Quitting smoking… the final frontier for a lot of people. This is supposedly one of the most difficult things a smoker who wants a better life has to cope with. If one has smoked for years and years it’s hard to just give up this habit cold turkey, or just due to the fact that you long for a natural life. Quitting smoking is a great accomplishment, less understood by the ones who had never been hooked. This post is meant to walk all the smokers out there through the top 10 tips on how to quit smoking successfully, because everybody knows that kicking this habit is an easy thing to do only if you’re pregnant.
Quitting cold turkey is extremely difficult because most of us have lives that require us to function as somewhat normal human beings for most of the day. When you are suffering through the initial five days of craziness without nicotine, you will feel more like an angry, rabid bear than a human, and you will be about as fit company for other humans
1. Keep a list of when you smoke for a week before quitting
According to Gaylene Mooney, chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues, note what you’re doing at the time and how bad the craving is to see if specific times of the day or activities increase your cravings.
2. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms
When you stop smoking, you are likely to get symptoms, which may include: nausea (feeling sick), headaches, anxiety, irritability, craving, and just feeling awful. These symptoms are caused by the lack of nicotine that your body has been used to. They tend to peak after 12-24 hours, and then gradually ease over 2-4 weeks.
3. Eat fruits and veggies
Don’t try to diet while giving up cigarettes, as too much deprivation is bound to backfire. Instead, focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. A Duke University study suggests these foods make cigarettes taste terrible. This gives you a leg up in fighting your cravings while providing disease-fighting nutrients. Keep in mind also that certain spices, such as cayenne pepper help you fight cigarette cravings.
4. Avoid alcohol and other triggers
Certain activities may boost your urge to smoke. Alcohol is one of the most common triggers, so try to drink less when you first quit. If coffee is a trigger, switch to tea for a few weeks. And if you usually smoke after meals, find something else to do instead, like brushing your teeth or chewing gum.
5. Massage yourself
A simple self-massage in the ear or hand can reduce nicotine cravings for smoke. Touching your ear or hand can help calm the mind and eliminate the craving because they are microsystems that represent the whole body. In a study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine, twenty adult smokers were randomly assigned to a self-message treatment or a control group to test the effects a massage has on smoking cravings. The treatment group had to do a hand or ear self-massage during three craving a day for the duration of one month. Researchers found that those who gave themselves a massage had lower anxiety, improved mood, fewer withdrawal symptoms and smoked fewer cigarettes a day compared to their counterparts.
The practice of meditation can provide a way for an individual to access the inner-self in a cool, calm and collected state. The psychological distress and stress that former smokers undergo during the first few weeks of withdrawal can be controlled through meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. Meditation can help people quit smoking and encourage them to begin healthy habits like exercising, changing their diet and improve their overall well-being. This cognitive skill that can help regulate craving, withdrawal symptoms, stress and negative emotions from smoking.
7. Working out is the key
Researchers suggest that exercise may help prevent depression, relieve tension and reduce weight gain in women trying to kick the habit. In addition, research at the University of Exeter in the UK suggests that exercise triggers changes in brain activity. In that study, smokers who cycled at a moderate pace had fewer cravings after abstaining from nicotine for 15 hours, as measured by MRI reactions to cigarette images, than non-cyclers.
8. It’s all right to use a crutch
Various medicines can increase your chance of quitting by diminishing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which comes as gums, sprays, patches, tablets, lozenges, and inhalers. You can buy NRT without a prescription. Also, medicines called bupropion and varenicline (Chantix) can help. These are available on prescription.
9. Don’t be afraid of gaining weight; it’s likely not to happen
“Cigarettes activate your metabolism,” says Cynthia Purcell, MS, a nutritionist and smoking cessation therapist in the smoking cessation program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “You burn about 250 calories if you smoke a pack a day. So when you quit and your metabolism slows down, your body has these extra calories it has to deal with, and many people gain weight.” And when you consider the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle, both inside and out, those few extra pounds may not mean as much, and anyone can take them off with a mild, but regular exercise routine.
10. You don’t have to be alone in this fight
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you’re trying to quit. Their encouragement could make the difference. You may also want to join a support group or talk to a counselor. Behavioral therapy is a type of counseling that helps you identify and stick to quit-smoking strategies. Combine behavioral therapy with nicotine replacement products and/or medication to boost your odds of success.