By Jana Abelovska
You may have given up chocolate or sugar and even made a conscious effort to start exercising more, but did you know quitting smoking could be one of the most difficult of them all. We all know that smoking is bad for us, yet it is still a widespread habit that so many begin every year. The thought of stopping for many can seem overwhelming, and a year on year resolution isn't achieved. Smoking is a habit many take on for fun, just to try and experience what is it all about? However, it ends up being an addiction and quitting becomes imperative.
Coming back from a smoking addiction isn't easy. Whether you're used to smoking a pack a day or just a few cigarettes after meals, it'll present a challenge. Relapsing is quite a common phenomenon, but there are enough ways to prevent it. We've compiled 10 tips to help you stop smoking, which will surely help you become a victor in this fight against addiction.
1. Outline your reasons:
The most critical factor in successfully straying away from smoking addiction is having something on the line. Your mindset will decide how you perceive the process and how easy it is to stick with the plan until the end. Thus, it's essential to know what your motivation is. Addiction can invade all areas of your life and impact your functionality. So, finding a reason might not be too hard. You can begin by making a list of people who are concerned about you. They could be family or friends. Make a small note next to their names about how you'd like to celebrate with them after you've quit smoking and how happy they'll be. Likewise, you can add goals like getting a promotion at work by working hard, etc., to the list. This list will help you realise now and then how important quitting smoking is. You can make a habit of going through the list every morning so that it is fresh in your mind. This kind of motivation will genuinely help you pull through.
2. Identify your triggers:
The next step is to identify why exactly you smoke? What provokes it, and what doesn't? Sit down and think about what environments you usually smoke in. Is it usually the office? Do you smoke with a particular friend more than others? Do you crave a cigarette before or after every meal? Maybe you smoke as a deterrent against stress or anxiety. In any case, there's probably something that keeps pulling you in, making you indulge in the habit.
After you've identified your triggers, you should focus on avoiding them. This doesn't mean boycotting the situation altogether. For instance, if you have a habit of smoking at work, you can begin your plan to quit on the weekend and refrain from gathering near the smoking area during a break. If you have a habit of smoking with a particular friend, inform them of your goal to quit and arrange for a meeting in places where smoking is difficult, i.e., watching a movie or going to the gym together. This will help you in gaining better control over your triggers.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to go "cold turkey" on day one and nor is it suggested. Instead, you can build up to eliminating nicotine from your life step by step. A helpful way to do this, especially if you're highly drawn to nicotine, is to use other products. This practice is usually referred to as nicotine replacement therapy. You can begin by using nicotine patches or nicotine gum. They are readily available, effective and discreet. These products introduce nicotine to the body in low doses, so it is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes. If you find yourself in the habit of inhaling motion, you can opt for the Nicotine Inhalator. It will help with reducing cravings.
If you are looking for the most immediate way to stop smoking, Champix tablets are a good choice. The tablets include plant extracts, and their formula is aimed to make smoking less desirable and give you control over your cravings. These medications are safe to use, however they require a prescription which can be obtained by completing a short questionnaire on our website to ensure this treatment is suitable for you. Consulting your GP to get further advice on how to stop smoking is always recommended.
3. Go through the journey with a friend:
Quitting an addiction won't be easy, but an excellent way to stay on track is to have someone to hold you accountable. This could be a friend or a family member who also wants to stop smoking. You can begin your nicotine cleanse with them and check in every day or every week to see how the other person is holding up. If you think about breaking the chain and having a cigarette, remind yourself that you're not alone in this. You can encourage yourself to keep going strong for the sake of your withdrawal partner. You can also tell yourself how humiliated you would feel if they came to know that you'd given in to the addiction. These cycles of thought will reinforce why you felt the need to quit in the first place and why you need to keep going for your sake and your buddy's.
4. Do a clean sweep:
If you know there's a spare cigarette in your side drawer, you'll be all the more tempted to go and light it up. Everyone wants to be at a level where they can look at cigarettes and decide not to smoke them, but that kind of restraint takes a lot of time to master. This is a risk you shouldn't take at the start. Before you begin the process of letting go, you should discard the cigarettes from your house, your car, your office desk, or anywhere else you have been storing them. Initially, making sure you have zero contact with the product will be the best way to go. Even if you crave tobacco, you won't have access to it. Hence the chances of you relapsing will be thin.
5. Find a substitute hobby:
Smoking might have kept you from pursuing a hobby or two; you just wouldn't have realised it. Now you can utilise the time you spent on the balcony inhaling a cigarette towards something more fruitful, spend the time you spent smoking by taking up a new hobby. Why not make a money box and add to your piggy bank the amount you would spend on smoking every day and see how much you can save. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, turn to your new hobby instead and let all the frustration come out productively.
6. Get some exercise in:
Speaking of new hobbies, distancing from smoking is the perfect time to get into sports. Physical activity will help you cope with the weakness accompanied by nicotine withdrawal. Studies have also shown that exercise helps deal with cravings; you can start small, like a walk down the street when usually you would have gone outside and smoked or playing badminton with a family member. You can replace the adrenaline that your brain preserved for nicotine with a healthy activity that jogs your heart rate up and helps you feel more engaged.
7. Try meditating:
It's pretty standard for people to associate smoking with catharsis. Whenever they get stressed, they like to take out a cigarette as a coping mechanism. This is what makes recovery hard. You can't block anxiety and stress out of your life, and many people relapse during a challenging phase in their lives. However, there is a way to prevent this. By adopting safer coping mechanisms such as meditation or relaxation techniques, you can deal with stress in a better way. Try taking out 15-20 minutes every night to meditate or give it a go first thing in the morning. You can also turn to breathing exercises, yoga, regular stretches, or just anything that takes the edge off. These techniques will help you feel at ease and save you from the guilt of a relapse.
8. Add variety to your diet:
When dealing with withdrawal, you'll find yourself feeling weak or drained quite often. It's essential to be eating healthy at this point. Adding healthy options to your diet will boost your energy levels and help counter fatigue. It will be an excellent way to combat the health-related side effects of withdrawal, such as insomnia, an upset stomach, decreased heart rate, etc. Besides, suppose you had a habit of smoking before or after meals. In that case, you could concentrate on what you'll be eating instead and how enjoyable the experience will be instead of the cigarette you'll have before or afterwards.
9. Change your bevarages
You may not be aware, but studies have proven that certain bevarages, such as alcoholic bevarages, fizzy drinks, teas, and coffees, all make smoking ciggaretes more enjoyable. So make smart beverage changes, and start consuming more water and fresh juices or smoothies to your diet. Not only will this small change help you to stop smoking, but it will also have a positive impact on your health.
10. Keep a withdrawal journal:
A reliable way to track your progress is to keep a journal and update it every day. You can reach for the journal whenever you feel like smoking a cigarette and log your experience instead. Or you can sit down at the end of every day and write about how you managed to go another day without succumbing to the addiction. You can also take some time every week or whenever you feel down to go through previous entries and look at the progress you've made. It'll be easier to keep yourself from relapsing when you remind yourself how far you've come.
Addiction is a battle that entrenches you deeply. It takes a lot of energy and willpower to fight, but it's not an impossible feat. You can refer to these tips when you think you're about to slip up and go in for a smoke. Remember to begin with small steps and keep the journey easy for yourself. It won't be the most effortless journey, but you can get through it successfully if you stay on track and stay determined.