You already know. Even so, lots of people keep smoking. So why should you quit? The logic is simple: You ll improve the quality and length of your life and the lives of the people around you. Even so, quitting is very difficult. One way to prepare to successfully launch your smoke-free life is to understand why you smoke and what happens when you stop. Why is it so hard to quit? It s hard to tackle the physical addiction to nicotine. Cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance found naturally in tobacco. It travels quickly to the brain when it is inhaled and can cause a feeling of temporary relaxation and/or stress relief. Nicotine can also elevate your mood and your heart rate. But this feeling is only temporary. After your body rids itself of the drug, you start to crave another cigarette. Shortly after you finish smoking a cigarette, your body starts to show signs of withdrawal. You start to crave another cigarette to overcome these symptoms, starting a vicious cycle of dependency. It may seem challenging to find new ways to handle your stress. Do you grab a cigarette when you feel stressed or anxious? Stress, whether it s from your job, relationships, caregiving burdens or just plain fast-paced living, can cause you to look for fast and easy relief. But in the long run, smoking will only add to your stress by taking away your good health. To successfully quit smoking, you may need to think through your stress-management options before you quit. Stop and take a deep breath. Taking five to 10 deep breaths is a good start to stress relief. You also get the benefit of inhaling clean air into your lungs without those harmful chemicals! Go for a walk.
Physical activity can release a chemical in your body that improves your mood and relieves stress. Walking for 30 minutes a day can be a healthy distraction, burn extra calories and help your heart. Try to relax. Stress can make your muscles tense. Relax them by stretching, deep breathing, doing yoga, getting a message or even closing your eyes and visualizing yourself in a peaceful place. Call a friend. Talking through your highs and lows with family, friends or even a support group can give you comfort and positive reinforcement. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase your heart rate and your anxiety. When you re trying to manage your stress, caffeine can make you tense, keep you up at night and may even cause you to want to smoke. Take care of your body. Drink lots of water, eat healthy and get enough sleep. You ll feel more energized and ready to handle stress. Here are some other questions to consider as you plan your smoke-free life. Does smoking: Provide a way to meet people or hang out with a group? Distract you when you feel lonely? Help you control your weight? Boost your confidence? Give you something to do with your hands or other physical habits? Serve as a companion to coffee or alcohol or seem like the thing to do after a meal? Give you something to do while you are driving? Rethink your social breaks. If you smoke with friends to be social or with co-workers on your lunch break, it is important to tell them that you are trying to quit and invite them to join you. If it becomes too difficult to spend time in these places where you normally smoke, think about changing your schedule or taking your breaks with nonsmokers.
Keep yourself busy. Go for walks, read a book or listen to music. Keep your hands and your mouth busy. Chew gum, eat a healthy snack, squeeze a stress ball or play with putty. After a meal,
get up immediately from the table and engage in a pleasurable activity. If coffee is your trigger, change something about the way you drink it. Change the mug you drink from or when and where you indulge. Start a new habit! If you smoke in your car, remove your ashtray and replace it with potpourri or notes to remind you why you want to quit smoking. At parties, try to stay away from smoking areas. Stay indoors or distance yourself from people who are smoking. This might be hard, but stay with it! You might also need to cut back on alcohol. It s hard to have will power and stay focused on your commitment when you ve had too much to drink. Knowing yourself and discovering why you smoke will help you make a plan to quit. Your heart will thank you for years to come! Sign up for our monthly! Most tobacco users want to quit. Approximately seven out of 10 smokers want to stop but may have to try an average of six to nine times before they succeed. Tobacco is a tough addiction to beat. But, quitting tobacco is one of the most important things youБll ever do, according to Ruth Golladay, PA-C of She offers helpful tips for quitting Б using the БS. M. A. R. T. Б method outlined below: Research shows that counseling and the use of various treatment options double the chances of beating nicotine addiction for good versus quitting Бcold turkey. Б Use a program tailored for your success, because there is no magic pill to help you quit. Most tobacco users donБt plan to fail but fail to plan.
Having a plan in place will help with the challenge of quitting and staying tobacco-free. If you are motivated to quit, talk to a doctor or tobacco treatment specialist. Breaking the habit can be hard, and many people need help doing it. For many, the motivation for quitting is personal Б relieving a financial burden, improving health issues or even just overcoming the nuisance of smoking. Once you identify your motivation Б or motivations Б you decide when you want to quit. And even if your motivations wax and wane, make a commitment to keep trying. Few succeed on the first try. Learn all you can about nicotine addiction and withdrawal, and especially about your own, for example. Identifying these triggers up front will help you deal with challenges without relapsing. Nicotine addiction is real, and it involves both physical and behavioral factors. When you understand both of those aspects, your chances of success are higher. Compare the pros and cons of tobacco use to identify your top reasons for quitting. For example, within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and pulse rate will normalize, as will the oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in your blood. Within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack will decrease. after you break the tobacco habit. Set a quit date and then commit to living without tobacco. Typically, remember the Бgood timesБ when they used to smoke. Instead, look straight ahead and stop thinking of smoking as an option in your life. If you are motivated to quit, talk to a doctor or tobacco treatment specialist. Breaking the habit can be hard, and many people need help doing it.