Stopping smoking is difficult. It isn’t simply a case of kicking a bad habit but overcoming a serious and complicated addiction.
While there are many grand ways to go about attempting to quit, sometimes it is the smallest changes to a lifestyle that can make the biggest difference. A little tweak here or there to your daily routine could reduce the cravings you have for a cigarette, and if you can manage those cravings better, you are already one step further forward on the road to giving up.
Here are six self-help tips that can have a big effect on your chances of quitting smoking permanently.
A positive attitude can get you a long way. You might have tried to quit before without success; don’t let that put you off – take the experiences you learned from last time you tried to give up, pour them into this effort and believe you will be all the wiser for them.
Identify your cravings
There are lots of information addiction tips out there, but your number one question should be why and when do I crave cigarettes? Cravings can last up to five minutes, but if you can work out when they are most likely to come and have a plan to deal with them, you are one step ahead. If you know it is when you are out at a bar or nightclub drinking, for example, plan to go and dance or queue for a drink when a feeling or a craving hits. Little strategies like that can go a long way.
Studies have shown that even as little exercise as a five minute walk or stretch helps your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals. Get on your feet and get active.
Keep your hands and mouth busy
If you give your hands and mouth something to occupy themselves with, you won’t end up thinking about why there isn’t a cigarette currently there. You can play with a rubber band or similar to keep your hands busy while holding a drink in your normal smoking hand is another way to take your mind off its former purpose as a cigarette holder. As for your mouth, try chewing gum or drinking through a straw.
Consider your diet
Do you have an after-dinner cigarette after every meal without fail? Scientists believe that some foods make a post-food cigarette taste better. Work out which foods have you wanting a cigarette most after dinner and try to avoid them. If you really can’t avoid a steak or a burger and the inevitable craving they are going to bring, then instead do a more productive task like clearing the table or doing the dishes when the craving arrives to give it time to past.
Make a list of reasons for you to quit
There are many reasons why people chose to quit smoking. What is yours? Remind yourself of it every time you feel the urge to reach for a cigarette. It could be picturing your children all grown up, with children of their own, and wanting to be as healthy as possible to see it, or maybe the fantastic family holiday you can treat yourself to with the money saved from not smoking. Whatever your motivations, use it as an incentive to give up for good.