You’ve finally quit smoking, congratulations! Doctors say you are adding years to your life by quitting, and your general health will improve as well. Millions of deaths every year are attributed to tobacco related illnesses and diseases. But you already knew that, that’s why you wanted to quit, right? Well, that and the expense and the smell and that pesky cough and all your food tastes funny…
Now comes the tough part, staying quit. So many of your habits are built around having a cigarette. You might have one when stressed, or while drinking your coffee, or while out at a bar having a drink with friends. All these triggers will make it tough to stay quit. And after the first day you start to get those strong cravings for just one more cigarette. Don’t give in, you can beat this! Here’s some ideas on how you can do it.
Put It Off
Delaying for just a few minutes is a highly effective way to get through your cravings. You may not realize it, but the impulse to smoke, the craving, only lasts about three to five minutes. It may feel a lot longer, but just waiting it out is possible since they are so short.
To give yourself an extra advantage, try putting yourself in a situation where you can’t smoke. Go to a non-smoking zone, take a shower, ride in an elevator. Just make it tough for you to smoke for a few minutes and the craving will go away. This is one of the most effective but overlooked methods to beat cigarette cravings.
Look, A Squirrel!
Providing distractions from your craving can keep your mind busy with other things. There are huge number of things you can do to keep your mind off the cravings. Play a quick game on your phone, read a book, exercise, clean a room, eat a healthy snack, knit. The best distractions occupy your mind, your body, and especially your hands.
Try to find things that keep all three working together so you don’t have the attention to spare for smoking. Doodling or drawing can be a great activity if you enjoy those. Another is to make lists. List all the reasons you are quitting smoking. List the advantages you gain by quitting. Count your blessings and write them down. Just keep your mind and hands occupied.
I’d Like to Use A Help Line
Having support for when the cravings hit means you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are a number of online groups you can reach out to when you have trouble. You can get a quitting buddy who is giving up smoking at the same time you are. You could even be part of a group all quitting at the same time for mutual support. But if none of these people are around don’t forget your phone.
Call a friend, or someone in your family, and chat. Tell them you’re having a craving and need a little support to get through it. They don’t have to do much, remember, the craving will fade in five minutes or so. You could talk about the weather, weekend plans, or how good it will feel when you are past the quitting stage and on to the ex-smoker stage. Let your friends or quitting buddies know you might need help and to be prepared for your call. And do the same for them if they need it.
Pull A Switcheroo
Some cravings are purely physical and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can help with these. There are a number of ways of delivering nicotine into the body. Gums, patches, and vaping are just three of them. Any of these will help with the purely physical withdrawal symptoms, but vaping is a good one as it substitutes a very similar habit for smoking. Brands like SMOK make a wide array of vaping units and many different fluids are available to choose from.
As you need less support for nicotine withdrawal you can switch to a liquid with less or no nicotine. The physical act of vaping and the social routine of it both resemble smoking a great deal, so this can also help with the behavioral cravings that come with quitting.
Remember that your mind will create rationalizations for you as part of your cravings. You might feel that only one more cigarette can’t hurt. But one cigarette will probably lead to two, and you may lose all the ground you have gained from quitting. If you really want to stop smoking, do it right the first time, you certainly don’t want to go through this more than once.
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