EIGHT WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING
Even though everyone is completely aware of how detrimental smoking is they still continue to engage in it and put themselves and those around them in danger. Many try to quit but do not see it through to the end and fall back on their smoking habits. Smoking is a form of addiction and trying to quit after years and years of smoking can be very difficult because your body is in a way ‘dependent’ on nicotine for stressrelief and relaxation. But there is some good news for everyone trying to quit; Nancy Rigott (director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Tobacco Research and Treatment Center) has advised to approach it in a two-pronged manner. She emphasizes the use of both behavioral therapies and medication. It’s never too late to quit and no matter what your age. This article will give you some useful tips on how to quit smoking.
1. Maintain A Smoking Diary
The arduous journey of quitting the habit starts with you and your willpower. You have to be strong and constantly reaffirm that you can do this! Record your smoking pattern, keep track of how many times you smoke in a day. Do not be vague, set down short term goals and the plans leading up to them. Remember, you cannot quit smoking in one day, it is a gradual process. Keep reducing the number of cigarettes one by one until it becomes a habit and does not feel forced. Keeping a smoking diary will help you understand what kind of social environments you tend to associate with smoking, whether you are a heavy or social smoker. This is the first step to help gain perspective on the type of therapies you should adopt in order to quit smoking.
2. Know What Triggers You Into Smoking
Identifying and mapping triggers can help you set alternatives to every trigger. People often turn to cigarettes when they are sad, angry, lonely or panicked. Your peers might trigger smoking or you may be conditioned to (out of routine) to crave a smoke after meals or when tired. When you are surrounded by people who smoke do not given into peer pressure and simply inform that you are trying to quit. If the post-meal urge to smoke kicks in, restrict yourself! Replace it with a delicious and healthy dessert, fruits or even a gum. Switching to non-alcoholic drinks can also reduce the chances of smoking.
3. Foods Which Help You Quit Smoking
Certain foods can reduce your craving for a cigarette. Smoking damages the neuroreceptors in your mouth and dulls the sense of taste. Within two weeks of quitting, the taste buds go back to functioning normally. A protip is to grab a glass of milk every time you hanker for a cigarette; the taste of milk worsens the taste of cigarettes and it will prevent you from smoking. Frozen grapes and cinnamon sticks are other alternatives. Trying to quit opens you up to sugar cravings and frozen grapes are perfect to quench those. Sucking on cinnamon sticks gives a good strong taste for a long time. Cinnamon sticks can also be replayed by carrot and celery sticks. The key is to keep your hands and mouth occupied to simulate the action of smoking. Consider adding fibrous food such as beans and oatmeal to your smoke-free diet. Eat meals packed with all the food groups and drink lots of water.
4. Medication and Therapy
If you are an avid smoker who has failed several attempts to quit; consult a physician and join a therapy group. USFDA has approved anti-smoking treatments such as nicotine replacement therapy which is characterized by replacing the nicotine found in cigarettes with that found (in very low doses) in medically approved nicotine gum, nasal sprays, patches, inhaler, patches, lozenges, etc. This eases patients out of tobacco nicotine dependency and addiction. Some non-nicotine medication includes Bupropion and Varenicline; to be used on prescription for a short term.
Exercise makes your body produce endorphins and keeps smoke cravings at bay. Even a five-minute workout, a brisk walk or a short yoga session contributes a lot to keep you off cigarettes.
6. Alternative Methods
Hypnosis, acupuncture, behavioural therapy and motivational therapies have been very beneficial in helping smokers quit. Hypnosis puts you in a relaxed state and makes resolving to quit easier. Acupuncture is one of the oldest techniques which triggers the release of endorphins and relaxes the body, thus managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
7. Surround Yourself With Non-Smokers
Surrounding yourself with people who do not smoke will keep you temptation under check. These people will positively influence you to give up smoking for good and keep your habits in control.
8. Coping With Nicotine Withdrawal
Cessation of smoking gives way to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal which can last for a few days to weeks. Everyone experiences different symptoms such as insomnia, tremors, restlessness, anxiety, fatigue, constipation headaches, difficulty in concentration, etc. You can seek support from peers, keep your mind busy, try mental relaxation techniques etc. Don’t worry if you slip, stop yourself from the moment things start to go downhill. Learn from your experience and don't hesitate to ask for help.