New Year’s is long over with now, nevertheless, it’s always a good time to consider stopping smoking (at least, that’s what I keep telling myself but my subconscious is arguing with me)! I’ve tried almost all of the smoking cessation methods except the following three, graciously presented to us by Juliana Weiss-Roessler.
If you’re a smoker, you already know that regularly smoking cigarettes is bad for you. You’ve likely already heard some of the frightening statistics from well-intentioned friends and anti-smoking ad campaigns, but the problem is, just hearing the facts isn’t always enough. You may want to quit smoking and may have even tried several times before, but the addictive properties of nicotine have made it seem like an impossible feat.
Quitting cold turkey, the most common method of smoking cessation, doesn’t work for everyone because the withdrawal symptoms become too difficult to cope with. What’s worse, attempting and failing to quit cold turkey can be demoralizing and may make you feel like you’re not in control.
Nicotine replacement therapy, which gives the body nicotine through gum or a patch, is another popular approach, but only 25-35% of the people who use this approach are still smoke-free after six months. Some smoking cessation counselors suggest that this approach is often ineffective because it just serves as a temporary crutch and prolongs the withdrawal period.
So what can you do if you’re one of the many smokers who hasn’t been able to quit by using one of the most common methods? Luckily, there are plenty of alternative motivational techniques that you may never have even thought to try. Here are 3 that are certainly worth considering:
Use Social Media
In this era of social connectedness, it turns out that social media platforms are actually an effective tool to help smokers kick their bad habits. That’s what researchers from the University of Georgia recently found.
According to the study released in September 2013, people who use health-related social media sites are more likely to quit smoking and stay smoke-free during tempting situations. By becoming socially connected with others who are trying to quit smoking, you’ll feel a greater sense of community and will have more accountability. Essentially, becoming part of a health-based social network is like attending group therapy, but being able to tailor the therapy to your needs and schedule.
Although the study looked specifically at health-based social networks, larger social media sites like Facebook and Twitter may also be useful because you can post goals and updates about your progress, which will help hold you accountable for your smoking cessation.
Get a Glimpse of Your Future
You may already know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and you’ve probably heard that smoking significantly increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. However, just knowing that isn’t always a strong enough motivation because you’re not seeing the immediate negative consequences of smoking—you just know there’s a vague threat of negative consequences sometime in the distant future.
Now, however, you can get a glimpse of one of the most tangible long-term effects of smoking: premature wrinkles. Face aging software aimed specifically at smokers allows you to see what you’ll look like 10, 20, 30 or more years down the road if you continue to smoke on a regular basis.
Data collected by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute shows that a person who smokes a pack a day will have the wrinkles of a person 1.4 times their age, meaning when you’re 30 you’ll look 42, when you’re 40 you’ll look 56, and when you’re 50 you’ll look 70. Just seeing how smoking can make you old before your time may be enough to scare you straight.
Have Alternative Activities Ready When the Cravings Hit
When you’re really craving a cigarette, the best thing you can do is engage in an activity that will keep you busy until the cravings pass. For example, you might go for a walk (away from anywhere you can purchase cigarettes), throw a ball for your dog, make tea, go on a cleaning spree, or even just hold an object like a pen so that you can’t hold a cigarette. One man in Omaha even managed to give up smoking by sketching a picture of a cigarette every time he had a craving. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose, as long as you can commit to doing that instead of lighting up a cigarette.
Keep in mind that you can combine any of the above motivational techniques with other smoking cessation methods, like counseling or group therapy. Everyone’s different, so it’s important that you find the combination of methods that are going to be the most effective for you personally.
About the Author
Juliana Weiss-Roessler is a freelance writer who enjoys covering the topics of exercise, healthy living, and motivational techniques. Together with her husband Josh, she runs Weiss-Roessler Writing, a company which provides blogs, articles, press releases, web copy, and other content marketing needs for businesses and individuals, including lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, therapists, energy providers, technology companies, jewelers, and business consultants.
These are great tips to stop smoking and I’m eager to try them out! But if it’s one thing I’ve learned from my many failed attempts, it’s that you really have to be ready to stop smoking. Do you have any tips in how you got mentally prepared to stop smoking and succeeded?