Quitting smoking can be difficult. As the popular phrase goes, "old habits die hard," and the act of smoking is no different. When you consider that smoking can be a physical habit as well as an addiction, it can seem almost insurmountable to quit. However, with the right supports in place, and a variety of replacements, you can ensure that you will remain an ex-smoker for the rest of your life. Try any of the following before picking up that next cigarette.
That's right - exercise can be a great way to work out the jitters and anxiety experienced by many quitters. And there's no need to rush out to the gym; even going for a brisk walk or a jog can help. Love swimming? Consider grabbing a local pool membership for a month to give you something to focus on when you quit. Enjoy biking? Grab that bike and go for a long ride when cravings become overwhelming.
Are you stressing out excessively because of the quitting process? Maybe it's time to pare back. When you are quitting smoking, you must schedule in time to relax and enjoy yourself. Take up a hobby or pursue learning more about something you love.
Drinking Plenty of Liquids
Don't just drink coffee or alcohol - both of these are poor at rehydration and can actually dehydrate you further. Drinking plenty of water, low-sugar juice, or herbal tea can help to flush toxic chemicals out of your system more quickly. That includes the toxins from cigarettes!
Make sure you're ingesting enough Vitamin C. There are many ways to ensure this; drink plenty of orange juice, take vitamin C supplements, or be sure to eat foods that contain plenty of Vitamin C. When adults quit smoking, they require upwards of 500 mg of vitamin C per day.
Meditation is incredibly simple, and you can practice simple meditation just about anywhere. While the most traditional form of meditation is sitting meditation, other forms can be helpful. Even guided visualizations aimed at smoking cessation can be helpful.
To start a very simple meditation exercise, begin taking deep breaths. As you breath in and out, visualize the air you are taking in as clean and healing. Visualize the air you breath out as carrying out stress and toxins. A count of four is usually recommended for breathing in, and breathing out;. Start by breathing in and thinking "1...2...3...4," and continue this when you breath out, for another "1...2...3...4." After breathing out, pause for four seconds before taking another breath. If this makes you dizzy or you don't feel right, try cutting the count to 3. This slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, and has the ability to relax you.
Physical Relaxation Exercises
Try this simple exercise to relax your physical body. Working from your toes and rising up to your head, clench and relax each part of your body. Clench your toes first, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Move up to your shins, and then your knees, and so on.
Don't rush this exercise; work slowly, clenching muscle groups multiple times if necessary. Pair this with the previous visualization and breathing exercise for best results. Remember that your goal is to achieve relaxation and "stillness." Allow your mind to wander, but don't cling to the thoughts that pass through your mind. Acknowledge each thought, and then move on from it.
Refocusing Your Energy
Focusing your energy on anything other than cigarettes and smoking can help to distract you from cravings and stress. Direct your mental energy to work, the world around you, or other things can help to ensure your success.
Begin to open up to the world around you - what have you missed while smoking? Look at the people you pass by, and notice small details. Consider smiling and saying hello to each person you pass. Notice details like a pretty scarf or nice hat. Then, consider the lives of the people you pass by - what are their lives like? What do they love or struggle with on a daily basis? This can help to get away from ego issues that can be triggered when quitting. It can also help to remind you that every person on Earth has their own struggles; while yours may currently be quitting smoking, you are not alone in your struggle for a better life.
Nicotine replacement therapy can actually be very effective at reducing cravings. Consider various substitutes like nicotine patches, nicotine gum (though read our article about its dangers before buying), or Nicotine inhalers. Some medications, like Chantix, can help to reduce cravings; however, you should speak with your doctor before beginning any nicotine replacement program. Another option that we are beginning to really believe in is the electronic cigarette. It's a great tool to help people quit smoking, and even if they don't quit using nicotine, they'll still be much better off. Check out our Electronic Cigarette Reviews Page to learn more.
Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables
Most people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, but these two important foods are of the utmost importance to smokers and recent quitters. Begin exploring salads, fruits, and different tastes and sensations. Celery, for example, gives a delicious crunch and can even rehydrate you. Cucumber is cool and moist, and tastes great with just a bit of pepper. Spinach can be prepared in many different ways - consider trying them all to see which you like best. Exploring healthy tastes and oral sensations is a great way to take the focus off of missing cigarettes, and to replace the oral fixation of smoking cigarettes. Taste is often limited when you smoke, too; by exploring new foods, you may find new favorites as your taste buds expand again.
Up until you quit smoking, your priorities were likely centered on smoking. You probably thought that having your next cigarette was the most important action in your day. Refresh your priorities by choosing new ones. Consider redesigning your interior design, changing the color of your walls with paint, or even the theme or style of your home. This can have a direct impact on how you feel when spending time within it. Making new changes can also help you to realize that you have control and power over your life; you can change or leave behind almost anything you aren't happy with. For that which you can't change, you can change your attitude toward it.