If you have decided to quit smoking, then Congratulation! You are just one step away from becoming smoke-free.
In this article, I will help you tailor a quit plan, I will make you aware of cigarette withdrawal symptoms, and I will show you how to stop smoking cravings.
CREATING A STRATEGIC PLAN
Before any action taken, you need to come up with a plan. In this case, it will help you to deal with all the actions that will come after your decision to quit smoking.
You should already know which of the two methods you will choose.
Do you think you are ready for short term or long-term challenges?
Do you categories yourself as more social, occasionally smoker or a heavy one?
As with any plan, the first thing you have to do, is decide on a date. In this case, considering when you will quit smoking.
You should have enough time to be prepared, and especially I recommend you to choose a day when your schedule is not crowded or does not involve much stress. Thus, the temptation to smoke is much lower.
Maybe if you know that on Sunday, you spend with your family, children or friends; and you can do different relaxing activities, which will not give you the urge to smoke; then you have found the most suitable day to quit.
Notify your family, friends, colleagues of the decision taken and the reasons that determined you. Let them know about your emotional and behavioral transformations and especially explain to them how they could help and support you.
Anticipate and be prepared for the challenges; get to know and avoid the triggers. Be aware that not the physically fight against smoking is difficult, but on the contrary, the mental one is.
Remove all the temptations (cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays) from the house, car, office; clean them to fresh up the air, clean your clothes; like this, the smell of the smoke will not be anymore a trigger for you.
Contact a specialist doctor and tell him about your decision to quit smoking. He can help you with nicotine replacement therapy (patches, inhaler, lozenge, gum), or he may prescribe medicine.
“If you want to quit smoking, arm yourself with the tools you need to do it!”
So, get ready!
CIGARETTE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
“We are close to 100% nicotine-free just after three days.”
Nicotine withdrawal is a group of symptoms that a person experiences when he/she quit smoking. The withdrawal symptoms occur just temporarily, and at a very short time (30 min), after the last cigarette.
Normally it takes place over three days, but it may differ from person to person, so in some cases, these symptoms can last to several weeks.
But with each passing day, the symptoms will ease because the toxins will be removed from the body. Often these symptoms are the reason you give up the decision to become smoke-free.
“The threat of nicotine withdrawal, is like having a cat on your doorstep, but in your mind, you interpreted like a tiger.”
Let see a few symptoms:
- Restlessness because of the intense cigarette cravings.
- You will feel your body just like when you have flu.
- You will have intense headaches, tremors, or nausea.
- Feeling tension or anxiety, nervousness, irritability, frustration or anger.
- The coughing get increased because the lungs get cleaned, and the whole process takes about a month.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- The withdrawal can lead to insomnia or to restless sleep, due to which permanent fatigue and lack of energy appear.
- Constipation or pain in the stomach.
- The appetite for food is increased.
The withdrawal symptoms are the easiest part, but the Smoking Cravings are more difficult because are the cause of mental desire.
Although they have a very short but intense duration, around 5-10 minutes, they can occur every day in different events in your life. So you will face them much more often.
The smoking cravings can pop up weeks or even months, and can near you down when you are trying to quit.
18 WAYS TO OVERCOME THE SMOKING CRAVINGS
1. Avoiding smoking triggers will help you reduce the desire to smoke.
2. In case, you confront a new trigger, try to identify it, think at the place, the people, the visual aspects, or the smell which could mental trigger the desire.
3. Reminds yourself of the reasons why you have quit.
4. Keep your focus on quitting smoking benefits.
5. Go to do something outside. The sunlight and the fresh air will boost your mood and lift your spirit.
6. Distract yourself; keep your mind busy: watch TV, call a friend, listen to the preferred music, do a crossword puzzle, read a few pages from a book, dance, write in the journal or your blog.
7. Drink a lot of water. In my case, when I quit smoking, I prepared a small bottle with water and bicarbonate; and when the urge to smoke appeared, I took a sip of the mixture. So, my desire to smoke was reduced more and more.
8. Be active: do yoga stretches, spin, jog, walk.
9. Do deep breathing exercises, a mind-body therapy, which are a powerful tool to overcome cravings.
10. If smoking was your solution to deal with stress, to resist nicotine cravings, it is itself very stressful. That is why I recommend you do relaxation techniques to calm down the tensions, do meditation, a short massage, squeeze a stress ball, take a bath with foam, and listen to calming music.
11. Have a healthy snack: fruits, low-fat yogurt, nuts, celery sticks, sunflower seeds, raw carrots, sugar-free gum, pretzels.
12. Count your Blessings, reflect on them, and be grateful.
13. Visualizing a pleasant feeling, a favorite relaxing spot or a situation that suits you, can be another powerful tool, which will calm down your mind, will release you from the tension and will bring you inner peace. In this way, you will control your mind and your emotions.
14. Brush your teeth, this will banish the urge to smoke.
15. When you are out, try to go in places where smoking is not allowed (cinema, mall, stores, restaurants).
16. For a mental association with smoking, you can light a candle or an incense.
17. Reward yourself every time you overcome a craving. For sure, this will keep you strong and motivated.
18. Find online support: smoking cessation forums (Quit now; Smokers helpline) where you can find people which are dealing with the same problems as you; you can write in your blog or send a message in social media. Most of the time, the supportive comments will motivate you to continue what you started.
Contact a special online program that will offer you consultancy and therapy support (Smokers helpline, The Quit for Life).
Personal monitoring during smoking cessation is to have a cravings journal, where to keep and identify patterns and triggers.
Describe every moment in which you crave a cigarette (at what hour, for how long it lasts, how intense it was, what were you doing, and with whom you were).
Describe your feelings and emotions from the craving moment. You were strong enough to resist?
If you slipped, how made you feel after smoking?
All these monitors will make you clear the whole process through which you pass. Will make you much more aware of how to analyze your emotions and feelings.
They will make you understand that the desire to smoke is mental and not physical, but especially will highlight the evolution of the process.
You will see if you make progress and you are on the right path, or you stagnate with the risk of being like in the beginning.
“Nicotine is extremely fast acting; just one cigarette is enough to get an adult hooked and one puff to get an ex-smoker hooked again.”
To quit smoking it is a hard process, but staying smoke-free is a major accomplishment.
When you stop smoking sometimes you can slip, relapse, and stop several times before you will quit for good.
It important is to get back on a non-smoking track. It takes determination and focuses on staying smoke-free for a long time.
Use all the skills you have learned; which was helpful for you and which was not. Focus on all the non-smoking process you went through. You should be proud of you and celebrate quit milestones.
You deserve to reward yourself. Keep a positive outlook and with motivation and willpower, you will be a winner!
“Never quit quitting. It may take a few tries to quit for good, but keep trying.”
Till next time…
Celebrate Your Quit Milestones!
~ Diana D. ~
Founder of dareandbe.com/