There are few things more damaging to the human body than a smoking habit. Smoking has long been conclusively linked to many forms of cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and many other life-threatening diseases. Not surprisingly, many of the 45 million smokers in the United States try to quit smoking every year. Unfortunately, smoking is notoriously addictive; of the roughly 44 percent of smokers who try to quit each year, only 4 to 7 percent actually succeed.
Given the importance of quitting smoking, a number of methods have been developed over the years to make it easier for smokers to quit. By implementing these changes in lifestyle, you could stand a better chance at finally eliminating your addiction to smoking.
Remove All Temptations – Breaking nicotine’s deadly grip on your body is tough enough without constantly being reminded of smoking. Leaving ashtrays, lighters, match trays and cigarettes around your house or apartment only adds to the temptation to resume your smoking habit.
Another Reason to Drink Water – We all know that water is important for the body – who hasn’t heard the “eight glasses per day” recommendation? But did you know that water can help you quit smoking? Water helps cleanse the body of nicotine, while simultaneously reducing your mouth’s craving for this dangerous narcotic.
Anticipate Your Cravings – During the quitting process, you will inevitably feel the urge to break down and have a cigarette. While being tempted by the toxic allure of nicotine, it is absolutely crucial to remember that the urge will pass. Simply remind yourself to persevere, and you can ride out the craving until it subsides. Many times, these urges dissolve after a short period of time. You might consider writing a note with this very message, pulling it out whenever necessary.
Seek Support from Others – Fighting against cigarettes is often too big a struggle for one person to handle. A lack of external support can often derail a smoker’s efforts to live a healthier life. Interacting with other smokers in the same boat might make it easier for you to accomplish your goal. There are a number of smoker support groups that offer encouragement and assistance to recovering smokers.
Manage Your Stress Level – A stressful day at home or work is often enough to get ex-smokers to reach back into the cigarette pack. By controlling your stress levels, you can cut off many of your urges at the root, thereby reducing your overall desire to smoke. You can reduce your body’s amount of stress by listening to relaxing music, getting massages or practicing yoga or tai chi.
Put Down the Bottle (and Other Triggers Too) – If you truly want to quit smoking, you might have to temporarily give up alcohol as well, or at least reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol is leading triggers of relapses for smokers, so you could very well feel an irresistible urge to smoke after down a few beers.
Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can lead to a nicotine craving. Many people find that they “need” a cigarette after drink a cup of coffee. Whatever your trigger turns out to be, it’s important to try and avoid it while quitting smoking.
Patch Things Up – Recent decades have seen the advent of the nicotine patch, a patch that slowly injects its user with nicotine throughout the day. Nicotine is the chemical compound that gives cigarettes their addictive quality. The user then switches to less and less potent patches, until he or she no longer needs nicotine. Patches are not without side effects, as they can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, headaches, itching near the patch and even vomiting. Nicotine patches can also cause nightmares, so you may want to remove them before bedtime. Please note that you should avoid smoking when using the patch, as doing so could lead to nicotine overdose.
Got Gum? – In lieu of patches, many smokers have been able to free themselves from cigarettes by chewing nicotine gum. Like patches, the idea is for the user to use less and less of the product until they have broken their addiction. Nicotine gum also shares another trait with nicotine patches, in that they are not without risk. The side effects of nicotine gum may include a greater risk of higher blood pressure, and some users wind up with an addiction to the product. Consider consulting with your doctor before using either nicotine-filled gum or patches.
Get Active! – Sedentary smokers take note – a more physically active lifestyle can take your mind off of nicotine and reduce the intensity of your cravings. You don’t have to start running lap or pumping serious iron to see this effect. Even moderate exercises, such as walking the dog around the block or tending to yard work, can significantly ease your urge to smoke.
If At First You Don’t Succeed… – In case you were wondering just how hard it is to break a longstanding smoking habit, consider this; some research suggests that nicotine is a more addictive narcotic than heroin. Given nicotine’s near death grip on the human body, its understandable why so many smokers just can’t quit smoking. If your first attempt to kick cigarettes to the curb fails, don’t give up. Many smokers have to try several times before they can finally slay their nicotine demons.
Millions of smokers fail to give up their favorite brands of cigarettes, and wind up paying the ultimate price as a result. Though it may be a painful process full of setbacks and personal struggle, quitting smoking is almost guaranteed to add years to an ex-smoker’s life. By implementing and sticking to the techniques listed above, smokers can greatly improve their odds of laying their self-destructive habits to rest.
The proceeding article was written by an employee of Natural Knowledge 24/7.