Kick the Habit Kick the Habit
Kick the Habit
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but smoking is really bad for you. There is literally not one good reason to take up smoking, let alone keep doing it day after day. It can cause cancer, heart disease, asthma, stroke and a whole host of very serious health issues, so taking steps to give up really is in yours and your family’s best interests.
Of course, I know that giving up smoking is not easy. Thousands of people try and fail to do that each and every day, but because nicotine is so addictive and the habits surrounding smoking are so ingrained, it isn’t long before they fall off the wagon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to quit though. In fact, no matter how many times you try and fail to give up smoking, you should pick yourself up and try again. After all, you want to live a long healthy life right?
If you want to give up smoking, but you just don’t know where to start, here are some solid tips to help you finally kick the habit for good:
Take a Positive Attitude
If you go into this feeling defeated before you’ve already started, letting the doubts and the negative attitudes take hold of you, it will only be a matter of time before you’re off the wagon and smoking again. It’s important that you do whatever you can to psyche yourself up and think positively about your chances of quitting. I mean, millions of people have successfully given up smoking in the past, so it is possible, and there’s no reason why you can’t do it.
Have a Plan
If you’re serious about giving up the cigarettes, you really need to have a plan in place. If you don’t know what you’re doing or how you’re going to do it, you’re only setting yourself up for failures. As a minimum, you should aim to set a date and time after which you will give up, and you should make plans to distract you or keep you busy should you feel like smoking. Things like taking a walk or eating a healthy snack, are good alternatives to smoking, and although they won’t be as good at first, you’ll soon get used to them, and it’ll feel like second nature.
Make Dietary Changes
This won’t apply to everyone reading this, but many smokers find that certain foods make cigarettes taste better while others make them taste worse. In the early stages of giving up then, it might be good to switch up your diet so that you’re eating more of the foods that make smoking less pleasant and fewer fog the ones that make you crave a cigarette.
Another point about food, many people find that they crave more junk foods when they’re trying to quit the habit, and although replacing a cigarette with a boiled sweet might not do any harm in the short term, and may actually be very helpful, it’s not a good idea to replace smoking with excessive eating because that will just lead to a whole new set of health problems.
Wait Five Minutes
Studies have shown that the craving for a cigarette usually lasts around five minutes on average. That means, if you can wait it out for five minutes instead of giving in, you should be fine. Of course, just waiting it out alone will not help, which is why you should make a list of lots of little five-minute tasks you can do to take your mind off the craving. These could be minor household chores, DIY projects or something fun like calling a friend or doing a puzzle, but make sure you have something in place to get you through those difficult five-minute moments.
Try an E-Cigarette
Many smokers have had great success in kicking the habit for good by switching to electronic cigarettes. That way, they can still get the nicotine their body craves and indulge in the smoking ritual without having to worry about the nasty chemicals that come with smoking tobacco. The great thing about using electronic cigarettes is that you can get many flavors, so whether you enjoy Minty Vapes or fruity flavors, there will always be something for you to enjoy. Eventually, you might find that you’re relying on the e-cig less and less and there will come a point when you give up smoking altogether. It’s a great feeling to have.
If you desperately want to quit, but you’re finding it tough to do so, there is absolutely no shame in seeking external help. One thing you could do is ask friends and family to keep an eye on you and distract you when it looks like you want to smoke. You could also call them for a chat and a pep talk whenever you’re feeling weak to keep you on the right track.
Alternatively, there are a lot of great health professionals and organizations out there who will be only too happy to help you give up the cigarettes once and for all. Get in touch with them if you need any help or advice, and they will almost certainly have some pointers to help you out.
I know, I know, exercise is billed as the solution to pretty much every problem these days, but when it comes to kicking the habit, it really can help. In fact, scientific studies have determined that exercising, even if it’s just a walk around the block or a few minute spent stretching, can assist the brain in creating anti-craving chemicals that could make giving up your favorite vice that bit easier on you.
Hang Out with Non-Smokers
Obviously, I’m not telling you to ditch your friends who are smokers, but if you’re finding it tough in those first days of kicking the habit, it will almost certainly be beneficial for you to hang out with non-smokers because if you are around lots of people who are smoking, the temptation could prove to be too much for you and you could so easily fall off the wagon despite your best efforts.
It’s tough when you’re giving up smoking to also give up alcohol, and it can feel like all of the fun’s being sucked out of your life, but here’s the thing, a lot of people are much more tempted to smoke when they’re drunk. In fact, a lot of people who don’t smoke in their daily life will light up when they’re out drinking. If you know that alcohol is something that leads you to smoke, either give up or drink only small quantities until you have the craving under control.
List Your Reasons
Another thing that many ex-smokers have found helpful in the past is to create a list of reasons why they would be better off smoking. This could include things like improved health, more money to spare and a longer life, or it could be something completely different, just make sure the items on your list are meaningful to you. Once you’ve written your list, pin it up on the fridge, or somewhere else you’ll see it regularly, and it will spur you on to stay strong and improve your life for the better.
Try Nicotine Replacements
For some reason, nicotine replacements like gum and patches have fallen out of favor a bit in recent years, but for many people, they really do work. I know when you give up smoking, you eventually want to give up nicotine too, but if you do it in small stages, using replacements until you’re in a better place, you’re much less likely to succeed and give up for good than if you just go cold turkey.
Again, this won’t work for everyone, nor will it appeal to all of you, but there have been some interesting studies which seem to suggest that meditation, and mindfulness practices, in particular, are useful for helping people to manage addiction. If it can work for hard drugs, then there is every chance that it will be able to help you kick the nicotine habit and give up smoking for good, too.
Celebrate Your Victories
I won’t lie, giving up substances you’re addicted to can be completely miserable, but you can make the whole process better, if you want to, by celebrating every little victory. Treat yourself for every day, week or month that you have kept away from the cigarettes. Pat yourself on the back and never stop reminding yourself who well you’ve done and the whole process will be much better for you and those around you.
Prepare for Relapses
Unfortunately, many people will relapse in their journey to becoming smoke-free, and it can take several attempts before they give up for good. There’s no saying whether you will be able to quit the first time or not, but it’s sensible for you to prepare for possible relapses and put strategies in place to deal with them. Remember that, just because you’ve had a weak moment, it doesn’t mean you should throw the towel in. A few drags won’t harm you, but a few packs will, so get back on the horse and try again.