7 Key Tips to Stop Smoking

by Head Health Nutter on November 10, 2008

How would you like to make it easy to stop smoking? I mean easy in the way that you’re ecstatic about not smoking and you celebrate a smoke-free existence. In this scenario, you barely feel the withdrawal symptoms and even in the midst of a highly stressful situation, a cigarette is merely a fleeting thought rather than an all-consuming craving.

Saying no to any addiction is tough. But it CAN be made easy. Some people simplify the whole matter: make a firm decision, overcome the physical withdrawals and just do it. For others, it might be a little harder. Many addictions get us on emotional, mental and habitual levels, too. Some believe our spirituality is also affected; one theory even speculates that our addictions are our attempts to fill a spiritual void.

For those who feel the complexities of their addictions, you can make it a little easier with the right preparation and combination of stop smoking tricks (right for you, that is). While there are tons of really good stop smoking tips out there and you may have to try all of them to find what works for you, the following are 7 of the most essential tips that will make it easy for anyone to stop smoking:

  1. Find your reasons. If it’s only one trick that you use out of this list, let it be this one. You have to find your motivating force in overcoming your nicotine addiction. It must resonate with you and get you on an emotional level. Some people may use a strong negative emotion, like fear as in: “I don’t want to suffer like Aunt Rose did of lung cancer.” I prefer to use positive emotions, as in: “I appreciate my life and I want to treat it and myself with love and respect.”
  2. Know Thy Enemy. It’s helpful to know what you’re up against. There are scads of stop smoking books out there and most of them tell you exactly how nicotine affects our bodies and minds. The best book in this genre I’ve read (and I’ve read one each time I’ve quit – this is my 5th time) is Allen Carr‘s “Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” By the end of the book, you are absolutely convinced that there is no benefit whatsoever to smoking and that you have at your disposal many constructive ways to deal with stress and cope with life.
  3. Set your ‘Freedom’ Date. Many call this the ‘quit day’ but I prefer to ramp up for breaking the nicotine chains through focusing on the benefits of living a smoke-free life. I call the first day of a life free of this wretched addiction, ‘freedom day’. This date is important because you’re officially making a commitment to yourself and providing yourself a time frame in which to prepare.
  4. Create a Rewards Schedule and/or Set up Your Social Support. These 2 tips are together because I believe they have equal strength depending on the person. For those who like to be internally motivated, budget and schedule a rewards system for yourself. I suggest rewarding yourself every day for at least the first 3 days because they are the toughest in terms of physical withdrawals. The rewards can be free, like a hot bath or an hour of pleasure reading, or have a cost associated to them, like a manicure or a movie.Your support person is someone you can talk to. They will help you process emotions, give you suggestions and help you through your cravings. It’s easier for them to know what you need in terms of support if they can relate to you. Try to choose a friend who has been successful in overcoming their addiction. Other types of support come from the birds you’ve been flocking with up until now. They are most likely smokers, too, and may not be ready to stop when you are. Setting boundaries helps you to communicate to the smokers in your life how they can help you in your pursuit to stop smoking. For instance, you may need to ask your partner to smoke outside – at least until you are confident that the evil yet alluring stench can no longer tempt you.
  5. Write a Good Bye Smokes Letter. The night before your freedom day, put pen to paper and treat your smokes as if they are a friend that you must part ways with. Recognize how they once helped you but make sure to focus on how and when the relationship turned sour. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you want to be a non-smoker. Visualize what it will be like to be a non-smoker and concentrate on how being free from smokes will improve your life. Then say good-bye for real with your last cigarette.
  6. Do a Gentle Cleanse. After every smoke, nicotine starts exiting the body which starts withdrawal symptoms. Cravings come mainly from your desire to stop the discomfort of withdrawal. So why prolong it? You can speed up the process of natural detoxification with a gentle cleanse. Drink tons of distilled water throughout the day and add lemon to some of those glasses. Eat a nutritional diet high in organic fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and if you’re a carnivore, organic white meat and fish.
  7. Manage Cravings. Smoking cessation aids can help lessen or totally remove your cravings. I tried Zyban, a mild-antidepressant, last time and it worked well. This time, I’m trying a natural drug made from plantain, lobelia and alfalfa that actually makes you physically ill when you smoke. It’s also handy to brainstorming ways to distract yourself during a craving – which only lasts 2 minutes. Some of these coping techniques and alternative activities include deep breathing, exercising, writing, calling your support person, brushing your teeth, singing, dancing, etc.

Bonus Tip: NEVER GIVE UP. If you slip up, it’s no biggie. First, forgive yourself. It won’t help to beat yourself up over spilled milk. And that’s all it is because you’re still a non-smoker. Think about what happened that made you want that smoke, learn from your mistakes and come up with a way to avoid it next time. The more time you spend smoke free, the more comfortable you will be with living this new lifestyle. Soon, smoking a cigarette will be the last thing on your mind in any situation – except maybe when you’re drunk (my kryptonite in nicotine addiction).

I believe these tips are the ultimate to kicking the cancer sticks. Today was my Freedom Day and I truly did not want to smoke all day. Until I came home and experienced stress. My Honey still smokes and they were right there! I didn’t even want it but I smoked it anyways. That’s ok, though, because I’m living the bonus trick. Tomorrow will be different and I will be smoke-free!

So if you’ve successfully stopped smoking, what key tricks can you share with us?

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