Quitting tobacco is no easy feat, but it’s never too late to call it quits on a smoking habit. Quitting may be difficult, but those who fight the urge and kick the habit find that they experience numerous health benefits, save some money and feel a sense of earned accomplishment when they make it to the other side of their addiction.
If you’re ready to quit smoking, you’re one step closer to a healthier, happier you. Here are several tips to help you get there.
Nicotine cravings are notoriously powerful. While some smokers find success by quitting cold turkey, this method isn’t always sustainable for everyone. It can take time to manage cravings and make lifestyle changes, so it’s a good idea to find a pace that feels right for you. Whether you swap one pack of cigarettes with CBD cigarettes per week or you try to eliminate one smoke break every day, the best path to quitting smoking is the one that works best for you and your lifestyle.
While nicotine itself isn’t exactly a desirable habit, many nicotine-based products are certainly healthier than cigarettes. In addition to over-the-counter gums, lozenges and patches, talk to your doctor about nasal sprays or prescription medications that can help to curb nicotine cravings in safer, more controlled ways.
As well, it’s wise to find hobbies, lifestyle changes and replacement behaviors you can turn to when cravings become intense. Many have found that an exercise regimen is a great distraction from intense desires for cigarettes, while others swear by mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, guided visualizations or calming playlists.
When things get hard, it can be helpful to reach out to a friend, family member or online support group. Surround yourself with supportive people who know about your efforts to quit smoking to give yourself safe places to turn to when you need a distraction, desire emotional support or simply want to complain about how challenging it is at any given time.
Chances are, there are a few situations and scenarios in which your urge to grab a cigarette is greater than others. If possible, do all that you can to steer clear of these triggers, or do your best to prepare for cravings ahead of time if you know that you won’t be able to avoid them entirely. Create a plan for yourself in case a craving strikes, and find ways to occupy yourself or keep yourself soothed in other, healthier ways.
Practice Mindful Delays
Many people who relapse while trying to quit smoking do so as a result of a single, shaky moment. Get ahead of the temptation to have just one cigarette and try to push off a craving for as long as you can. Start by delaying your habit by just a few minutes, and give yourself something else to do while you wait. You may even find that these distractions are enough to put off a cigarette entirely.
Though cravings can be powerful, so are many other tasks in life. Give yourself the best chance at success by ensuring that you have plenty of things to keep your mind off your cravings. Plan several outings with friends, make time to engage in hobbies in smoke-free areas and choose activities that demand most, or all, of your attention while you’re in the thick of quitting. The more demanding and engaging a distraction is, the easier it will be for you to avoid thinking about cigarettes.
Remember Your “Why”
There are countless benefits to quitting smoking, but the advantages may not always seem to outweigh the power of a craving–especially in the early stages of quitting. When this happens, go out of your way to write or say the benefits out loud. Remind yourself that you’re doing this to feel better, to get healthier, to save money or to improve your relationships. When you’re more connected to the reasons you’ve decided to quit, it’s a lot easier to beat the urge when it happens.