Congratulations--you have made it to the third day of being a nonsmoker. You’re beginning to experience the more intense psychological and emotional symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. You may be feeling bad, but you’re determined to make the New Year’s resolution you made stick. You promised your friends, family and co-workers that you were determined to quit smoking for good.
After smoking your last cigarette two days ago, you experienced what seemed to be mild cravings. Once the nicotine began to leave your body, you began to experience both psychological and physical cravings for another cigarette. This is Day Three, and you are in the full clutch of withdrawal symptoms. Your brain has to begin ramping up its production of dopamine because cigarettes used to stimulate the release of this brain chemical. You feel fatigued, as if you can’t put one foot in front of the other. Your throat is sore, and you feel like you have a cold. The physical symptoms are a result of your body beginning to flush the nicotine and many other chemicals out of your system. Your body is beginning to heal itself now that the nicotine is no longer present.
On this third day, you may experience trouble concentrating, as if tasks and thoughts you normally handle become difficult to hold onto. You may become constipated, pass gas, develop stomach cramps and feel nauseated. Your body has to learn how to handle its own functions without the presence of nicotine. You may suffer from insomnia as your body and brain withdraw from the nicotine. You may also become dizzy because your body is now able to take in more oxygen than when it was under the control of nicotine.
You may be irritable and difficult to be around. Psychologically, you’re missing having cigarettes available to smoke.
Your withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke can begin only a few hours after finishing your last cigarette and peak between the third and fifth days. This is one of the roughest days that you may experience.
If you begin to use techniques like delaying gratification or chewing on a coffee stirrer or a cinnamon stick, you can ride out the waves of cravings as they hit.
You made a very significant decision to quit smoking for a variety of reasons. This decision is now impacting all areas of your life. Hopefully, before you reached Quit Day, you made several preparations to help you deal with the symptoms, withdrawal pains, psychological and physical upset before you reached this point. You should have worked to prepare yourself mentally for the feelings, physical and emotional symptoms and thoughts you’re now having.
You’ll be confronted by the temptation for “just one cigarette.” Don’t give in. Your body will respond immediately to the influx of nicotine and you will be just as addicted as you were the day you quit smoking.
Your biggest task on this third day is to make it to one hour from now so you can say you’re going to keep the New Year’s resolution you made. Have techniques and strategies ready to help you ride out the cravings and symptoms. Practice deep breathing; begin drinking between six and eight glasses of water per day to help flush the toxins out of your system; resist the urge to smoke by realizing the urge will last no longer than five minutes; avoid coffee, alcohol and sugar for at least two weeks because these will stimulate your desire for a cigarette. Chew on crunchy fruits and vegetables as well as nuts to get you through cravings. Keep sugarless mints and gum handy as well. Avoid smoking situations and other smokers.
Log on to LIVESTRONG.com and register for free as a member of the Quit Smoking Dare forum. Use this resource to ask other quitting smokers for emotional support.