Smoking is one of the hardest habits to get rid of. But the truth is smoking is so damaging to your health that the need to stop it is both necessary and urgent. But why is it so hard to quit smoking? There are two reasons for this. First of all, nicotine is addictive. It gives the brain a feel good high that makes this habit so addictive in the first place. Second it becomes a psychological habit over time. Aside from the tangible, physical effects of nicotine to the brain, you also associate the feel-good high as a kind of relief when you are tense, nervous, or bored. This is why when you are tensed, you habitually light a cigarette, not just for the craving for nicotine but out of habit.
Here are the best ways to kick the habit of smoking for good.
- Have a plan – it is easy to say you want to quit but without a plan, you are doom to fail the moment the withdrawal symptoms kick in. First thing in your “plan” is to set a quit date. Ideally set it two weeks from the day you decide to quit. This will give you time to prepare. Tell your friends and family too. This will allow them to support your decision. You can even have a friend who also wants to quit. You can support each other. Always anticipate a bumpy ride ahead. Prepare for the worse and expect your body to resist the changes you will be doing in the next few weeks.
- Follow some practical steps to make quitting easier – Remove cigarettes in your car, room, and office. This will keep you focused on your efforts never to light a cigarette again. If you do not see a cigarette, you do not have to flirt with your addiction. Lastly, talk to your doctor and ask for help. There are medications and other alternatives to smoking that can help you transition smoothly.
- Manage your cravings –Make no mistake that your craving to smoke will visit you often even after weeks of being smoke-free. How to deal with this? Distract yourself. Do some house chores, watch TV, go out biking, do everything and anything to get smoking out of your mind. You can also remind yourself why you quit – it could be your desire to live longer, to get rid of a persistent cough, or the money you will end up saving. You can also choose to reward yourself. Successfully resisted the urge to light up? Treat yourself with an ice cream or a night out with friends.