We have all heard the phrase “smoking is injurious to health” a gazillion times. Right from the hazards of smoking signs to disclaimers on cigarette packages, we have seen it everywhere. Quitting smoking can be tough, but it is not impossible. It does have its own perks such as a healthy body and smoke-free lungs. It can be equally challenging to quit smoking for chain smokers as well as occasional ones. Cigarettes contain nicotine that is a quick way to relieve stress and unwind. However, smoking comes with numerous health hazards that may be irreversible. So, if you’re trying to quit smoking, here are a few tips that can help you cope with the withdrawal symptoms, manage the cravings, and lead a healthy life.
Get rid of triggers
One of the first things to go about it is to eliminate triggers. Clean your house and get rid of every cigarette, ashtrays, and smoke odors, basically everything that can trigger your craving for smoking. Check your car and remove the cigarettes from there too. If you are living with someone who is a smoker and does not plan to give up, ask them to smoke when you aren’t around. Some people smoke after their meal, or when they are with friends or co-workers. If you too have such triggers, make a personal plan where you can add alternatives for smoking during these times. Try eating a healthy dessert or a fruit instead and at the workplace, go for breaks with non-smokers.
Give your quitting schedule some time
It is difficult to give up on smoking immediately. The entire quitting phase can be worse when you are a chain smoker. Although the cravings for smoking would not go away overnight, you will need to know when to stop thinking about it. Smokers who get back to smoking even after quitting it do so within the first three months. The first few months are probably the toughest. In some cases, even after several years, one may have occasional cravings for a cigarette, which is a normal feeling. But do not give up. You need to give your mind and body enough time to process the entire quitting cycle and your cravings will eventually end.
When you are trying to quit smoking, it is important to be patient during the process. There is no room for self-blame. In case you start smoking again, there is no need to think that it is a failure. Moreover, relapse in such cases is common. The whole ‘quit smoking process’ is a learning cycle. The important thing to do here is to figure out the reason for the relapse. Once you know what led to the relapse, start making a new plan and work towards it.
Managing the cravings
Avoiding triggers of smoking can help in reducing the urge to smoke but dodging the cravings completely can be a bit tricky. Thankfully, cravings only last for five to ten minutes and you can easily manage it by implementing a few tips on quitting smoking and managing the cravings. When you are tempted to smoke, remind yourself that it will only last for a few minutes. You can also remind yourself of the few benefits of not smoking and how quitting can help your body stay healthy.
Some ways to help yourself manage these cravings include-
- Distracting yourself
- Reminding yourself the reason why you quit
- Rewarding yourself
Plan for unknown situations
Certain environments may trigger the need for smoking. For instance, drinking alcohol at a party makes a smoker want to light up a cigarette. In such situations, help yourself by asking your friends to remind you to not smoke and keep you accountable. Planning for such situations well in advance will not only help you to be smoke-free but also stay engaged and distracted with friends. However, avoiding such situations for a couple of weeks or months may also look like a better idea.
Practice relaxation techniques
For some, smoking is a way to deal with stress. It is also true that fighting the craving for smoking can be extremely stressful too. Practicing a few relaxation methods such as meditation, muscle relaxation, deep-breathing exercises, massage or yoga can help in relieving stress and calming the mind.
Nicotine replacement therapy
Some medications help in easing the withdrawal symptoms and reducing the cravings. These smoking cessation medications work best along with other tips for quitting smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy replaces cigarettes with other substitutes. These include nicotine patches, inhalers, gums, lozenges, or nasal sprays. The therapy helps in adding very small and steady amounts of nicotine in the body, minus the poisonous gases and tar that are found in cigarettes. Therapies such as nicotine replacement make it simpler to concentrate on coping skills and learning new behaviors. It also lets you focus on breaking psychological addiction.