Posted in Health by Guest
For many people quitting smoking is the hardest thing they’ll ever have to do. Yes, there are those lucky few who have a cigarette one day, and then decide they don’t want to have any more, and then stop. But the odds are you are not one of these people, which means going into this half cocked is going to be setting yourself up to fail.
So before you have that final cigarette, make sure you do these few things first:
Decide why you’re quitting
It may seem stupid to ask if you’ve got a good reason for quitting, but this is misunderstanding a fundamental fact of the human brain- When you want to do something your brain is going to work really hard to convince you it’s okay to do it. If you’re quitting for health reasons your brain will conveniently forget that and instead try to tell you that, since you’ve got a handle on your money troubles now, you can afford to smoke.
If you’re deciding to quit, write down the reason you’ve decided to quit as clearly as possible. Stick it up over your desk or staple it to your forehead. When the cravings come and you feel like absolute rubbish, remind yourself of the reason you’re making yourself feel that way, and why it would be a terrible idea to light up the one cigarette that would make you feel okay again.
A lot of people try not to make a big deal out of it when they try to quit, deciding to quit without telling their family, friends or co-workers. This has the happy side effect that if they fail nobody will ever know that they tried in the first place. Not telling people is a form of protection, it means you expect to fail before you’ve even started.
Instead, when you decide to quit, shout it from the rooftops. Tell your family and your friends. Post it to Twitter and Facebook. Write it in all your Christmas cards. Make it clear to absolutely everyone that you have had your last cigarette, and tell them why. Nicotine cravings are powerful, but sometimes fear of embarrassment can be even more powerful. Harness that.
Plan your coping strategies in advance
Even if you know why you’re quitting, and everybody else does too, there are going to be times when the urge to snap is unbearable. It could be during times of stress or even just while watching a really nice sunset, there will be all sorts of moments where it seems like all you’re missing is a smoke.
So when this happens, be ready. People use all sorts of coping techniques for these moments. Nicotine patches, gum or electric cigarettes both allow you to control your nicotine cravings without the other nasty side effects of smoking, and let you slowly bring down the amount of nicotine you need rather than sending you completely cold turkey.
Another good tactic is to reward yourself by keeping count of the money you aren’t spending on cigarettes. Every time you feel like a cigarette and turn it down, make a note, then buy yourself a treat at the end of the week with the spoils.
Share the misery
There are plenty of forums, support groups and websites to help people who are trying to quit smoking. Talking to people who are trying to quit smoking is much better than talking to people who’ve never smoked (who really don’t see why you’re making such a big deal out of it) or people who smoke (who don’t see the harm in you having one little fag while you’re out at the pub). People who are also trying to quit will be able to congratulate you on the milestones and help you through the tough times, until eventually you’re smoke free.
Sam Wright is a freelance writer who’s trying to quit smoking right now. Handily, he’s also working with www.smokshop.com