How to Stay Quit
Quitting smoking is not just the end of a nasty habit; it is the start of a healthy life. Learn how to stay quit.
Kicking the cigarette butt is only the beginning of a smoke-free life. Mounting pressures from work, home, peers, and relationships push ex-smokers back to their dangerous habits. It is important for you to know how to resist the urge to smoke and stay quit.
1. Avoiding routine
Routine is the biggest enemy of the smoker. Most smokers tend to have fixed patterns, which they find hard to change. For example, some smokers need to have a cigarette right after their meals. Many cannot resist the urge to light up when they are having a drink. After you quit smoking, you need to avoid routines that can trigger a relapse.
Stress is one of the biggest reasons why smokers find it hard to stay quit. A good exercise plan along with yoga, meditation, or prayer will help you cope with stress.
Some more tips:
- Quit around a time when it is least stressful. For example, quit on a weekend instead of a workday.
- Take a deep breath whenever you feel worried, angry, or tired.
- Take the help of counselling, health groups, friends, or a spouse.
- Avoid stressful situations such as traffic, arguments, etc. For example, for the first few days or weeks after you quit, take a less stressful route to work even if it takes a longer time.
Smokers have unconsciously conditioned themselves to smoke with the help of cues around them, whose removal is necessary to lead a smoke-free life.
- Avoid friends who smoke. Learn to say "No, thank you" when somebody offers you a cigarette.
- Remove ashtrays, lighters, matchsticks, or other 'smoking accessories' from your home. Of course, this means that your cigarettes have to go too.
- Avoid routines, especially ones that are connected with your smoking habit. If you tend to light up after waking up, try popping a lollipop or chewing gum to keep your lips busy.
- Do you smoke whenever you visit your favourite bar or restaurant? Avoid visiting places where smoking is allowed. Sit in the non-smoking section instead.
2. Fighting the withdrawal symptoms
As the body struggles to return to its original state of good health, all sorts of withdrawal symptoms arise. Difficult as it may sound, fighting these symptoms is not impossible, and can be achieved using the following methods:
- Several medications have been found to be effective in dealing with nicotine withdrawal. However, consult your doctor before using them. Some of these drugs have dangerous side effects, and require a doctor's prescription.
- Nicotine replacement methods such as nicotine patches, tablets, etc. deliver a fixed dose to your body without having to smoke it. Remember that these methods are only meant as an aid and should not form a habit in themselves.
- Alternative methods such as hypnosis, acupuncture, homeopathy, and meditation are believed to help in fighting withdrawal symptoms. However, there is not enough evidence to support such claims.
- Drink lots of water to flush out the toxins in your body faster. Avoid alcohol and coffee.
3. Finding an alternative
You have programmed yourself to feel good with that cigarette in your hand. Here are some tips to help you find an alternative:
- Many smokers find that keeping their hands and jaws busy is useful. For example, use chewing gum or drink fruit juices whenever you feel the urge to light up. Chewing on a carrot stick might also help.
- Find an alternative hobby or activity that will keep you busy around the usual time you smoke. For example, in office whenever you feel like smoking, you could take a walk instead. Take up a sport such as squash, basketball, or football that will make you realise how smoking has affected your stamina.
- Keep yourself mentally busy. Treat yourself to a book or movie. Meet friends and family (who do not smoke).
4. Fighting the Psychological Battles
After you kick the cigarette butt away from your life, it is necessary to help yourself deal with it.
Write down YOUR excuses
Smokers come up with a variety of excuses to justify their habits such as "Just one today" or "I'll try to cut down tomorrow". Recognise these frequent alibis and write them down so that they do not arise again.
Observe your health
Quitting will lead to improvements in your health within days. Your skin, organs, breathing, etc. show a definite improvement, which will keep getting better with time. Feel proud about it. Inform your friends and family members about how you feel better after quitting.
Form a group
You need not fight this alone. Support groups help individuals to cope better. Your best support group could be your group of friends if all of you decide to kick the habit at the same time.
Don't be hard on yourself
Every year, millions of people try to quit smoking. Many fail, and tend to start smoking again, even more than they used to, because of the guilt and depression that follows. Do not be hard on yourself if you failed the first time. After all, there is no failure except in not trying again.
Do you know any way to resist the urge to smoke? What is the best way to beat withdrawal symptoms? To share your experiences and tips, click here.
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