Smoking cigarettes is a deadly addiction worse than drinking alcohol at a little or moderate level. Smoking no matter the level will still cause you to inhale chemicals that can be detrimental to your health. Most cigarette packaging nowadays contains packaging with written warnings that it is dangerous for health. Some packing contains pictures of what might happen when you smoke continuously. Research has also proven that smoking can cause various cancers like lung and mouth cancers. Smoking is also considered as a predisposing factor for stroke and heart attacks.
With all these vulgar words and nasty pictures advertised on the packets, why do people still smoke? It is because of one addicting factor – nicotine. This chemical activates the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine affects the behavior of how people think. It plays a significant role in how we perceive pleasure. It tries to teach the brain which behavior to repeat as it recognizes it to be a pleasurable activity. This is why people get addicted to cigarettes.
It’s hard to get off the usual thing that you are doing-especially when there are chemicals in the brain involved. But you may try these 10 ways to quit smoking.
Do not get tempted
As discussed, cigarettes contain nicotine which activates a chemical in the brain to make you feel pleasure. No matter how little the amount you take, even if its just one stick or one puff, as long as nicotine enters your body, dopamine will be released and the cycle will continue. This will make you crave more nicotine leading to the unending quitting cycle.
Once you feel that you are almost giving in to your cigarette craving, make a delaying tactic to buy yourself more time to think if you need it. Wait for 15 minutes before smoking. Within that period, make yourself busy. Do some tasks that will keep you away from thinking about cigarettes. Distract yourself, try to go for a walk to a non-smoking zone. Have a good time with friends. This might be able to keep you off from craving for a puff.
Activities that require physical labor can help your brain divert its focus from craving to doing. Go and do some planking or jog. Try some sit-ups, push-ups, and run up and down the stairs. Sweat yourself out until you feel that the cravings die out. You may also get involved with martial arts to teach you discipline and control which you may be able to include in your smoke cessation technique.
If you are at home, you may do household chores or any physical activity that might interest you so you can take your mind off the urge to smoke. Exercise will not only strengthen your body but it will also help control your mind.
Identify the triggers and do plan B
You have to identify what triggers you to think about smoking. Sometimes it will be because you saw someone smoke, you feel jealous and miss the feeling of smoking. At times it is because you feel a lot of stress on you or you feel depressed. You have also to think about your smoking habits. When do you usually smoke? What do you usually do while smoking?
These can be triggers that might lead you to smoke again. When you have sorted out the list, you can now devise a plan to replace smoking whenever you face these triggers. It will be hard to get rid of triggers most especially when you see someone smoking. You can generally see someone smoke out in the open streets. So you might want to redirect your attention to your plan B. Go the other way, avoid looking at the trigger, and do another interesting activity that you can replace it with.
When trying to quit smoking, you will deal with a lot of stress. You will always think about smoking and fight with your inner voice who wants to smoke but also wants to be healthy. Try to calm yourself by doing yoga, getting a massage, deep breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, and muscle relaxation techniques. This will help flush the stress out making your mind think more clearly and resist the temptation willfully.
Put something in your mouth
When you are thinking of smoking, make your mouth busy so you won’t have room to put cigarettes in. Have some healthy snacks like nuts, celery, cucumber, or raw carrots. Try hard candy, a piece of gum, or something that makes yourself feel satisfied.
Consult your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. Your doctor might suggest you to get over the counter gum, patches, or lozenges. Sometimes prescription drugs can also enter the scene in the form of an inhaler or medications such as varenicline.
Remind yourself why you wanted to quit
Always ask yourself why you wanted to quit smoking. Go back to the reason and think about the benefits you are getting from quitting. You’ll be in a more healthy state, your lungs can do its job better because it won’t be lined with harmful substances, you can have a healthier heart and decreased risk of stroke, you are saving the people around you from secondhand smoke and more importantly, it will make you feel better of yourself.
Ask for help
Do not be afraid to ask for help from a friend or support group or even your family. Tell them about your plans to quit and ask for their help.
Search for online support groups
Because of the stigma attached to smoking, and with the current lockdown status of the world today, you can go to the online world to ask for support. You can find websites and blogs where they offer support to each other. Most members are fellow smokers who want to quit so you may be able to relate better as you are all walking the same path.
It is indeed hard to quit smoking but it’s even harder to lead a lifestyle where you know you’re hanging by a thread. Make healthy choices and help yourself. The first step will always be taken by you, take the chance to change today.