If you have successfully ditched cigarettes,we say congratulations. But know that you have another enemy in the form of cravings or urges to smoke. And even though these cravings can be compelling, you can overpower them. It’s like a war and each time you resist an urge to smoke,you move closer to your stop smoking goal.
Nicotine or smoking cravings are at their worst in the first two weeks of your quit attempt, you need to have a plan to counteract them. If you are able to go through your first two weeks without succumbing to a smoke, chances are you will be able to permanently stay smoke-free.
Each time a nicotine craving hits you,use affirmations to get through. Say your affirmations loud to yourself: “I am a non-smoker,smoking is no longer a part of my make-up.” Repeat it several times,it will sink into your system. Your mind will come to accept it and it will help you overcome subsequent nicotine cravings.
Another thing is to know that even though tobacco cravings may be intense, they are usually short-lived, and will pass within three to five minutes whether you smoke or not. These cravings come in 2 forms: physical and psychological cravings. Physical cravings, which are your body’s response to the absence of nicotine, disappear after 3 days. They include feelings of anxiety, headache,tightness in the throat or belly. Psychological cravings,on the other hand, linger for a long time and are triggered by the events in your daily life. In a way,we can call psychological cravings thoughts,that is,your constant thinking about smoking. But the good thing is that thoughts can be ignored. So just ignore them. You may not believe it but you can use your mind to quit smoking.
Like the Boys Scouts’ Motto, always be prepared for cravings.Think ahead and plan ways to handle and cope with cravings. Formulate a plan to distract yourself each time you feel a strong urge to smoke. You build up your confidence to successfully handle a craving each time you say NO to a temptation to smoke.
Nicotine or tobacco cravings start right after your last cigarette and lessen over months. How long the cravings last depend on how long and how often you smoke. Although they decrease with time, urges may still occur for about three to six months after quitting. The longer you distance yourself from cigarettes, the fewer urges you’ll have.
Below are 13 ways to counter the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a cravings hits you,no matter where you are or what you are doing:
* Immediately a craving hits you, change the scenery. Get up and move around, go into a different room, or even go outside. If you can, take a five to ten-minute walk. Walk around the building. Breathe deeply as you do so. A brief workout and a change of scene helps!
* When Brian Tracy wrote the book; Change your thinking, Change Your Life,he meant you could control your life with your thoughts and when a craving strikes, you can find a way to redirect your thoughts from the idea of smoking. Remind yourself of your reasons for smoking cessation and concentrate on why you don’t want to smoke. Focus 100% on the benefits of quitting and affirm to yourself that smoking is not an alternative,no matter how tough things may be.
* Delay yourself from giving in to a craving.Tell yourself you must wait 10 minutes before you have a cigarette and engage in something to distract yourself for that period of time. This simple trick may be enough to weaken your nicotine craving. Repeat as often as needed. Remind yourself that the craving will pass. The nicotine withdrawal period will pass, too.
* Several times you will be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy an intense craving. Don’t give in, because having just one leads to another, then another — and you may end up smoking cigarettes again.
* Enlist the support of a family member, friend,accountability partner or support group as you struggle to overcome nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together or simply share a few laughs. Life is beautiful,don’t allow cravings to spoil your fun.
* Avoid situations in which you formerly smoked as they could trigger an urge to smoke. For instance,if you used to smoke while drinking alcohol,avoid alcohol because nicotine cravings are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked most of the time. If you used to smoke at parties, stop attending them,at least for a while. If you used to smoke while driving,start commuting with public transportation. I can hear you say, “is it that serious?” Yes,it is. Drastic problems deserve drastic solutions. Identify your trigger situations and devise a plan to avoid them or get through them without going back to cigarettes.
* Get into the exercise mode. Exercise can help distract you from cigarette cravings and bring down the intensity level of cravings. It lessens cravings, relieves stress, improves mood, and can help you keep the weight off. A daily and consistent 30 minutes of moderate physical workout can make a craving or urge go away. Get out for a walk or jog. If you’re stuck at home or the office, try indoor exercises like push-ups or walking up and down the stairs a few times.
* Take deep breaths throughout the day.Visualise the fresh air filling your lungs and remind yourself of the various advantages of quitting to your health. Learning relaxation and meditation techniques could help you deal with stress and stressful situations.
* Don’t use nicotine replacement therapies such as gums or patches. They keep the nicotine in your blood for a longer period than good old cold turkey quitting. It’s best to get the nicotine out of your system at once and get the withdrawal done in days instead of letting it run for months.
* Keep yourself busy throughout the day. Get involved in a hobby you love. Play a musical instrument, browse the Internet, knit, play a video game,whatever,just find an activity that will occupy your hands and change the focus of your thoughts. A sort of distraction,you may say.
* Drink water and juice abundantly. Water busts your urge to smoke and helps your metabolism work with more efficiency. Water is one of nature’s free but effective quit smoking aids; use it to your advantage. See more natural ways to cleanse the body after quitting.
* Substitute smoking with eating a healthy snack, chewing sugarless gum, munching raw carrots, or sucking on a piece of hard candy each time a smoking craving strikes. But please avoid foods that you associate with smoking to avoid a relapse.
* Each time you successfully resist an urge to smoke,use the money you would have used to buy cigarettes to reward yourself. Eat your favourite meal,go to the movies,take a vacation,whatever. It’s not an easy thing to do, so, celebrate every little success you attain on the way. Take each craving as it comes, don’t be anxious about tomorrow. Tomorrow will sort out itself.
A craving or urge is definitely not a command to smoke; it’s just a suggestion and how you react to it will determine the success or otherwise of your stop smoking goal. Say NO to your cravings today!!!