You are addicted to cigarettes. And you know about the thousand harmful things that smoking can do to your body. You want to quit. But you are unable to. Sometimes you do quit for a few days, but then, you again fall into the smoky trap.
Addiction to cigarette is not only a physical addiction per se, but a psychological habit as well. If you really want to quit cigarettes, here is a step-by-step guideline towards a smoke-free and healthy life.
Quitting cigarettes involve two stages:
a) The Planning Stage – Quitting smoking 101
b) The Actual Process – Say goodbye to smoking
The Planning – Quitting smoking 101
Going cold turkey on cigarettes, most of the times is not a very good idea. It is highly probable, that sooner or later you will again give in to your cravings. Getting rid of any addiction requires proper planning, a little ahead. Here is what you need to do:
1. Fix a date and mark it on a calendar.
2. At least a couple of weeks before you actually want to quit smoking, lessen the number of cigarettes that you smoke, in a slow but steady manner. Don’t buy a full pack of cigarettes. Buy and smoke as and when you want and gradually and consciously, try and lessen the daily intake of nicotine.
3. Write down on a piece of paper, all the reasons for which you have decided to quit cigarettes. Your reasons can be as simple as ‘ I want to quit because I don’t like those yellow stains on my teeth’ or ‘ I don’t want to feel like I am going to die, only after climbing three floors’. Be honest when you are doing this bit, and then put up that piece of paper at a place where it is visible to you for most of the day.
4. Tell your friends and family about your decision to quit. Ask for their help and encouragement. It will come in handy later.
5. Make a money jar in which you will put your daily cigarette money, once you quit completely.
6. Make a list of things that you think would be able to distract you during those craving times later. It can be any form of activity that keeps you occupied enough. Put it on a piece of paper and put that paper up on the wall.
7. Smoking cessation hotlines can help you quit. Talking with someone over the phone, someone you don’t know or have a relationship with, may be easier than confiding in a family member or friend.
8. Stock up on oral substitutes. Sugarless gum, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, straws, licorice (mulethi) sticks to name a few.
9. Finally remove all things that are remotely related to cigarettes from your sight. Remove all lighters, ashtrays, holders and anything that could remind you of cigarettes. Clean you house right before you quit, so that nothing smells like nicotine.
The Actual Process – Say goodbye to smoking
This one is simpler, because once you are in it, you are in it. And if you follow the planning stage carefully, you do have a good chance of being successful.
1. Do not smoke. Not even a drag.
2. Stay active, keep yourself busy. Whenever you get a craving, go back to that piece of paper on which you wrote down your favorite activities that can keep you occupied. Choose one and get distracted.
3. Avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.
4. Avoid people who are smoking, or tell them not to smoke around you.
5. At any cost, do not venture into the smoking zone of any place.
6. Change your daily routine. Bring variety. Take a different route to work. Eat things that you generally don’t eat. Basically, try not to get bored.
7. Put your daily cigarette money in the money jar. Reward yourself with something nice every six months.
8. Drink a lot of water to help the toxins in your body flush out quicker.
9. One way to curb smoking is to eat foods that are high in alkaline (the opposite of acid). Boiled oats, spinach, raisins, figs, and almonds can help.
10. Manage Stress effectively to quit smoking. Consume herbs such as fenugreek seeds, thyme, and lavender. They have a calming effect.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Smoking to be aware of
Be aware of the withdrawal symptoms of cigarettes. We are listing out them here for your convenience:
- Cigarette Cravings
- Irritability, Frustration or Anger
- Anxiety or Nervousness
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Increase in Appetite
- Increased Coughing
- Constipation or Upset Stomach
- Decreased Heart Rate
Remember as acute as your withdrawal symptoms might be, they are also temporary. They will get better once the toxin from your body is washed away. Be determined, and embrace a healthier smoke-free life.