Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is definitely a rewarding experience as you take steps toward a healthier you. Here are five tips that you can follow, as well as some things that you can do in case you’re having a really tough time on your journey to quitting smoking.
Start slowly, but be persistent
If you want to quit smoking, you have to really start slowly. It may feel impossible, both mentally and physically to quit initially. It’s not easy to break the habit, and when you actually cut yourself off from smoking, you could have withdrawal symptoms that might be counterproductive to quitting. That is why you have to take one step at a time.
In order for you to be successful in your effort, you have to be strategic in trying to beat the smoking habit right out of your routine. It starts by you choosing to reduce your intake slowly, rather than trying to quit cold turkey. Stop buying cartons, maybe just buy one pack at a time. You’ll find that when you want a smoke, you won’t have any immediately available. In this way, you can slowly wean your consumption down to fewer cigarettes than you’d usually expect.
Of course, commit to the fact that you need to slowly reduce your cigarette intake to a point where you no longer crave for it and eventually, no longer depend on it.
Keeping a list and taking down notes
Being more organized and detailed as a smoker can help you along on this journey. A week before you finally start to quit smoking, start keeping a list of the times when you smoke. This gives you more reliable data on how much change you should plan for yourself. On top of this, create a workable schedule for your quitting so that you can establish a deadline for yourself.
Also, include in your notes what you’re doing at the time you feel like smoking and how bad the craving is to see if specific times of the day or activities increase your cravings. This would serve as your guide as to what triggers your addiction throughout the day.
For everyone who smokes, there are certain triggers that cause you to crave cigarettes more than you would in most situations. For some people, that trigger is a stressful situation. For others, they simply have a set time and place where they smoke, perhaps when they are on a break from work or when they are talking on the phone.
As you quit smoking, these triggers become even more powerful at creating cravings. If you want to stop yourself from giving in to them, you need to ensure that the triggers never activate. This means that you need to actively avoid situations that make you feel like you need a cigarette. More importantly, if you are used to having a cigarette during a routine activity you do every day, you need to occupy yourself during those times to ensure success.
A big part of the journey when quitting is also about knowing what your temptations are and resisting them. There are things that you can do as alternatives to cigarette hits when the cravings creep in. If you would normally smoke while on the phone, try keeping a pen and paper handy to just doodle and scribble while you talk. If you would smoke on your lunch break, do something to keep yourself engaged and distracted from smoking during that time.
It’s also good to keep a list of things that can help you go through such triggers. If you can write down or keep a running list of things that you can do in case a craving starts, that would be a nice start. You can include the following: take a walk, drink a glass of water, play a game, chew a piece of gum, wash your face, practice your deep breathing, or really anything else that can keep your mind away from smoking.
When that’s done, make copies of the list and keep one with you at all times so that when the craving hits, you can whip out the list and quickly do something from it.
Trying out nicotine replacements
More people successfully quit smoking when they use some sort of nicotine therapy as compared to any other measure. This may include applying a nicotine patch, using nicotine lozenges, or any other form of nicotine therapy.
What this does is reduce the amount of nicotine going into your body. Gradually, you decrease the amounts you are taking each day and finally get rid of the nicotine and nicotine replacement entirely. This weans your body off of smoking slowly without having to just cut back on cigarettes over time.
You may still feel the effects of nicotine on your body, but you won’t be suffering from all the negative effects of smoking a cigarette. It’s not the safest way to quit smoking, but it works the best for a large percentage of people who are trying to quit smoking.
Vaping is also a viable option. Trying out natural dry herb vapes or e-cigarettes can go a long way in helping you get out of your smoking habit.
Vaping helps simulate the psychological attachment you’ve developed with the act of smoking a cigarette. The act of smoking and the rituals that make it up are a big part of what the smoker is actually addicted to. When you’re vaping, you go through those familiar motions attached to smoking. In doing so, you maintain that muscle memory you’ve created from smoking over the years, but at the same time, you eliminate actually taking in smoke from tobacco.
Choosing Healthy Snacks to Get Rid of the Nicotine Dependence.
In place of smoking cigarettes, try getting into the habit of eating sunflower seeds, sugar-free lollipops, any type of gum, or even carrot or celery sticks (if you’re concerned about weight gain). You can also switch your cigarette habit for a nut habit – eat four nuts from their shell for every cigarette you want to smoke. This way, you’re using your hands and your mouth, getting the same physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.
Whenever you’re at home or in the office, you can look into drinking tea. The act of brewing the tea and slowly sipping it as it cools provide the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine. You can also carry cinnamon-flavored toothpicks and suck on one whenever a cig craving hits.
Similarly, ginseng is an effective alternative. Studies have shown that ginseng prevents the “pleasure” neurotransmitter dopamine from being released when you have a cigarette. When taken weekly, it can cut back on the level of enjoyment you get from cigarettes.
You can also try drinking milk. According to a Duke University study, smokers who drank a glass of milk prior to smoking thought that the cigarette tasted terrible, with a bitter aftertaste. Try to drink milk every time you have a craving. Before you know it, the thought of cigarettes will soon become more unpleasant for you.
While it’s not generally a healthy option, salty snacks can also be a go-to option to fend off cravings. Some people find that eating something salty — be it chips, pretzels, or just a fingertip full of salt — can help fend off cravings. Then again, you have to be mindful of these salty foods because too much salt can be bad for your health as well.