Smoking has many negative effects such as the increase in chance that you develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or have a stroke…and that’s just the beginning of the list. So if you’re thinking of quitting, it would certainly be in the best interest of your health and wellbeing. Luckily there are many forms of nicotine replacement therapies, treatments, and medications to help you overcome smoking such as Nicoderm, Nicorette patches, and various nicotine gums. Smoking cessation can be an incredibly challenging process, but with the following hacks, you’ll kick the habit in no time:
1. Pick a quit day
If you’ve been thinking about quitting smoking and keep telling yourself someday, you may never actually do it. It’s important to bite the bullet and set a date in the next week or two to quit. There’s no such thing as a perfect date, but try to avoid any special occasions that may cause triggers such as birthdays or holidays.
2. Nicotine replacement therapy
Try asking your healthcare provider about nicotine replacement therapy options. There are many options to pick from and you are sure to find one that suits your needs. For short-term options, you can try nicotine gum, nasal-sprays, or lozenges that have the ability to assist you in overcoming sudden and intense cravings. These short-term options are usually safe to use in combination with long-acting replacement therapies such as a nicotine patch.
3. Physical activity
Participating in physical activity can take your mind off of your cravings and be a great habit substitute. You can try going for a walk or a light jog around your neighborhood, but even something as simple as running up and down the stairs when you start having a craving can help to distract your mind. Getting a sweat on can also help to flush out excess fluids and nicotine in your body, making it a valuable option to consider when working to kick the habit.
4. Keep a craving journal
When a craving comes on it’s important to distract yourself with something else to do so you don’t give into the temptation. Keeping a craving journal is a great way to keep yourself in check while also logging the progress you’ve made in your journey to quitting smoking. Write the date and time, the craving intensity level, what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt. The journal will also help you become more aware of what usually triggers you, giving you the opportunity to avoid it in the future.
5. Avoid triggers
It is best to avoid triggers that will make you want to smoke, whether that be avoiding the places you used to smoke or finding substitutes at specific times when you would typically smoke. For example, if you used to go for a smoke break after you ate your lunch, try writing in a journal or doodling in a notebook after you eat instead. The last thing you want to do is set yourself up for a relapse.
6. Chew on something
Make sure to always have something to chew on that will distract your mind when a craving comes on. You can keep a pack of gum or some hard candies in your pocket or desk drawer that are easy to access. Try adding in little snacks to your lunch like celery or trail mix that will keep you focused on the tasty treat as opposed to your nicotine cravings.
7. Practice mindfulness
If writing in journals or exercising is not really up your alley, try activities to promote mindfulness. When a craving comes on, practice mindfulness with the RAIN acronym: Recognize your craving, Accept your craving, Investigate what the craving feels like, and Note the physical sensation. Instead of focusing on the fact that you are craving a cigarette, your attention will turn you to focus on your emotions. Many apps and websites exist that assist people in practicing mindfulness, such as Headspace, or even apps specific to people that are quitting smoking, such as QuitGuide. Find something that works for you and reap the benefits of mindfulness.