Many say smoking is a bad habit, but it’s not. Smoking is more than a bad habit. It’s a chemical dependence on nicotine. Chemical dependence is a condition in which a person experiences physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking certain drugs.
If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking before and experienced irritability, anxiety, depression, impatience, insatiable hunger, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, or difficulty sleeping, you experienced nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms differ depending on how long and how much you’ve been smoking..
Like alcoholism, nicotine dependence is a very real medical problem. Because nicotine dependency is a medical condition, quitting involves much more than will power. You have to learn to literally rewire your brain. Your brain has trained your body to think cigarettes are necessary for survival. The good news is that quitting is possible. In fact, today there are more ex-smokers than smokers in the US. If you’re ready to quit smoking, here are five tips to help you get started.
Find your reason
Quitting is hard. You need the proper motivation that will get you through the rough spots. You will also need plenty of determination for the first few weeks especially. Why do you want to quit? Do you want to feel better? Do you want to save the extra money you use on cigarettes? For some, the reason may need to be more personal. Do you want to avoid the negative health effects of cigarettes like high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer? Do you want to live to be there for your children and grandchildren?
Prepare yourself before you go cold turkey
As explained earlier, smoking is a nicotine addiction. It’s going to take more than sheer willpower to stop smoking. It’s best to have a plan in place so you know what to do and who to call if you start having a craving. Line up your support base, and ask your doctor for resources.
You might also consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Studies show that nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches improve your chances of success when you’re also in a quit-smoking program. Ask about quit-smoking programs, counseling, classes, and medications. Figure out what works best for you. Then stick to it.
Gather your support group
Any type of addiction, including nicotine addiction is impossible to overcome on one’s own. Surround yourself with friends, family, counselors, doctors and other people who will encourage you, support you and keep you accountable. Who can provide you with the resources you need? Who can you call when you’re having a craving at 3:00 in the morning? You might even consider joining a support group. If you have a really strong support network, you’re more likely to succeed.
Give yourself a break
Statistically, most smokers smoke to relax. Once you quit, you’re going to have to learn new stress management skills. Exercise can help you blow off steam. Getting plenty of sleep can help reduce stress and help you concentrate. Eating a protein heavy breakfast in the morning can help regulate your mood throughout the day.
It’s also going to be important for you to take care of yourself, especially for the first few weeks. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself a bit. Treat yourself to a massage, movie night, or a nice long bath. You might also try a new hobby to keep your mind off cigarettes.
Avoid alcohol and other triggers
There are going to be people, places, and things that stir up cravings for nicotine in you. For example, many people smoke and drink alcohol at the same time. If you’re one of those people, drinking alcohol is going to make it harder to stick to your no-cigarette goals. Other people smoke when they drink a cup of coffee. Still others take a smoke break to catch up on gossip with co-workers. They may have to avoid the breakroom or the coffee for a while.
Also, it’s a good idea to purge your house of all your ashtrays, cigarette butts, and lighters. If these items are nearby and accessible, they make lightning up a cigarette even easier. Plus, the smell of the ashtray could also cause a craving.
If you want to quit smoking, but don’t know where to start, give us a call at (662) 348-3342 . We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for you.