Most smokers know it is difficult to simply put down their cigarettes and lighter and walk away. It is much more complex than that: nicotine addiction is physical, and smoking is behavioral. However, breaking the cycle is possible, and it’s even possible to quit smoking naturally.
Physical and behavioral addiction to smoking
As most people know, cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a stimulant. When you smoke, nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine, which makes you feel good. As the dopamine wears off, you feel bad and your body craves more nicotine. This is the simple part of the physical addiction. However, smoking is behavioral as well.
Recent researching into habits has helped us understand the habit loop: trigger, habit, reward. With smoking, when there is a trigger or cue to smoke, your body feels the need to perform the habit, smoking, to get to the learned reward. Smoking in itself is not the reward in behavioral science, but rather it provides a means to get time away from daily activities, socialize, or do something pleasurable. It is a self-reinforcing pattern, and long after the physical addiction to nicotine is broken, this can make a former smoker feel the need for a cigarette.
It is possible to break this cycle. The first step is to understand the behavioral aspect of tobacco use. You have to be aware of when you use tobacco and what triggers your usage. For many people it is while driving, at a computer, first thing in the morning with coffee, with friends, and/or drinking and socializing.
The next step is to recondition those triggers from wanting to smoke a cigarette to wanting something healthy. Many people have a hard time breaking the hand-to-mouth habit, so a good start would be to replace cigarettes for a healthy snack. Low calorie foods like baby carrots, apple slices, or celery are healthy and helpful. If you are looking for a calorie free drink, substitute sparkling water, water with lemon, or herbal teas. Tea is a great, calorie-free, caffeine-free substitute that is healthy and tastes good. Some herbal teas, like Quit Tea, contain a blend of herbs specifically formulated to support you through the process of quitting smoking.
Herbs to support quitting for good
There are many herbs and other alternative methods can be helpful with many physical aspects of quitting smoking naturally. Meditation, support groups, behavioral modification therapy, and acupuncture have been shown to be helpful. Herbal supplements such as teas can also complement a natural smoking cessation program. Here is a list of just a few of the many herbs that can be helpful:
- Valerian is a powerful relaxant, which in low doses aids in reducing anxiety, stress and nervousness.
- St. John’s Wort has mild antidepressant properties, with fewer side effects than prescription medications.
- Licorice root can help thin mucus in the lungs and improve its quality. This can help the lungs recover from damage incurred by smoking.
It is important to realize there is no one perfect way for every single smoker to break the habit. However, there are plenty of options, including natural, herbal, and alternative ones that can help you be successful. Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful and may even give you the courage to take the plunge and help you break up with nicotine for good.
About Matt Bucklin -The Founder of Quit Tea
Matt Bucklin is the creator of Quit Tea. He found his way into the world of natural health through two different paths: first, he discovered that drinking herbal tea was instrumental in helping him successfully quit smoking; second, in his prior work as a pharmaceutical and biotechnological analyst, he became interested in alternative ways of healing without the negative side effects.