Define yourself as a non-smoker
This is a technique to keep in mind once you’ve stopped. There are times when you feel stressed out when you’ll think about smoking. You might smell it and get hit by a craving. You’ll think to yourself, “Nothing would be better than a cigarette right now.” Allowing those thoughts to plant a seed in your mind can be dangerous. You might start questioning your decision to stop smoking. This can lead you to the temptation of starting again. Think of yourself as a ânon-smoker.’ Say to yourself, “But why would I want to smoke? I don’t smoke.” Remind yourself that you are a new person with a new perspective.
See yourself as someone who doesn’t rely on cigarettes. Be able to remind yourself of what you do now when you’re feeling a bit stressed and anxious. Return to the habits and hobbies you’ve formed until the craving passes. This is a time to rely on the non-smokers around you to keep you reminded of all the benefits you’re reaping from stopping smoking. If need be, write them down and keep the list handy. In that way, when you’re tempted, you can remind yourself why you became a non-smoker.
Think of the benefits for those around you
When you smoke, you don’t smoke alone. Your second-hand smoke affects the people around you. Passive smoking is when someone who doesn’t smoke inhales the smoke of those around them. It can cause long-term health problems as much as smoking does. Studies show that passive smoking can result in lung diseases such as cancer. You might think that because you smoke outside the house, your children are not inhaling second-hand smoke. That’s not true. When you hug them, they breathe in the smoke from your close. This exposes them to nicotine.
Even when you smoke outside at a family barbecue, everyone around you is breathing in your second-hand smoke. You may be quitting for yourself, but you’re also stopping for those around you. When you’re having a craving and are tempted to give in, think about the people around you. Think about how your quitting smoking will benefit them. This can be a great motivator and keep you on the path. It’s hard but thinks about this: if you stop smoking now, your children might never even start. Children often start smoking because it’s a learned behavior.
Avoid alcohol and other triggers
Certain situations may trigger a craving to smoke. You’ll have found that drinking alcohol made you smoke more cigarettes than you normally would. Going to places where smoking is allowed indoors also triggered additional smoking. It’s easy when you don’t have to go and stand outside in the cold to smoke. Being in any social setting where smoking was taking place would increase your nicotine intake. You’re not going to be able to avoid all your triggers forever. You will be in settings where people smoke.
You will drink alcohol. You will still go and hand out with your friends at work when they’re on a smoke break. The key is how you deal with the triggers. At first, you may want to avoid your triggers as much as you can. To do that, you need to be able to identify your triggers. Put pen to paper and write a list of what makes you want to smoke. If you go into a situation that you know is going to trigger a need to smoke, be prepared for it. Be focused on the benefits of quitting and maintain your willpower.
Keep your eye on the prize. In other words, don’t ever let yourself forget why you’re quitting smoking. Even though there may be days when you feel awful, remind yourself of what your objectives are. You may feel physically ill when you stop smoking. Your emotions may go off the scale, and you’ll have mood swings. Each of these is natural response. You need to handle these dark periods with a silver-lining approach. The long-term silver lining is regaining your health and well-being. The short-term silver lining is every minute, hour, day, week, and month you manage to resist the urge.
Celebrate your successes. They keep you motivated and help you to keep a positive outlook. If you dwell on the negatives, you’re likely to give up. You won’t be able to see the good that is going to come from stopping. Then you’re going to wonder why you’re putting yourself and your body through this. Keep a journal. For each day that you’ve remained smoke-free, write down a message of positive encouragement to yourself. Find the good in each day that has come from the fact that you no longer smoke.
Enjoy the freedom
Nicotine is an addictive substance. It becomes your master. It dictates when you do things. You get to a point where you can’t do certain things without smoking first. Some people can’t start their day without a cigarette. Others report being unable to sleep without having a cigarette right before bed. After a few hours without a cigarette, your master reminds you that it’s time for a fix. You start thinking about how good it’s going to feel. Soon, you can think of nothing else. Then you go and have a cigarette. Your master has managed to get you to serve it again.
When you stop smoking, you break the shackles, and your habit no longer dictates what you do and when you do it. It is very liberating. It’s important to see quitting smoking as emancipation, not a punishment. When you find yourself deciding what the last thing you do before bedtime is, you’ll realize that nicotine no longer rules your life. The freedom to spend your money on other things and to spend your time doing other things is a great feeling. Keep your eye on this prize when times are tough. It’s worth it in the end.