Quitting cigarettes will probably be the hardest thing you've ever done, although it will certainly be the smartest. What is making you give up - pressure from family and friends, or a genuine desire on your part to quit? If it's the latter, then you have successfully taken the first step. If your desire to stop smoking is strong enough, quitting may be accomplished no matter how long you have been puffing away.
Why you smoke? Understanding the reasons why you smoke can show you the best way to quit:
Smoking gives you more energy
It helps you from slowing down
Smoking perks you up when tired
Holding a cigarette is comfortable
It's a pleasant and enjoyable experience
Smoking is relaxing.
It helps cope with depression
Calling it Quits The transition from smoker to ex-smoker can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you fight the nicotine demon:
Set a target: Fix the day that you will quit and then stick to it. Allow yourself to prepare for the day. A good time to quit will be just before you plan to go on a holiday. Plan a vacation to the hills and let the clean air fill your lungs. It will be a good time to give up.
Keep a journal: This technique has helped a lot of people who want to quit. Every time you feel the urge to puff away, write down why? Also write down why you should not smoke. You will soon have a list and can easily compare the pros and cons, with the latter outweighing the former.
Practice assertive ways to say no: You may meet a friend who offers you a cigarette. Learn to say no assertively.
Get enough sleep: With a good night's sleep you're more likely to feel fresh and alert. Many people smoke because they are tired.
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise raises your overall energy level, so you may not need a nicotine kick.
Take a brisk walk: Moving around is a drug-free stimulant.
Eat well: Eating a well balanced, nutritious meal at regular timings will prove to be a natural source of energy.
Drink lots of cold water: It will refresh you as it helps clear your body of nicotine.
Avoid getting bored: Keep your mind active, perhaps by calling a friend, reading a new magazine, or playing a game.
A Matter of Touch
Do you get a kick simply from holding that cigarette? Does it just feel right to have a cigarette in your hand or mouth? In fact, many smokers say they've gone back to smoking because they had nothing to do with their hands.
Pick up a pen or pencil when you want to reach for a cigarette. Make a list of your reasons for quitting.
Hold a real cigarette if the touch is all you miss. But if handling a cigarette makes you want to light up, stick with the substitutes.
Have a low-fat, low-sugar snack like carrot sticks, apple slices, or a bread stick. Try sucking on a sugar-free hard candy or mint.
Coping with stress
If smoking is your stress buster, then remember that it's your lungs that are getting busted. Finding another way to cope with stress can help you avoid lighting up. Try these:
Use relaxation techniques to calm down when you are angry or upset. Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation , and imagining yourself in a peaceful setting can make you feel less stressed.
Avoid or get out of stressful situations that might tempt you to smoke.
Cut down gradually. Smoke fewer cigarettes each day or only smoke them halfway down. Inhale less often and less deeply. After several months it should be easier to stop completely.
Change your smoking routines. Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your opposite hand. Don't do anything else while smoking. Limit smoking to certain places, such as outside or in one room at home.
When you want a cigarette, wait for one whole minute. Try to think of something else to do instead of smoking.
Be aware of every cigarette you smoke. Ask yourself: Do I really want this cigarette? You may be surprised at how many you can easily pass up. The urge to smoke after you've quit often hits at predictable times. The trick is to anticipate those times and find ways to cope with them without smoking. Naturally, it won't be easy. In fact, you may continue to want that cigarette. But remember, even if you slip up, you are only human. Try to identify what triggered your slip, strengthen your commitment to quitting, and try again.
It is estimated that about 95 per cent of smokers who have quit in America since 1964 have done it on their own. You may already know that. You also may already know that you are going to quit, someday. Why not let that day be today? Say goodbye to Nicotine's fatal attraction now.