We hear you!
Let us just remind you that it takes several tries before succeeding but whatever you do, just don’t quit…quitting!
At this stage, we remind you of certain classic strategies that have proven useful for many ex-smokers. You can now put into practice those that suit you best. This will allow you to decide on a quit date more quickly and move on to the next section, THAT’S IT, I QUIT!
But before, to get well prepared, let's revisit our classics!
By smoking, you not only became addicted, on a physical level, but on a psychological and behavioural level too. You’ve developed thought patterns and habits that have you increasingly chained to cigarettes. These ties are so strong that we refer to them as smokers' reflexes. Thoughts, habits and reflexes like these don’t change just by swallowing a pill or making a new year’s resolution.
To succeed in freeing yourself from cigarettes, it's important to:
- Learn from your previous attempts
- Get prepared
- Use daily, effective trategies and tips
Here are classic examples of strategies/tips for quitting smoking:
1. Don’t answer the craving right away
- A nicotine craving lasts less than five minutes. So every time you have one, find something to do that makes you happy and the cravings will come farther and farther apart. It’s an effective way to de-program the robotic, autopilot side of tobacco addiction.
- If you get through this craving without smoking, your pride and self-confidence will increase. The result? The next big cravings (as well as the little ones) will be fewer and fewer.
- On the other hand, if you smoke one, the craving will overtake you, only much more quickly.
- So, try to find more positive and healthy ways to eliminate or handle your stress, anger, depressive mood or any other emotions.
Here two simple actions to perform when the urge to light up strikes:
- Yawn! It’s a reflex (still a mystery) that forces a deep breath and therefore, give more oxygen to the body and facilitate a relax state.
- Stand or lie down on the floor, lift your arms over your head while pointing your hands and feet. Imagine you’re an arrow. Inhale deeply and stretch to the maximum, contracting every muscle in your body.
Maintain this posture for three to five seconds, and then relax. Repeat this three to five times.
- Search You Tube to find other good exercises with the research term "stretching videos".
To get even more benefits from these actions, combine them with this simple relaxation technique that only takes a few minutes: search “cardiac coherence” on You Tube. You can choose from numerous videos the ones that suits you best.
2. Change certain habits
The idea is to change, without creating anxiety, the way you think and act in order to diminish or eliminate the impact of people, things, situations that lead you to smoke or create obstacles in your quit smoking process. Here are some classic examples:
- Instead of smoking during a break, do something else fun.
- Allow yourself to refuse cigarettes when offered to you.
- Call into question certain clichés about your relationship with cigarettes “They’re my best friends” ‘A beer or a good cup of coffee, etc…. is never as good without a cigarette’ (after all, it's just a roll of paper fill with bits and pieces of plants...)
- Do activities with non-smokers.
- Have your first cigarette of the morning 10, 30, 60 minutes later than usual.
- Smoke fewer cigarettes per day.
- Get rid of the smoke odours in your clothing and surroundings, etc.
3. Replace cigarettes
You’ve trained your brain and body to depend on cigarettes for you to feel good. It is really important that you do activities that you enjoy. The ''pleasure'' brought on by cigarettes will gradually lose its hold on you.
- Move: Take any and every opportunity to be physically active (climb the stairs, walk to do your shopping or to work, start doing again physical activities that you enjoyed in the past, etc.).
- Treat yourself: Find other activities that make you happy and provide numerous occasions to laugh such as funny videos, theatre, cinema, reading, singing, music or talking to a good friend in person or on the phone!
- Keep your hands busy!
- Play with an elastic band, a paper clip or a pencil.
- If you usually smoke on the phone, as soon as you quit smoking try holding the receiver with the hand you usually use to hold your cigarette.
- Tinker with something.
- Draw, take photos, play a musical instrument, play on a computer, pet your favourite animal, squeeze a stress ball, etc.
- Take care of your mouth: For the urgent need to have something in your mouth, chew gum, cinnamon sticks, or straws. Brush your teeth several times a day (cigarettes taste bad after that), eat carrot sticks, celery and other fresh foods and drink lots of water, etc.
- Bag of tools: Make a non-smoking bag with some of the things above and keep it with you at all times.
- Positive thoughts. If you can find excuses to smoke a cigarette, you’re also capable of finding excuses to not smoke one, such as “I don’t have time.” Imagine the face your cigarette would make...;)
- Support person. Find someone you can talk to when things are going well and when things get tough.
- Relax: Get adequate sleep, stretch while taking deep breaths or yawning. Enhance your surroundings and pratice daily a relaxation technique (especially the "cardiac coherence" that we suggested above).
- Reward yourself: Reward yourself regularly with the money saved from cigarettes. Suggestion: open a separate account for a trip, a boat, a motorcycle or any other dream you would like to make come true.
In the next section, THAT’S IT, I QUIT! , you’ll find a new approach that will allow you to let your cravings pass more effectively!