Quitting smoking is an extremely difficult task for a large portion of the population. Almost any former smoker will attest to the fact that quitting was one of the toughest challenges they have ever faced. While society has started to realize the health concerns associated with cigarette smoke, many people still find themselves trapped in a life of addiction.
So how do some people manage to quit while others remain frustrated? Why is it that many smokers struggle through years of failed attempts at quitting while others simply put down their cigarette and walk away for good?
The answers to these questions are in no way clear, and while some scientists believe that many people have addicting behaviors wired into them from birth, others refute such claims. Regardless of this scientific debate, countless success stories from quitters demonstrate that anyone can quit if they follow the proper regime and practice self control.
While there is no routine or miracle program that will guarantee the success of anyone attempting to quit smoking, there are a number of universal tips that can aid in this often uphill struggle.
1) Keeping Busy
Learn a new language, take up fishing, attend guitar lessons or spin class. These are but a few examples of activities that quitters can take on to help take their minds off of their addiction. It is important for the activity to be interesting, exciting, and smoke free. These activities should help redirect the quitters mind away from smoking, so practicing darts at a local pub full of smokers would not be a good choice.
2) Avoiding/Notifying those who smoke
It is almost impossible for someone to quit smoking if a friend or family member is constantly offering them a cigarette or asking them to go on a smoke break at work. By informing close friends and family about their situation and requesting that they be supportive quitters can easily avoid this potential roadblock. In some cases it may even be best to temporarily avoid those who smoke if possible.
3) Avoiding situations that trigger cravings
For some people it is alcohol, for others it is movies that contain scenes with smoking. Whatever the trigger is, avoiding it for the initial stages where cravings are highest will make quitting far easier for almost anyone.
4) Finding support
Quitting is tough, but quitting alone is nearly impossible. Close friends and family can be there for quitters at their weakest moments to provide extra encouragement when needed. Sometimes finding a fellow smoker to act as a “quitting buddy” can inspire friendly competition and determination.
5) Looking for the positives
Cutting cigarettes can cause intense cravings, urges, and feelings of resentment or resignation. It is important to know that these feelings will fade in time and to look at the positives of the situation. Maybe it is easier to breathe, money is being saved, or the car no longer smells like smoke. There are always benefits to quitting, and it is important to remember these when urges are strongest.
When attempting to quit it is important for individuals to reward themselves for their success. Buying a treat for work or going golfing, these are activities that not only take the mind off of cigarettes but can improve quality of life in general.
Each individual is different and will require a personalized quitting plan. The universal tips provided, however, will improve the chances of success for almost anyone. Smoking is a bad habit, and an addicting one at that, but with determination, perseverance, and support a smoke free life is possible for anyone.