A great challenge: that’s what quitting something is about. For people who have been smoking for more than ten years, abandoning the habit is not just a challenge. It is a question: how do you really quit smoking?
Below are ideas and tips you should know when you decide to stop.
1. Know the consequences. Quitting the stick lowers the risk of developing heart-related diseases and lung cancer, among others. However, quitting is not a one-time thing. It is a process, usually a long one that a smoker has to overcome. The nicotine in cigarettes already made you addicted and emotionally dependent on it. Abrupt cessation or significant decrease in the amount of smoking leads to uncomfortable physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Some of these symptoms are dizziness, depression, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and restlessness. So, when you quit, do it slowly.
2. Set your mind to it. It sounds cheesy, but setting your mind on your goal ups the motivation factor, increasing the chances of success. You don’t just sit and list the reasons why you want to quit; you anticipate what you might do in cases of withdrawal. For example, take up a new sport like swimming or baseball to keep you entertained. Stay away from the TV and do something creative with your hands like woodwork and gardening.
3. Taper off instead of abruptly stopping – as mentioned above, withdrawal symptoms can be particularly nasty to those who suddenly quit smoking. Learn to taper off the number of cigarettes you have per day, or the amount of nicotine you take. Switch to low nicotine brands. Also, if you smoke ten sticks in one day try smoking nine sticks tomorrow and then eight sticks two days later. There is no correct way to taper off. Ask your physician for medical guidance.
4. Choose an alternative – There are nicotine gums and patches you can use for that nicotine fix. Better yet, ask your doctor so he/she can prescribe the right product for you.
5. Try an app – the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute created a mobile app of resources that can serve as your guide to becoming smoke-free. The app contains articles regarding what to expect when you stop smoking, as well as tips on how to overcome withdrawal symptoms. It also connects the individual to a support community.
6. Get a quit-smoking partner – the buddy system works well in fitness programs, so it must work well for this purpose. A partner can monitor you closely and can offer immediate support and encouragement when you need it.