It’s a new year and you’ve committed to a cleaner, healthier, cigarette-less lifestyle. Brilliant, but quitting smoking is no small feat; you’re going to need a plan of action if you’re going to kick the habit for good. In order to aid you in your fight against those awful things we’ve compiled a quick list of the most effective methods of smothering out those persistent cravings:
1. Nip Your Triggers in the Bud
Recent studies have shown that cigarette cravings are the result of entrenched habits and routine. Particular times of the day, places, and foods can mentally trigger an unruly urge to smoke. Triggers can be extremely tough to calm if you’re unaware of their presence. In order to combat them you should keep a journal for a week or so, and make note of the particular places or events that bring about an urge to light up, noting the intensity of the craving.
There are then two methods of dealing with your triggers; you can either change your routine, which is a bit unfeasible for most people; or you can de-condition your response to these triggers through gradual isolated training. What we mean by this is, say for example you’re used to having a cigarette in the car. You should practice driving for a short while without smoking, gradually increasing the length of the drive. Or if you associate going to the pub with allowing yourself a few more cigarettes, you could have a drink with the insistence in mind of not touching the cigs.
2. Let’s Get Physical
Physical exercise is a great way to distract yourself from cigarette cravings. Ok sure; it’s unrealistic to think you have time to throw out a few jumping jacks every time you get an inkling of a craving, but consider it a versatile weapon in your arsenal when it is appropriate. How great would it be to kill two birds with one stone – decrease your smoking AND increase physical activity? Unbelievable, go you!
3. Zen Yourself – Take A Breather
A really common yet counterproductive response to feeling a craving come on is to tense up and feel a little stressed out at the infliction. This does you no favours as stress is one of the most common triggers of relapse. Instead, try to take that moment to take a quick break and accept that you’re craving a cigarette, but try to mentally reframe the feeling as an inevitable symptom of successfully overcoming the scourge. Twenty deep rhythmic breaths are recommended as a means to recomposing your stress levels and should vanquish the itch.
A quick mental hack to derailing the process of craving to consumption is to tell yourself you’ll wait another 10 minutes to gauge if you really do want a cigarette. Cravings usually only last a measly 3 to 5 minutes so after the 10 minute delay you should be right as rain.
If you find that you still need motivation and encouragement to quit, we have outlined some strong reasons here.