You’ve heard of the Great Resignation, but resigning from your job is just one way in which towel throwing can be a great way to get ahead. This story is part of a Men’s health series on how real quitters have become winners — and how you can join them.
OR YOU TRUST if you steam to feel calm, drink coffee or energy drinks to freshen up, or skip your favorite alcoholic beverage to relax a bit, all three of these extremely common vices can ruin your health and life – especially because they are so addictive. The good news: We have the step-by-step plan to abandon each one forever. It may take some work, but you will feel better about it.
Escape the Vape
Vaping is designed to hold you despite the risk of lung damage and even cancer. This is because vape “juice”, or liquid nicotine, is converted to a vapor that is absorbed directly by your lungs and delivered directly into the bloodstream, explains Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a clinical psychotherapist and addiction expert. It puts your nervous system in a state of hyper-arousal that initially feels good. “Unfortunately, this state of euphoria disappears quickly and makes us feel so exhausted that we are forced to keep chasing that initial climax,” Hokemeyer says. Do you want to stop? Try these:
Step 1: Try cold turkey.
“Most people who quit smoking, despite all the different methods of quitting, just throw it out and go cold turkey one day,” says Edwin Salsitz, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai. The same probably applies to vaping. Just be ready. You may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and cravings for a few days, says Dr. Salsitz. Tip: Tylenol helps.
Step 2: Fill the void in the healthy way.
If Tylenol and trying to tolerate withdrawal symptoms just does not do enough and you are driven back to the vape, consider using additional coping tools. Try mental health counseling, yoga, or ask your doctor for anti-craving medication, says Dr. Hokemeyer. Early evidence shows that CBD can also be useful, according to a 2017 study on rats in the journal Addiction Biology.
Step 3: Remember, it all takes time.
“Stopping steam is difficult. You may take two steps forward, one step back, and another sideways, ”says Dr. Hokemeyer. “The goal is increments of better, not perfection. If you notice that you are being pulled back into old behavior, try again.” To keep your spirits up, do not forget the power of regular exercise, which can provide bubbly endorphins.
Cut out caffeine
You may think you crave the taste of coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks, but each sip comes with a nice hit of caffeine for adrenaline and dopamine stimulation. This makes it difficult to quit completely, says Dr. Hokemeyer, especially since caffeine can mask exhaustion, and you grab another cup when the previous one runs out. If you do not feel awake without your cup or can of choice, find that you struggle to sleep at night, or often feel discouraged or anxious, it may be time for an intervention, says MH advisor Drew Ramsey, MD, a clinical psychiatrist and addiction specialist. To break that cycle, try this:
Step 1: Improve your sleep.
“If you’re really sluggish in the morning and addicted to caffeine, you have to work really hard on excellent sleep quality,” says Drew Ramsey. Make an extra hour (or two!) A priority each night to reduce your dependence on the stimulant. Just remember that caffeine has a long half-life, so you should also avoid drinking too much in the afternoon.
Step 2: Set a realistic stop date.
“Set a goal of three to six months to completely wean yourself off caffeine,” says Dr. Hokemeyer. The idea is to slow down slowly to avoid headaches, irritability and severe fatigue. “The longer and friendlier the time frame you give yourself, the better your chances of success will be.”
Step 3: Get up and raise differently.
The best way to regain energy without an energy drink can be an early workout, says Dr. Ramsey. “Create a very structured and purposeful morning for how you are going to repeat what coffee has done for you: to wake you up and get you motivated.” Extra points if you have a friend, coach or group practice class to hold you accountable.
Break up with booze
When drinking is ingrained as a way to socialize, relax or cope, it becomes even harder to quit – especially if not all of your non-sober friends are on board with the idea. “Only 20 percent of Americans do not drink alcohol; it is part of the social structure of the country, ”says dr. Salsitz. But while you may be drinking to change your mood, the downside may be immediate if you do something you will later regret. And the next day, hangovers can make you feel worse over time. After all, alcohol is a depressant. To reset in a new way, try these:
Step 1: Be honest about your drinking habits.
The CDC defines risky drinking for men as more than 15 drinks per week. This is the point at which you may be creating unintentional stress and anxiety for yourself because you have begun to suppress your central nervous system. For some, it may lead to a need for a drink more often. If you are far above that number, it can be difficult or even dangerous to quit alcohol cold turkey because you will be dealing with shaking, sweating, intense anxiety and maybe even worse withdrawal symptoms. Consult a physician or other counseling organization if you think you are high on the alcohol use disorder continuum and you want to quit.
Step 2: Restore your worldview.
“‘People, places and things'” is a key phrase in AA, “explains Dr. Salsitz. If you can not find a healthy way to limit consumption, think of the people, places, and things in your environment that encourage yourself to drink.Then physically remove yourself from those triggers.It can mean finding a running group instead of having a happy hour, or moving meetings with friends from bars to cafes.It can be smart to remove alcohol from your place, especially if you find something healthy to brush instead (See Step 3).
Step 3: Give yourself a ‘liquid reward’.
There are non-alcoholic versions of your favorite drinks, which can help you not feel like an outsider in social environments. If it is not tempting, or feels too triggering, try a new liquid refreshment at the end of the day — such as kombucha or seltzer water — to deceive your mind into calming down. “Kombucha gives me a little sugar and sparkling brown, a liquid reward for replacing that ritual aspect without alcohol,” says Dr. Ramsey. “It can be helpful for some people, depending on where they are.”
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