Read tips on how to quit smoking and stay free from the nicotine addiction
Smoking is a dangerous addiction, but there are helpful stop smoking aids
Smoking is one of the most common negative traits people all over the world have. Apart from causing serious health problems such as respiratory and cardiovascular issues, smoking can also cause numerous social and psychological problems. It is only good sense to quit smoking before one develops serious, fatal diseases. However, whether one is only a teenager and relatively new to this habit or one has been a lifetime smoker, giving up smoking can be a tough journey. If you are a smoker who is keen on giving up this habit, you need a giving up smoking plan that is tailored to meet all your needs. This plan will help you to quit smoking, manage your desire to light up a smoke and join numerous people all over the world who gave up the habit to have a more healthier life.
Why it seems so hard to quit smoking
Apart from being a physical addiction, smoking tobacco is also a psychological habit. Over a long period of time, smoking becomes a matter of daily ritual. The nicotine content in the cigarettes also creates a momentary, relaxing high for the smoker. Depriving the body of its daily dose of nicotine causes the body to go through symptoms of physical withdrawal as well as intense craving for a smoke. In order to quit smoking successfully, you will need to address the habit as well as the addiction by modifying your behavior and effectively dealing with the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
How to handle stressful feelings without cigarettes
A major reason why adults often take to smoking is to manage unpleasant and discomforting feelings such as depression, stress, loneliness, anxiety and fear. When a person is having a bad day, it may seem to him or her that cigarettes are his or her only friend. Lighting up a smoke can temporarily alleviate negative feelings like stress, sadness, depression, anxiety and boredom, making them all go away. However, even though smoking can offer you temporary comfort from such ill feelings, it is important to keep in mind that there are more effective and healthier ways to manage your feelings and keep unpleasant emotions in check. These more useful methods include meditating, exercising, using sensory relaxation and sensory deprivation techniques as well as practicing easy and simple breathing exercises.
An important challenge for many people eager to quit smoking is to adapt to new, alternative ways to cope up with such difficult feelings and not give in to the temptation to smoke again. It is worthwhile to remember that although a day might come when smoking is no longer something that you indulge in, the unpleasant feelings that actually prompted you to smoke might still be there. Hence it would be useful if you spend some time contemplating about the various ways you plan to manage stressful situations as well as the irritating sensations that would normally provoke you to reach for a cigarette.
Creating your very own stop smoking plan
Designing your very own personal plan to help you quit smoking can be a great help as it can help you to focus on your specific needs, priorities and desires. You may list the various reasons why you intend to quit smoking and then keep numerous copies of this list in the various places where you generally keep your cigarettes, for example, your jacket pocket, purse, or your car. The various reasons for which you might think it is important to quit smoking might include the following:
- You might consider it important to quit smoking as it will allow you to be more energetic and enjoy better oral hygiene (such as cleaner teeth and fresh breath).
- Quitting smoking lowers your risk of suffering from various fatal ailments such as heart attacks, cancers and strokes. It relieves you of the possibility of facing an earlier death, minimizes the chances of cataracts and guarantees healthier looking skin.
- Giving up smoking is certainly a major achievement which if you can accomplish successfully, will make your spouse, friends and family proud of you.
- You might also consider the health of your near and dear ones. Giving up smoking will not only save your health, it will also protect your loved ones from the perils of secondhand smoke.
- Giving up smoking will always guarantee a healthier baby for you and your partner.
- By not spending your money on buying cigarettes, you can save more money to spend on more fruitful purposes.
- You won’t have to worry about when you are going to get your next smoke.
Important things to consider while you give up smoking
In order to successfully detach yourself from your smoking habits, it is essential that you identify and address the true nature of your smoking habits. This will help you effectively graph the actual nature of your smoking dependency as well as ascertain the techniques that will work for you. The questions that you can ask yourself in the process include the following:
- Do you feel an urge to smoke after every meal?
- Do you describe yourself more like a social smoker?
- Are you a heavy smoker? Do you need a more intensive quitting plan? Or just using a nicotine patch will help you get rid of your smoking habits?
- Is your smoking habits linked to addictions of other forms such as alcoholism and gambling?
- Do you consider yourself open to alternate forms of treatment such as hypnotherapy and acupuncture?
- Are you ready to seek professional help from a counselor or a therapist who can help you to quit smoking?
- Are you eager to be a part of a fitness program?
You need to take the time and figure out what type of a smoker you are, when do you feel the need to light up a smoke, and why. This self-analysis will allow you to identify the tips, techniques and therapies that can prove to be the most effective for you.
Tips on how to stop smoking using a plan
Here are some tips that you can use when you are trying to quit smoking.
- Firstly, set a date on which you plan to quit smoking.
- Secondly, mention that you are planning to quit smoking to all your colleagues, friends and family as they may play an important role in your quitting program.
- Next, anticipate and prepare yourself for the challenges that you are going to face while you try to quit smoking.
- Fourthly, get rid of all cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco goods from the vicinity of your home, car and workplace.
- Finally, consult your family physician and get professional help while you are trying to quit smoking.
How to quit smoking as well as manage your cravings
Once you have quitted smoking, you may experience feelings of dizziness, restlessness and have intense headaches as you are lacking an immediate sugar release that you once derived from nicotine. An increase in your appetite may also be one of the side effects of quitting smoking. These cravings for sugar generally last for a few days as long as the body adjusts to a nicotine-free existence. Hence it is advisable to maintain your body’s sugar levels a tad higher than usual by drinking a lot of juices. This will prevent all craving symptoms and allow your body to gradually re-adjust to normal.
Tips for systematically managing other cravings along with cigarette
Many smokers feel an urge to light up a smoke as they finish a meal. For those individuals, giving up that habit can be a seriously challenging task. In these cases, instead of smoking it would be useful if you replace a cigarette with a small piece of fruit, or a block of chocolate, some healthy dessert or a gum.
Often people have a tendency to smoke while they are consuming alcoholic drinks. In order to avoid smoking, you can try drinking non-alcoholic drinks. You may also choose bars and places that serve alcohol but have restrictions when it comes to smoking. Snacking on chips and nuts while you are drinking or chewing on some cocktail stick or straw might also help in controlling the urges to smoke.
It can be difficult to give up smoking if your friends, family and colleagues are in the habit of smoking. This is why you should let them know of your quitting plans and that they need to cooperate with you in order to help you quit smoking. Instead of taking all your breaks with smokers, you may also choose to go for your breaks with some non-smoking friends.
Additional tips to handle withdrawal symptoms and tobacco cravings
Here are some tips to handle withdrawal symptoms and other psychological pressures that you might experience while you are trying to quit smoking.
- Always keep yourself active and occupied. Go for walks and runs.
- Try to keep your hands and fingers busy. Play with pencils and paper clips or squeeze balls; they will satisfy your craving for tactile stimulation.
- Try to keep your mind active and busy. Read a magazine or a book or enjoy some good music.
- Substitute a cigarette with something else such as a lozenge or a piece of chocolate when you feel like lighting up a smoke. Other suitable choices include gum, hard candy, mints, carrot, sunflower seeds and celery sticks.
- Drink plenty of water. Flushing all the toxins away from your body reduces your withdrawal symptoms and allows you to effectively deal with your craving for cigarettes.
Maintaining a craving journal
During the first week of your trying to quit, make entries in a log book to observe your daily progress. Keep a note of the moments when you feel an urge to smoke as these mood settings acts as triggers of smoking for you. Do you consider certain environments or people as triggers of smoking? How do you feel when you smoke? Try to find out some other activities that you would like to indulge in while you experience a similar mood. Later on, you can recapitulate the results of your observations and have a clearer idea of your progress.
Quitting smoking and weight gain
Many people find themselves concerned with the eventual weight gain they face after giving up smoking. Although it is a proven fact that people gain weight after they quit smoking, the weight gain is only marginal and is limited to only 3 to 5 pounds. This occurs as often the craving for nicotine is replaced by a desire to consume food. In order to maintain a healthy body weight, it is necessary to find other ways to cope up with withdrawal symptoms instead of just gorging on large amounts of food.
Fluctuations of mood while trying to stop smoking
Quitting smoking can cause nicotine withdrawal which can effectively lead to mood swings. These mood swings are especially more intense if you are in the habit of smoking cigarettes to relieve stress and calm your moods. In the first few weeks of quitting smoking, you will find yourself to be more frustrated, irritable, angry, restless and despondent than usual. Additional symptoms may include headaches, difficulty in sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms however, go away within one or two weeks as more and more toxins are flushed out of the body. After that you will find it easier to manage your moods. Inform your family and friends that you are in the process of quitting smoking and so you might experience irritant moods. This will allow others to be patient and understanding with your condition.
How to help a family member give up smoking
An important thing to remember is that you cannot forcibly make a loved one or a friend quit smoking; the decision should come from their side. However, you can offer your encouragement and support if an individual has decided to quit. Investigate the various options for treatment and discuss them with the smoker. Whatever you do, do not try to judge or preach to the smoker as it affects the self esteem and confidence of the individual. You can even encourage the smoker to pursue other fruitful activities that will occupy his or her mind and assist the smoker with oral substitutes such as candy or gum when he or she feels a craving for smoke.
If a family member relapses or slip back into old ways, don’t make him or her feel guilty. Try to boost their confidence by mentioning the time they spent without smoking and then encourage him or her to try once more. The majority of smokers does not make it in the first attempt and require numerous attempts to successfully quit smoking.
Giving up a long-held habit of smoking can be a challenging and a daunting task. However, with proper planning and application of will, an individual can successfully give up this habit for good.