According to the American Lung Association, exposure to tobacco is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Most of us are aware of the huge health risks associated with smoking yet continue to indulge in this “killer” habit. Quitting smoking is not something that can happen in one day. It is a long journey that requires perseverance and dedication. Quitting will not just improve your health but also the health of others around you.
To quit smoking, you have to alter your behaviour and manage the withdrawal symptoms that occur due to cutting out nicotine. If you follow the right game plan, you can kick this habit and break free from your addiction for good.
Here are the top 7 ways to help you beat the urge to smoke and quit smoking.
- Try NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
Once you decide to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy). A variety of options are available, including nicotine inhalers, sprays, nicotine gum, nicotine patches and lozenges that can help curb the cravings by delivering nicotine in controlled amounts to the body. These are short-acting therapies that are usually safe to use.
- Avoid triggers
People tend to experience most urges in situations and places where they have smoked most often in the past, such as at bars or at parties. Identify the situations that trigger smoking urges, for you are trying to avoid them completely. Avoid setting yourself up for a relapse. For instance, if you were used to smoking while you are on the phone, keep a pen and paper nearby to get busy doodling instead of reaching for the cigarette.
If you feel like you are about to surrender to your cravings, try to delay it as much as you can, even if it is only 10 minutes. Do something to distract yourself during this period. Go to a smoke-free, public zone. This will help you to derail your craving and avoid smoking.
- Chew it!
Put something in your mouth to fight the urge to smoke. Chew hard candy or sugarless gum or even raw carrots, nuts, or seeds. Anything crunchy that will satisfy your craving.
- Avoid the ‘just one’
You will often feel like you should have just one cigarette to curb your cravings. However, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will stop there. In most cases, that one cigarette will lead to the next and then another.
- Get physical
Physical activity is a great way to distract yourself from your cravings for tobacco. Short bursts of physical activity like running or jogging can make the cravings go away. If you are at home or in the office, you can do some squats, pushups, walking up and down the stairs or whatever you can. If you are not into physical exercises, you can indulge in chores such as filing paperwork or vacuuming to distract yourself.
- Try relaxation techniques
For many people, smoking is the way to deal with stress. Avoiding your urge to smoke can also be quite stressful. You can take the load off by practising certain relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, muscle relaxation, massage or visualisations.
Deciding that you are ready to quit smoking is half the battle won. Using the above-mentioned techniques, you will be on the road to a smoke-free life.