How to Quit Smoking
For those who want to quit smoking, for health reasons, for their kids, or just for themselves, it can seem like a daunting task. Part of the reason why so many people have such a hard time dropping the habit is actually because of the fear of quitting! But once you get your fear in check, you can start to be free of cigarettes for good. Here are some tips to help you start your smoking cessation today.
Get Ready to be Smoke-Free
To successfully quit smoking, you have to be in the right mindset. Quitting is not easy, so prepare yourself for the physical and emotional withdrawal you may experience. Know that it is only temporary and be prepared to stick it out.
Choose a stop date during a time where you don't expect to have a greater than usual amount of stress, since this can trigger relapse. Choose a date that coincides with other new beginnings such as New Year's Day, your birthday, or a positive life change. Choose the first day of a vacation, when your mind will likely be occupied with fun things and relaxed. Just remember to avoid times when you know you will be under a lot of stress like just before a holiday or right after a promotion. Make sure you will have access to friends and family's support during your quitting time. But don't look for that "perfect" time to quit because you may end up putting it off for years. Don't wait for a date - make it happen, and stick to it once it arrives.
Also, do some research into your smoking habits. When where and why do you smoke. Keep in mind situations that make you really crave a cigarette so you can avoid those while you are trying to quit. Plan what you will do instead of smoking. If you've tried quitting and failed in the past, review those attempts and think of thing you could dp the same and differently this time. The more you understand your habit, the easier it will be to overcome it.
Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit smoking and keep this list handy for when you are having doubts and cravings when you quit. It will help you to think positively and keep your ultimate goal in mind.
Tell your friends and family about your plans to quit and ask them for their support. Avoid being with others when they are smoking.
Finally, after your last cigarette, get rid of all your tobacco and smoking related accessories like lighters and ashtrays. Get rid of or change anything that reminds you of cigarettes and vanquish the smell of smoke from your spaces. For example if you had a favorite chair to smoke in, thoroughly clean it and rearrange the furniture in that room or move the chair to a new space. The chair will become less associated with smoking this way.
Once you have had you last cigarette change your behaviors to take your mind off smoking. Avoid situations that make you want to smoke where possible and change your daily routine. For example take a different route to work or school or eat in a different place. Where you once had a cigarette, do something else. Most people find downtime, like when they are waiting for the bus or waiting in line, the hardest because there is nothing to keep them occupied. To avoid this carry a book or some gum and avoid empty spaces of time when you can. Take up a new hobby or join a club.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor can help you tailor your approach to smoking cessation to something that best suits your needs. Talk to ex smokers about their experiences and ask for advice. Join a support group for people quitting smoking. Ask your family and friends to periodically check up on you.
At this point, you may also choose to use smoking cessation aids. However, if your attitude, priorities, and willpower is in the right place, you don't necessarily need them.
When you are faced with a craving for a cigarette, stop and think about why you want to quit smoking. Most cravings subside after 3-5 minutes, so delay that cigarette for at least 3 minutes and your urge will probably pass. Drink some water or juice, distract yourself, and breathe deeply.
Also, cut down on stress. Release tension and calm down with a hot bath, a good book or movie, or a pedicure.
Reward yourself at intervals for keeping on track and celebrate your small successes like first day, week, and month gone without smoking.
If you do relapse, don't guilt yourself too much about it. You may have has a slip-up but you can still quit smoking; everyone has the ability. Just because you have had one cigarette doesn't mean you should stop the quitting process - most people will relapse. Stick with your plan and see if there are ways you can revise it to avoid the temptation again.