06 May Make 2017 the year you quit smoking for good
For years, you have tried to quit smoking without success. You are fully aware of the risks of continuing, making your repeated failures all the more frustrating.
So, here you are again, looking for a way to free yourself from the death grip of nicotine. Make 2017 the year you quit smoking for good – follow the pointers outlined below, and you’ll finally complete this Herculean task.
No weaning – go cold turkey
It can be tempting to consume fewer cigarettes until one day, magically, you don’t smoke anymore. Unfortunately, the psychology of addiction doesn’t work like that.
While it is possible to wean yourself off tobacco, it doesn’t address the triggers that lead to your daily decisions to smoke cigarettes, making it the tougher path to take.
One day in the future, you’ll have to find something to take the place that cigarettes once occupied in your life, so it’s best to rip the band-aid off and weather the worst of the withdrawal symptoms in the days following your decision to quit.
Tea can help with fatigue, over-the-counter pain medication with headaches, and the support of family and friends when the first bout of depression hits.
The worst symptoms last up to three days, and by three months post-tobacco, your brain chemistry will have returned to normal. You can do this!
Know your triggers and adjust accordingly
While you can take concrete steps to deal with the physical withdrawal symptoms of smoking, overcoming the traps laid within your own mind is key to making your split from cigarettes last.
These pitfalls are known as triggers, which are events in your everyday life which make you automatically reach for your pack of smokes.
To overcome them, you’ll need to devise replacement activities and behaviors that will uncoil the mental associations you have attached to smoking.
Certain foods, drinks, social situations, etc automatically activate these urges – replace them with alternate activities, choices, and deliberate self-talk, and you’ll find it easier to quit smoking for good.
Have a plan for when cravings hit
Despite your best efforts, you will probably find yourself confronted with a strong urge to light up at some point after your decision to quit.
If you know what to do when this inevitable scenario hits, you have a much better chance at rebuffing these cravings than if you allow yourself to get blindsided by them.
The average ‘nic fit’ lasts five minutes – by filling that time with a pre-defined activity such as exercise, consuming fruit, or by hitting up a supportive friend nearby, you can ride out the urge without giving in.
Leverage social support
We don’t advise trying to quit smoking all by yourself. This is an extraordinary feat and is made easier when you have family and friends supporting you.
Tell them of your plan to quit, and you’ll have the ultimate leverage against yourself, as you will be motivated to not allow yourself to be defeated by the death sticks once again.
If a fellow family member or close friend also smokes, make a pact to quit together, and you’ll have an instant accountability partner that will keep you on the straight and narrow (and vice versa) in your mutual quest to quit smoking for good.
Consider nicotine replacement therapy
Sometimes, the chemical dependency that nicotine creates can be too hard to break via cold turkey methods.
In these cases, it makes sense to make use of nicotine replacement therapies. These include the use of dermal patches and e-cigarettes.
Due to the substantial expense of these modalities, make an effort to taper your consumption of these products over time – while this is more difficult than going cold turkey for the reasons discussed above, this is the only option that is realistic for some nicotine addicts.
Getting off cigarettes is the first step, though, and these therapies make it easier to quit smoking for good.