Hands up if you want to stop smoking but don’t know where to start. Or more accurately, hands up if you’ve tried to stop smoking without much success.
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and the cigerette is an extremely effective delivery device. So it’s going to be a real fight and it will take all your willpower to stop. However, there are a number of ways that you can boost your motivation to get rid of this deadly habit. But before we take a look at them, there are three things to bear in mind.
First, you must want to give up. You must be 100% committed or you won’t stand a chance of overcoming this addictive habit.
Second, always bear in mind that it can be done. Millions of people have broken the chain of nicotine addiction and there’s no reason why you can’t become one of them.
And finally, there are several different methods to help you stop smoking, but the same one won’t help everybody. So try the methods below, find your own methods and then stick with the ones that work until you reach your goal. So let’s get started.
1) A Thousand Mile Journey Begins With A Single Step
Now at this stage, some people will tell you that it’s best to cut down gradually. They claim that if you’ve smoked a pack a day for a long time you’ll have developed a physical addiction to nicotine and the best way to lessen the withdrawal symptoms is to cut down gradually over time.
Alternatively, some people claim that cutting out the habit completely is the only way to stop smoking. These people claim that gradual reduction will only make it harder to quit, both physically and psychologically.
But it really doesn’t matter whether you cut down from 40 a day to 20 or stop completely. The most important thing is that you decide to quit smoking and take action.
The route you choose should be the one that you have most confidence in your ability to complete. If you’ve got an all-or-nothing type personality it may be best to stop altogether. But if you can’t even contemplate doing that, start to cut down gradually. Just do something.
Intention without action is a waste of time.
2) Be Aware Of Your Behaviour
Smoking is a psychological habit. Over time you’ve trained yourself to smoke at certain times and in certain situations such as first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after meals, at parties, when you’re stressed etc.
So it’s important to remain consciously aware of your actions at all times. Work out the times when you have a strong subconscious desire to smoke and take steps to avoid lighting up.
And if possible, try to avoid the situations that make you want to reach for a cigarette. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself smoking before you’re even aware of it. Of course if you’ve decided to stop completely, the situation isn’t as dangerous as you can remove all cigarettes from your life. However, it is harder if you decide to cut down gradually, live with someone else who smokes or have easy access to cigarettes.
So make sure you’re aware of what you’re doing at all times. Learn to catch yourself before the desire to smoke grows stronger.
3) Mutual support
Find a friend who wants to stop smoking or get involved with a support group where you’ll find other people who want to kick the habit. This will allow you to support and motivate each other when your willpower shows signs of breaking. It will also make you feel that you’re not alone, making the challenge seem less daunting.
4) Swap The Habit
Try finding a healthier habit to replace your smoking habit. Then, every time you feel the urge to smoke, use your new habit as a way of diverting your attention from the cravings. For example, you could try drinking water, eating a healthy food etc.
Stress is often a trigger factor that makes people reach for their cigarettes. So learn a few relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or yoga. As your ability to relax and fill your lungs improves it will help you to deal with the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and tobacco. It will also show you the benefits of being able to breathe freely and hopefully encourage you to keep going until the harmful effects of smoking have completely left your system.
One of the most popular ways to stop smoking is to use nicotine replacement products. There are lots of different products on the market that consist of items such as chewing gum, patches, nasal sprays and lozenges. All of them are designed to manage your nicotine fix, help conquer withdrawal symptoms and ultimately remove your desire to smoke.
Studies have shown that people who use these aids to help them quit are more successful than those who don’t. But before you use these products, please consult your doctor or smoking counselor to consider the health implications of these products.
Every time you have the urge to light up, think about how disgusting cigarettes are. Remind yourself how unhealthy this disgusting habit is. The idea is to condition yourself so that you associate smoking with thoughts or feelings of disgust. It’s a form of aversion therapy that makes you glad to avoid the mere thought of smoking everytime you develop a subconscious urge to smoke.
Alternatively, you can do the same with pain. Put an elastic band around your wrist, and every time you think about how much you want to smoke, give yourself a ping with the elastic band. Over time this will subconsciously teach your to associate smoking and cigarettes with pain.
All it takes is a conscious decision to quit and the determination to take action. What have you got to lose?