Mental Wellness Month

Author: Nikta Niazi

Do you have a plan for how you’re going to work on mental wellness this month?

I do. And I am motivated to set a goal for my mental health every month. It is actually what I considered as my 2021’s resolution. I thought it is the best if I develop a new habit starting first day of each month. For January I decided to develop the habit of doing yoga daily; not sessions super intense nor super long, something easy and doable and yet effective for my mind and body. I am going to say it worked amazingly and I can feel this habit is already rooting deep through various layers of my life. Put it simply, it is working so well!

But I wasn’t always this motivated. I had the unhealthy habit of smoking for 7 years that I was able to quit recently. I am not gonna advice anyone or blame anyone, No! I’ve been there and I know how it feels when you crave to smoke and the fear of quitting & etc. I already got you. But I do want to share my story with you. Maybe it put a tiny sparkle of how to bring change to your life.

I was a heavy smoker; smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day, sometimes even a pack. Well I am still half way in my twenties, but I was feeling exhausted, depressed, anxious with a chain of obsessive thoughts. And the irony was I used to think smoking will help to cope, but now I am aware that smoking was the main cause of all of the above. It was a vicious loop. My obsession would cause me anxiety and then I wanted a cigarette to shut the thoughts down. For a few minutes, I got this false self image that I am doing something for my obsession but soon enough I would realise the problem is still there. I felt anxious again and then depressed. It got me truly haunted.

Haunted like a slave. I was a slave to this super useless, unhealthy habit of mine and it was costing me a lot, mentally and physically.

The question is how? How did it happen? Well, first  was that people around me, my friends, my family was complaining. I used to ignore them but deep down I believed I am unable to quit and they just don’t get it. Until I realised two of my friends, who were also heavy smoker did actually manage to quit. It got me thinking. Wait a minute.. if they did it, then it means… I … am …also able to quit! That simply, the narration took place in my mind. They also encouraged me. And I was looking at this from a different perspective now. From somewhere fair. I can do this. I can at least try! No, you can’t! Remember last time? You couldn’t even do it for more than 3 weeks, nope not possible. I took this to my friends again. One told me: If you love yourself enough you wouldn’t do this to your body anymore… it hit me hard! Ive heard it Many times before. But this time it hit me deeper than ever, cause I spent a lot of time on self love during the quarantine. I felt my self was like: Hell yeah! If you love me enough you would stop now, and I told to my inner voice: of course I love you. I lost so many dear people in my life, I can’t lost you too!

So I decided I am going to do it this time. I wanted this to happen in my life. And I did it!

Amazingly I was able to do it. I woke up the day after this conversation and I told my self I don’t need that cigarette after my morning coffee. I don’t need that after lunch. And so on.

My commitment was real. I even refused to catch up with some friends who I know would not encourage me on my decision. I got my self isolated more than before in order for this new important habit to develop and grow. Just like a baby, new habits need time and care to develop and stay. Don’t underestimate the power of 21 days and the power of being mindful to your decision when you are creating a new routine.

…Its more than 6 months now… after 7 years. That I haven’t smoke and I feel… healthy, so healthy! With enough energy to do the tasks during the day. To have a soft beautiful skin. To not stink all the time. But the most important effect was on my mental health. The obsession, the anxiety, the depression is… JUST… G.O.N.E! Like magic. Like a miracle. I am not saying this will be the case for each and every smoker, but to me at least it was. The cure of feeling better about my anxiety & etc. was not smoking but to quit smoking.

And since then I am feeling so much more confident in my ability that I can do everything I want to. I just need to develop the habit, not just for a single month but for each and every month through out the year… and yes I believe we all can develop healthy habits. Because I believe in human’s will power, I believe in the power of time and I believe in wanting something deeply, you can have it!

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