You’ve heard it all before…but…How many times have you heard the words Smoking is sooo bad for you..”?
Yeah, like a bazillion or something.
While certainly true, this sentiment doesn’t help much.
On the other hand, providing specific reasons why smoking is bad is not only necessary but effective.
– Smoking dulls the senses of smell and taste.
– Smoking expedites the aging process.
– Secondhand smoke is repulsive.
– Smoking is linked to impotence in males.
– Smoking increases the risk of illness and infections.
– Smoking puts other peoples’ health at risk. (50,000 people die annually from secondhand smoke.)
– Smoking is expensive.
– Smoking impacts the ability to perform simple physical activities.
Most want to quit…
Smoking is not something people do “just for kicks.” Smoking is an addiction. The substance responsible for this addictive quality, nicotine, is one of the most potent, most accessible stimulants on the market.
Quitting is awfully hard. Quitting is also something that most smokers want to do.
Which brings us to the point of this article!
Here are 15 (effective!) methods for helping you kick the habit:
1. Make a pros and cons list.
Ah, yes, the ole’ pros/cons list.
Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write the “pros” (things you like) about smoking on one side, and “cons” (things you don’t like) on the other.
It’s important to be honest with yourself for the method to be effective.
2. Set a date.
A “quit date.”
There’s something about setting deadlines that helps the brain “tune in” to what needs to happen to complete your goals successfully.
3. Cut back
Quitting cold turkey works for some; not so much for others.
For the latter group, cutting back may be the best way to eventually kick the habit.
Try eliminating a couple of cigarettes each week (or whatever period you’re comfortable with) until you hit zero.
4. Do something else
Make a list of things you can do whenever a craving hits. Examples: take a walk, play a game, wash the car, clean up your desk, do some pushups, practice deep breathing … whatever works for you.
Drinking water during the day primes your brain to function at its best. We’re also way more relaxed when adequately hydrated.
For smokers – especially those trying to quit – drinking water is a must.
6. Keep a money jar
This one is powerful, as are most financial incentives.
As you cut back on smoking, put the money you save in a glass and place the jar someplace conspicuous. Better yet keep two jars: one for home and one for work!
7. Cut back on caffeine
There appears to be a relationship between smoking and caffeine intake. This correlation is relatively unsurprising, as caffeine is also a stimulant.
Try cutting back on the java during your quitting period.
8. Remind yourself of obstacles overcome
As mentioned, quitting smoking can be a chore. During times of personal trial, it can help to remind ourselves of obstacle we’ve hurdled in the past.
9. Carry around healthy snacks
Fueling your body with protein-packed snacks (especially nuts) can help ward off cravings. Protein is a precursor to the brain chemicals dopamine (a “feel good” hormone) and GABA (the “rest and digest” hormone).
10. Voice your commitment
Number ten is not for the faint of heart, but letting people in on your attempt to quit smoking can be a powerful motivator.
Tell your colleagues, friends, and family about your decision to quit. See what your verbal commitment does for your confidence!
11. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of being consciously aware of one’s thoughts and emotions without judgment – and allowing them to pass.
Quitting smoking can tax our mind and brain. Moment-to-moment mindfulness – particularly during times of challenge – can help eliminate the stress.
12. Drink some tea
Actually, don’t just drink tea; turn it into a mindfulness exercise. When you’re preparing tea, focus on the task at hand.
When you sit down to enjoy the tea, pay attention to the flavor and temperature.
Then notice how you feel afterwards.
13. Do something fun
Distractions are usually not a good thing. But when you’re trying to quit smoking, distractions can be your saving grace.
So whenever a craving strikes, permit yourself to do something you enjoy for whatever amount of time you have.
14. Change your routine
Novelty is a beautiful thing when experiencing hardship.
Making simple changes to your normal routine may stimulate the brain enough to ward off cravings.
15. Get gum or lozenges
Per a study published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) “has been shown to increase smoking cessation rates.”
Researchers cite nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges as effective measures.