It’s no secret that smoking is detrimental to your health with all the warnings plastered over the box. Studies show that smoking causes health problems such as lung cancer, respiratory infections, and poor oral hygiene among others.
So with the negativity surrounding smoking why can’t you quit? You’ve probably tried to stop more times than you can count and have failed each time.
It’s not easy to break an addiction when you want to do it in a day.
However, healing and regaining back your health is within your reach no matter how far your addiction to smoking may have gone.
The guide will help you understand why you keep struggling and how to end the habit for good finally.
1. Figure Out Why You Want to Quit
Why do you smoke?
You can start by writing down whatever reason that comes to your mind. It could be you enjoy smoking, or you must smoke to function. Take your time and analyze each idea and decide whether it’s an addiction or just an excuse to smoke.
It is the first step and probably one of the hardest you’ll have to take when it comes to breaking your addiction.
But it’s the most important of all.
2. Be Aware of Your Triggers
The moment you decide to stop smoking, take your time to understand what might trigger you to relapse and smoke again.
Keep note of when and where you smoke and if possible the number of cigarettes you burn. It’s also important to include activities you are doing at that particular time. It could range from, before a shower, stuck in traffic, lunch break to before bed.
Triggers could include alcohol or other smokers including your workmates or friends.
3. Set a Quit Date
It may sound irrelevant but setting a doing this makes you focused and enables you to work toward your goals within a given period.
Picking a specific date rather than a day is more practical, and you’ll hold yourself accountable. After you select it, don’t push it forward. Look forward to this day think about what you’ll gain and not what you’re giving up.
So go through your calendar, pick a date and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Ask for Help
When you believe you are ready for the big date, seek out your friends and close family members and inform them of your intentions. You’ll need their support more than anything when the withdrawal kicks in.
Let them be aware why it’s important to you and if possible, let them know how they’ll be of help. Don’t feel ashamed about asking for help. It may also be in the form of counselling.
5. Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
You can decide to use nicotine in the form of pills, gum, lozenges or skin patch. These options enable you to taper down on your nicotine levels hence reducing your dependency. Replacement therapy makes the transition to quitting easier.
You can consult with your physician on the available and suitable methods you can use.
6. Choose a Reward
Working towards a specific goal with a reward attached to it is much more motivating, and it will give you the extra push to achieve it. Whenever you beat the craving, reward yourself. It could be a trip to your favorite restaurant or a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
7. Rehydrate Yourself
Taking a glass of water sip by sip will help you beat that craving. Drinking enough water will also reduce the symptoms of nicotine once withdrawal sets in.
9. Don’t Give Up
Once you decide to quit smoking, it will get hard at first before your body gets accustomed to the whole process. It takes between 3-4 days for nicotine to clear in your system then the withdrawal kicks in.
It’s usually intense during the first two weeks characterized by feelings of irritability, headaches, anxiety, coughing, insomnia, depression, and dizziness. Dealing with all this can be quite hard, and you might prefer going back to smoking.
Keep at it and remind yourself that it’s always darkest before the dawn. These effects will eventually wear off. So keep doing it and don’t give up.
9. Be Active
Consider creating a fitness habit that will make you disciplined and get you closer to your goal. Sign up for a gym membership, learn yoga, do a workout at home or take a walk to stay active.
Build a healthier habit to break an addiction. Start slowly then increase your pace with time.
10. Eat Healthily
When you quit smoking, you may experience pangs of hunger since nicotine suppresses your appetite. Clean and healthy eating will enable you to regain back your health.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Avoid sugary and highly processed foods which can reinforce your nicotine addiction.
11. Learn Relaxation Techniques
It is equally important, and it helps calm you down. It could be a warm shower or meditating. Incorporate breathing exercises into your routine.
12. Adapt Alternative Therapies
Apart from nicotine replacement therapy, you can adopt several other treatments to get you through the toughest of days. These include:
- Acupuncture which triggers the release of endorphins relaxing your body.
- Hypnosis enables you to shift into a deeply relaxed state where you can focus on why you’re quitting and the negative aspects of smoking.
13. Maintenance Strategies
You finally decided to quit smoking. But will you stick by the gun and follow it through? It’s common for a smoker to relapse and falls back into old habits, and that’s why you need to find coping mechanisms.
First of all, acknowledge your efforts to quit. Celebrate your victories no matter how small, focus more on the positives. Avoid stress since this can trigger a relapse and when you have a regression, think of the much you can achieve by quitting and keep going.
The Bottom Line
Don’t beat yourself up, and it’s equally difficult for everyone else. Take your time, adopt healthy habits and exercise patience. Accept if you fail and start all over again. You’ll eventually regain your health.