Smoking is one of the most common activities around the world starting from ages as early as 13 or younger. The effects of smoking can be strongly addictive for the human body, but it also causes several afflictions such as lung failure, throat, tongue and pulmonary cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. If you’ve been giving the idea of quitting smoking a lot of thought, check out this article to find out how to get rid of this bad habit once and for all.
Find a Powerful Reason
The first step in quitting smoking needs to come from very deep inside you. It’s important that you have a motive, and it should be powerful enough for you to stick to your goal and make it happen. Some people say you must do it only for yourself, but the truth is, whenever your loved ones come into the picture, it can be a much stronger motivation for you.
Let’s say you want to quit smoking to give a better example to your children because you live with a sick relative and the smoke might be detrimental for them, or even something as simple as wanting to find a mate and this habit makes it difficult. When you have a reason, thinking about the reward of quitting can be enough to move on.
Go to Support Groups
When you start to quit smoking, you’ll realize that whenever you’re alone, bored or with nothing else to do, you’ll suddenly have bigger cravings to reach for a cigarette. To prevent this from happening, it’s better if you make sure to always be surrounded by people or, engaging in a lot of “teamwork” activities, whether it’s at the office, at home or in meetings with friends.
In addition to this, we highly recommend reaching out to support groups, because you’ll not only have company, you’ll also be surrounded by people who are going through the same thing as you; and you’ll be able to share your experience with people who really get you.
Use NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
Nicotine is an ingredient in all cigarettes, and it’s solely responsible for creating an addiction in your body. Nicotine addiction is so powerful that one of the main effects of smoking is wanting to give up after just a few days of quitting it. If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and you’ve realized just how hard nicotine is making it for you, you might want to try some NRT.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a way of giving your body a controlled dose of nicotine to prevent the urge to smoke. However, since it’s still an addictive substance that you’re putting in your body, you should check with your doctor for the right dosage and duration of treatment. NRT can come in the shape of skin patches, chewing gum, lozenges, nasal spray or inhalers.
Switch to E-Cigarettes (Electronic Cigarettes)
While some people decide to quit “cold turkey” and just get rid of their cigarettes overnight, other people might find this also impossible. An option for you might be to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke during the day. Set a date to finally stop and from that moment start reducing your cigarettes day-by-day. Another option for those who don’t want to quit overnight is to make a switch to e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes).
These devices don’t involve combustion; thus, they don’t put harmful smoke into your lungs. They also don’t contain tobacco, a highly dangerous compound. However, e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are still not ideal, so you might want to make this switch temporary until you can finally quit it all.
Choose an Oral Substitute
As we mentioned before, when you quit smoking it’s pretty common to have cravings, urges or anxiety to have a cigarette in your fingers and between your lips. Most people have found it useful to pick an oral substitute to “distract” their mouths. You can choose sugar-free bubblegum, lollipops or tiny candies. When you quit smoking, it’s expected that you’ll gain some weight because the body looks for a way of filling your withdrawal, so you’ll need to be careful with your meals and snacks as well.
Ask Your Doctor for Non-Nicotine Medication
If you want to stay as far away as possible from nicotine on your journey to quit smoking, there are currently two different medications that are nicotine-free but still aid with the withdrawal symptoms. They’re called bupropion and varenicline. Both act directly on your brain’s nicotine receptors to reduce the pleasure that nicotine gives and to ease your cravings. They’ve shown great results on patients so they might be a good option for you to discuss with your doctor.
Mindfulness and Meditation
For those who don’t know, mindfulness is a new type of meditation that mostly focuses on the importance of living in the present moment and leaving all past and future worries asides. Keeping this in mind, meditation and mindfulness sessions can help you calm your mind when cravings are being too hard to control.
It’s also important that you get rid of the physical triggers that used to remind you of smoking, such as your lighter, all of your ashtrays and, of course, any cigarettes that you still have laying around. Meditation eases anxiety and it can help you focus on your main goal which is to improve your health and habits.
Some people are looking to make a radical change of lifestyle and stay away from all chemical ingredients and compounds, and this might also include medicine to help quit smoking. If this is your case, there are plenty of alternative medicines and therapies to try on your journey. Homeopathic medicine can improve your cravings, acupuncture can help ease anxiety and there are even herbal remedies such as the Salvia divinorum, which has been studied by scientists and proven to have great effects on the brain to treat addictions.
Hypnosis is a not-so-new technique used by psychologists and therapists to help people cope with, and get rid of, different types of addictions, including cigarettes. Hypnosis has a 50% success rate when followed properly and constantly.
When the person is going through hypnosis, it can help reduce their anxiety that leads to cravings and it can even make you find the root cause of your addiction and “heal” any past situations that made you start smoking in the first place. Even if you think you need a physical stimulant to quit smoking, hypnosis is a great complementary therapy to be in a better mood while going through this.
Distract Yourself When Cravings Hit
Just 3 days after you quit smoking, your body will start to be free of nicotine for the first time in a while. This absence of nicotine will inevitably lead to withdrawal, which gives you huge cravings, headaches and keeps you in a really bad mood. When you feel like cravings are starting to hit, it’s important to not give in to them, so you must find a powerful distractor and stick to it. You can pick up a book and start reading, play some video games, watch TV, go out for a walk with your dog or even call a close friend to ease your mind from the cravings.
Besides smoking being a highly addictive habit, it can also lead to serious health issues in the mid-term future. If you took the first step and now realize you need to get rid of cigarettes for good, now is the right time to follow our easy tips and quit smoking completely to improve your quality of life. Remember that the perfect time to start is today!