Everyone knows the dangers and risks of smoking but this doesn’t make it any easier to quit. Whether you smoke occasionally or you go through multiple packs a day, quitting can be a challenge that not everyone is ready to face.
Understanding what ‘Smoking’ does
Having an addiction to smoking is both physical and psychological. The nicotine contained in tobacco provides a temporary and addictive ‘high’ which can lead to a better chance within withdrawal symptoms, only if you are suddenly to cut it out of your regular routine. Because nicotine causes you to feel good temporarily, your brain will start to associate smoking cigarettes with the elimination of stress and a way to make you feel better if you are feeling stressed or in need of something to make you feel better.
People start smoking as a way to cope with stress, depression, anxiety and sometimes purely because of boredom or as a way to socialise. To effectively quit, you may find that you need to look to different, healthier ways to cope with these feelings. If you smoke regularly, the habit can be ingrained into you as a daily ritual and may start to become an automatic response during certain periods or times of the day.
To effectively quit smoking, you must first address that you have an addiction as well as the habits and routines that come with it. It is possible for anyone to quit, no matter how much or how often they smoke, and with the right support, you can create a plan to kick the addiction. Even if things seem hopeless and you’ve tried to quit before with no luck there is still time and it is never too late to try again.
Tips to Quit Smoking
Create a List of Reasons to Quit
You could start the list with things like ‘it shortens my lifespan’, ‘my family wants to see me healthy’ or ‘it will save me money’ etc. and keep adding to it whenever you come up with another reason until you are completely satisfied. Once you have created this list, keep reverting to it and reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up the habit. When times get tough, and they will, take out the list and read it whenever you need support.
Make Friends With People Who Don’t Smoke
This can be one of the hardest tasks to follow as there are a lot of people who smoke out there. It can also be really tough not to hang around with your friends who do smoke or follow them out when they go for one. You shouldn’t cut these friends off however, you should try and choose times to see them in settings where it is difficult to smoke or you could ask them to smoke away from you.
When you look over at people who are smoking, you should try and dissociate yourselves from them and think of yourself as a non-smoking individual. Try and ingrain into your mind how dirty the habit is and think yourself lucky that you are no longer damaging yourself like they are. Be around people who constantly remind you how good you are doing and who will discourage you from smoking if you are feeling as though you are going to relapse.
Make a Plan to Quit
Make a promise to yourself, set a date for when you want to quit by and stick to it religiously. Start by cutting down little by little until you start to notice that you don’t need as many cigarettes as you once did. Keep cutting down until you completely stop, once you do you should make sure that you don’t sneak in a cigarette every now and then as this can lead to a full relapse and then you are back at square one.
Identify When You Get Cravings
Certain things and certain places can cause you to crave cigarettes. This can be anything from waking up in the morning to going outside, make sure that when you do get a craving you identify it and jot it down somewhere so you don’t forget. Cravings can last up to five minutes, so, make a list of things you could be doing in those five minutes instead so that you have something in place to replace cigarettes as a temporary pleasure.
You should seek support from friends, family or if you feel like you need professional support you shouldn’t be scared to ask. If you know of others in your family or friend group that want to quit you should suggest that you try quitting together so that you have someone who is going through the same experience to rely on.
There is support available from your local stop smoking service at all times. You are up to four times more likely to quit if you seek expert help and advice so don’t be afraid to call the NHS Smokefree helpline which is 0300 123 1044. They are open Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 8 PM and Saturday to Sunday, 11 AM to 4 PM.
Consider Changing Your Diet
Some studies have found that some foods, which include meat, can make cigarettes feel more satisfying. This is especially true if you regularly smoke after having a meal or eating your favourite foods.
Other foods, like cheese, fruit and vegetables can actually make cigarettes taste worse and make them less satisfying. Try and swap your meals where you can for vegetarian options and try and stick to foods that help you hate having a cigarette afterwards. This simple fix can do wonders and soon enough you might end up finding that you don’t even want a cigarette at all.
You might also want to consider changing your routine at or after mealtimes. By keeping yourself occupied doing the dishes or settling down and watching TV you may find that you o longer need to go out for a smoke as often or at all.