Quitting smoking can be a difficult task, especially for those who have been smoking for years. Not only is the psychological dependence needed to be taken care of but also physical dependence.
The most difficult task in front of someone trying to quit smoking is getting over that craving, particularly when one is a chain smoker. The craving can really make your life hell if you’re not prepared to tackle them appropriately. Quitting smoking is a combination of strong will and apt tactics. Whenever that craving strikes, strike back. You just need to fight it for a while and it shall disappear on its own. The more cravings you fight, the more confidence you’ll get and it will get easier to finally quit smoking.
Here are some tips that shall make your life a lot easier through your quest for a healthier life by quitting smoking:
1. Decide a date and adhere to it
It’s important that to you are mentally prepared and have a strong resolution to quit. Give yourself some time to prepare yourself, as an unsuccessful campaign would make it more difficult to quit in the future. Decide a date when you’re going to quit it for good. My suggestion is to quit at once, rather than trying to reduce gradually over days. Stick to the date you’ve decided. No more ciggies after that.
Tell as much people about your quitting plans, as that would build a psychological and social pressure on you to stick to your plan. Also, you might convince others to join your campaign, and that makes the process easier for you. More the support, the better it is.
Also, get rid of everything that’s associated with smoking like the ashtray, lighter and extra cigarette packs you might have stocked.
2. Start a craving log
It’s necessary to do your homework well before the quitting day arrives. Start by keeping a record of every instance of smoke craving—what time and place it was, what you were doing, how intense it was, if you had a company, any specific triggers, what did you feel like before and after lighting up a cigarette. Once you know what the triggers for craving are, you might want to avoid them while on your quitting mission. For example, if you’re in habit of smoking right after a meal, try to engage yourself in another activity, or if you’re smoking on your route to workplace, you might try listening to music or read a book instead.
Continue recording the log even when you’re in the middle of your quitting smoke mission. The difference would be that you’ll no longer be recording how you felt after smoking. The success of fighting a craving would make you stronger to keep fighting it.
3. Tell your mind to wait
If someday you have a strong craving and you’re just about to give up, tell your mind to wait for ten more minutes. In the meanwhile keep your mind focused elsewhere, engage yourself in another activity, preferably something engrossing. By the time those ten minutes end, you’d probably forget about the craving.
4. Find a reason to motivate yourself
Having a motif behind quitting would make your path easier. For example, you want to quit because your girlfriend doesn’t want you to smoke, or you’re planning a pregnancy and thus want to do it for the child’s health. Find yourself a reason to keep motivated. If there is nothing else the need to keep your body healthy is a strong motif in itself. Make use of them to build your will stronger.
5. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
Many smokers combine smoking with alcohol or coffee on a regular basis. Gradually, that becomes a habit, a practice. Now, when you’re quitting cigarettes having alcohol would aggravate your craving, since in your mind taking alcohol is associated with smoking. Thus avoid alcohol. And, coffee or anything associated with your smoking habit too. Otherwise be prepared to fight a stronger urge.
Moreover, taking alcohol beyond limits is in itself harmful for the body, thus avoiding alcohol to quit smoking would have health benefits from consuming less alcohol. Gradually when the association is broken, you may resume (though not recommended) as before.
6. Nicotine replacement therapy
You should consult your doctor to learn about the anti-smoking options you’ve got. Nicotine replacement helps you deal with cravings better. In fact, research says that NRT increases the chances of quitting smoking by 50-70%. Some anti-smoking products like patches, gums or lozenges are available over the counter, while nicotine nasal spray and inhalers can be bought with a prescription. Also, there are other drugs that help in quitting smoking like varenicline and bupropion.
7. Chewing helps
Even if you chew regular gums or hard candies, they’re going to help you deal with craving better. The idea is to keep your mouth busy, so that your mind has lesser time to think about smoking.
8. Avoid “Just one” of those cigarettes
Sometimes you may have a strong temptation to have just one cigarette. Well, it never stops at one. It just makes a hole in your determination and you end with more and more, failing your quitting plan entirely. So say “NO” to “Just one”.
9. Be physically active
Physical activities helps in both taking your mind off the cravings and decreasing their intensity. Jogging or walking has great effects. If somehow you’re unable to go outside then working out at home or even engaging in one or another activity including house chores is a good thing.
10. Relaxation techniques or yoga
Quitting smoking might prove a bit too stressful. Relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing exercises, massage, hypnosis, or muscle relaxation are great stress busters. Practicing one or more of them is going to making your life easier.
11. Join support group or seek support from family and friends
It’s important you keep your family and friends with you through the course for moral support. Get in touch with people (of course, not the ones who might provoke you to smoke) through get-togethers, calls, or social network. Joining support groups both in the real world and online would encourage you to continue your campaigns more strongly.
In the end the success of your ‘No Smoking’ quest depends upon the strength of your determination and your ability to cope with the cravings. You must keep reminding yourself of the benefits on not smoking, not just for you but also for the others around you. When you’ve spent some time without smoking, pat yourself and continue the good work.
[Also read: Reasons Why You Should Quit Smoking Tobacco Immediately ]