There are a lot of ways to successfully quit smoking, but it can seem daunting. When you want to quit, the following are some great ways to kick the habit for good. Keep in mind that it’s not just about tips — it’s about changing your life. Change is a difficult process for most people, but it’s not impossible. Just be prepared to face the challenges along the way and never give up.
Know Why You Want to Quit Smoking
A lot of people cite various reasons to quit, and the Be Tobacco Free website lists all sorts of health detriments to smoking that get down to your bone marrow. There are so many health reasons to quit smoking that to a non-smoker it sounds like a “no duh” idea. But ultimately, good health may not be your individual reason to quit. Do you want to provide a good example to your own children or grandchildren? Do you not want to harm others through third-hand smoke? Whatever reason feels powerful to you, this is the reason that you need to seize on.
Measure Victory One Moment at a Time
As any person who has lived through a traumatic situation can tell you, seconds can feel like hours and minutes can feel like an eternity. It is estimated that the average craving lasts only three minutes, and rarely do they last more than seven — but when you’re in the thick of one, it can be a pain that can trigger outright panic at the gut level. For this reason, some smokers have actually had success by keeping a clock by their side at all times to tick off the seconds and minutes. You aren’t going to be in this craving forever — you just have to let the moment pass and be as calm as you can. Time distortion is all in your mind, and you have control over your mind.
Another aspect of quitting that deals with the present moment comes straight out of AA — the idea that quitting “forever” is not a goal you should reasonably pursue. After all, if you quit smoking forever when will you celebrate? Sometimes in a time of stress, when it would be easy to go back to your nicotine-rich friends, going an hour is a significant accomplishment. A day without smoking is definitely worth a miniature celebration.
Understand That It’s Not Just Chemical
There is a lot that happens when you light up, and it’s easy to tell yourself that this is all chemical. But feelings are more than just chemicals — they’re your life. In a lot of smokers’ cases, their relationship with smoking has been one of the most stable relationships they’ve ever had in life. If this is the case, be prepared for an emotional roller coaster that has no clear beginning and no visible end. There will most likely be denial, there will be anger, there will be the urge to bargain, and there will probably even be depression and complacency. These are just feelings, and you can push through them to get to your goal.
Keep Eating and Don’t Drink Much
Nicotine actually releases stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream because it triggered your body’s fight or flight reflex. This let’s you skip meals without having wild blood sugar swings and may have completely removed any hunger. However, you can counter this by eating breakfast and lunch, and even snacking throughout the day to distribute your calories more evenly. While many smokers are afraid of the potential for weight gain after quitting, this is easily avoidable if you don’t go overboard with the eating. A handful of fruit or nuts can be both satisfying and perfectly acceptable as a snack, and meals rarely need to be larger than your hand if you are eating every few hours.
The admonishment to not drink much comes not only because too much alcohol can lead back to the habit of having a smoke with your drink, but also because of caffeine. If you are a regular consumer of caffeine, understand that caffeine levels in your blood will double during the early stages of your nicotine withdrawal. It’s often useful to halve the amounts of coffee or other forms of caffeine you take in for a few days, and even reducing chocolate intake can be helpful to keep you from being overly jittery.
One thing you should drink plenty of is acidic juices, particularly during the crucial first three days. A bottle of cranberry juice is cheaper than a pack of cigarettes, and will accelerate the rate at which nicotine is flushed out of your system. Further, it will help your blood sugar levels to stabilize. After a few days, you can ease off the juice because of its high sugar content and the fear many smokers have of gaining weight.
Don’t be Freaked Out by Smoking Dreams
A lot of smokers are outright scared by the fact that they often having smoking-related dreams during the early stages of quitting. This is just a natural process that comes about because of your heightened sense of smell. When you lay down and sleep, your lungs release tobacco odors as they heal. Your bronchial tubes are full of cilia that are healing and experiencing scents more deeply than they used to, which makes for a powerful subconscious sensation. This is nothing to be feared, as it means that you are healing properly.
Remember What Every Relapse Means
If you are thinking of having “one more,” keep in mind that it will once again reset the clock on your withdrawal symptoms. Do you want to start all over again, just for a few seconds of relief? Or would you rather simply continue smoking, spending thousands of dollars a year of money to burn so that it can slowly kill you and adversely affect the health of the people you care about? Every relapse is just more pain if you really want to quit, so why not just skip that altogether?
Quitting smoking is an attainable goal if you really want it. Do you want it badly enough to push through and free yourself?