When it comes to smoking, the easiest way to quit is to never start in the first place.
If you’ve had the misfortune to pick up the bad habit, there are still many options that can help you kick cigarettes to the curb.
Most commercially available options can be beneficial, but they’re often loaded with chemicals and nicotine; which means that you’re not really giving up your fix, you’re just swapping your source of nicotine.
But scientists have discovered an odd natural trick that can be just as effective as these products.
The Strange Solution
For most people, quitting smoking causes them to pick other habits, like biting their nails or compulsive snacking.
As weird as it sounds, sucking on a lime can actually keep your cravings at bay.
Simply wash one fruit and cut it into 4 equally-sized pieces.
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When you feel a craving coming along, take out all four pieces, suck on them one at a time and eat the skin.
Sounds crazy, right?
Well, a recent study found that there may be a good reason behind the madness. The study, published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand compared the efficacy of nicotine gum and this lime trick (1).
The 12-week study examined the nicotine addiction symptoms of 100 regular smokers. Half took the lime anytime they felt a craving while the other half was given a regiment of nicotine gum. The researchers found that the lime took longer to act, with noticeable results only occurring as of the 9th week, but it was almost equal in success past the point.
Both groups reported still experiencing cravings, but the lime group’s symptoms were stronger since their treatment contained no nicotine.
In the long-run, however, the lime treatment is more effective because it causes the smoker to quit his/her nicotine habit. On the other hand, nicotine gum perpetuates your addictiveness because it contains the same substances as cigarettes. Essentially, chewing nicotine gum is just trading a bad habit (smoking) for something slightly less bad (gum chewing).
The Key to Quitting
The best way to quit cigarettes for good is by combining different strategies and tools to keep your mind off smoking and control the symptoms of withdrawal.
In addition to the trick mentioned above, here are 5 simple tools you can use to kick your addiction for good!
Acupuncture doesn’t just cure illness, it can also balance out your body to support weight loss and fight addiction.
Koreans scientists found that acupuncture treatment directed towards point HT7 (Sinmun) for 2 days significantly reduced the incidence of thoughts of smoking and lessened withdrawal symptoms in smokers trying to kick the habit. They were also less likely to respond to smoking triggers like images of cigarettes (2).
Have you ever noticed that cigarette cravings intensify during periods of stress? In most cases, reducing your stress levels melts away your cravings.
A study on the subject had participants massage their hand or ears at least 3 times a day when they experienced cravings. By the last week of the 1-month study, participants were smoking fewer cigarettes, and experienced better mood, less anxiety, and fewer symptoms than the control group (3).
Exercise keeps your mind occupied and regulates mood. It can also boost your energy levels.
Researchers have found that doing moderate exercise for 5 minutes or more when you experience cravings can prevent relapse. By studying a group of 85 smokers who had gone up to 14 hours without a cigarette, they determined that although light exercise is also beneficial, it takes a bit more effort to truly make a difference (4) .
Anytime you get a strong desire to smoke, ask yourself how you’re feeling and what triggered this desire. Are you bored? Are you stressed? Tired?
By tuning into the deepest reaches of your brain, you’ll gain insight into your smoking habit and have a more balance picture of your relationship to smoking.
It’s also important to think about how smoking makes you feel and how long you can go without a cigarette before your mood changes. If smoking makes you feel relaxed, then find a relaxing habit to replace it with, like taking a walk or focusing o your breath for a few minutes.
5. Herbal Solutions
If you’ve been smoking for a long time and quitting is taking a big toll on your mind, look towards teas and tinctures to get your through. By consulting with a herbologist or naturopath, you can be introduced to plants that will help manage anxiety, nausea, and other withdrawal symptoms as well as detox and strengthen your lungs.