Smoking was my go-to stress reliever. When things got hard, when a relationship ended, when finals were stressful, I smoked. Pretty soon, I went from only an occasional smoker, to, a smoker. Becoming a smoker never felt like a lifestyle for me. I never would have called myself a smoker. Proof is in the pudding though – you can’t exactly buy cigarettes, smoke regularly, and not BE a smoker.
Now, in my previous post, I talked about my unhealthy lifestyle in college. Smoking was a big part of that. A lot of bad habits go hand in hand with smoking; drinking, eating bad foods, skipping meals, etc. I am guessing you can’t picture many people that you would consider to be a pinnacle of health, who are also smokers. Lung capacity is certainly a helpful thing when it comes to pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
As I began to exercise more regularly, smoking needed to go. Now, many will gain a substantial amount of weight when they quit smoking because they substitute one vice for another. For me, I substituted exercise. Smoking is so helpful in managing stress. But, so is running, spinning, weight lifting, etc. As soon as I made the connection that smoking is a symptom and not a core issue, I recognized that I could help resolve the larger issue of needing help managing stress in a more positive way.
When I put down the pack of cigarettes five years ago, I made a decision. I chose me. I chose health, longevity and a belief that I am worth it. Cigarettes do not define me; I chose a mechanism to handle the stress of daily life.
Have you ever had an unhealthy habit that was hard to stop? Please comment and share your experiences.