the steam. Olbas oil, available from pharmacies, can be obtained in drop, lozenge or inhaler form. Put the drops on your pillow at night and rub it into your chest. Vicks Vapour Rub is also good to rub into your chest.
Lemon juice and honey in hot water with some fresh ginger crushed through a garlic crusher is an old favourite. Gargle with Condy's Crystals. Rub Vicks Vapour Rub into your throat and wrap a scarf around your throat. Propolis lozenges can help. Visualise you are in a snowfield and your hand is going into the snow.
Imagine your hand becoming numb like an anaesthetic. Once you feel the tingly numb effect, place your hand over the affected area of your throat and let the numb feeling flow into your throat.
Sore tongue and/or gums
Avoid mouth washes unless they are natural. Drink plenty of water and warm tea. Avoid hot or cold foods. Eat soft foods. Clean your teeth after every meal. Check with your doctor or dentist if any of these symptoms persist.
Tightness in the chest
Rub Vicks Vapour Rub into your chest. Lie face down with your chest over the side of a bed or two pillows and have somebody drum all over your upper back with light fists. When I had a tight chest with asthma, this would really help loosen up the congestion. Be sure to have a tissue or spittoon handy.
Follow the steps listed above for a runny nose and sore throat. To learn more, you can check out Body Changes When You Stop Smoking.