We all are aware of the health risks of smoking and the risk it poses to everyone around us. Despite this, it is not an easy task to quit smoking. Whether one is occasional or heavy smoker, quitting can be tough and time taking. It is both a physical and psychological habit. The nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporary and addictive high. Your body starts experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you stop the intake of nicotine.
When you feel the urge to use tobacco, it will probably pass within five to ten minutes whether you smoke a cigarette or not. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you are one step closer to quitting smoking.
There are a few simple but effective methods that will help you quit smoking:
Decide and Prepare for quit day
Once you have decided to quit smoking, set a quit date which is not very far. Set a date so that you get some time to prepare for quitting. Pen down reasons to quit smoking to motivate you when you get the craving to smoke. Also, stock up some oral substitutes during this period. Tell your friends and family about your quit date and ask them to not smoke around you if they smoke.
Identify and avoid smoking triggers
Use the time you get after deciding a quit day to identify your smoking triggers. It may include people, situations, feelings, activities, or an environment.
Make sure to stay away from these triggers when you plan to quit smoking. It is difficult but is extremely helpful. Try to bring a change in your daily routine so that you avoid the triggers. If you have friends with whom you smoke, ask them not to bring smoking in the discussions and not to ask you for smoking.
Manage Cigarette Cravings
Avoiding smoke triggers will reduce your urge to smoke but still you will get cravings. The good news is that these cravings do not last for more than five to ten minutes. Keep reminding yourself that the craving will soon pass.
You can do following activities to manage cravings:
Distract yourself : Watch TV, Call a friend
Get out of the tempting situation
Remind yourself why you quit
Use an oral substitute
Go some place where smoking is prohibited
Keep your hands and mind busy : Read books, play a game, squeeze balls, play some music
Don’t have ‘just one’
Even after all this, you might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy your tobacco craving but don’t fool yourself into believing that you can stop at just one. One will trigger another and then another. You might end up having it regularly.
Practice relaxation techniques
Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Resisting a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. To ease things, start practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music.
Call for Help
After trying all above techniques, if still you are finding it difficult to quit, make sure you opt for help. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help with withdrawal. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is one of the safe & effective therapies to quit smoking. It includes using nicotine gums, patches, inhalers, and nasal sprays to satisfy your nicotine cravings.
It relieves some of the withdrawal symptoms by delivering small and steady doses of nicotine into your body without the tars and poisonous gases found in cigarettes. This type of treatment helps you focus on breaking your psychological addiction and makes it easier to concentrate on learning new behaviors and coping skills. This will help you in reducing the cravings and eventually quitting.