Your life is at risk but there is hope! If you want to quit smoking try some of these tips that could save your life!
A few decades ago, smoking cigarettes was considered “cool,” and it seemed like everyone from doctors to movie stars was puffing away. These days, smoking is expensive, messy and there aren’t a lot of places where you’re allowed to do it. If that’s not bad enough, a pack-a-day habit can cost you more than $3,000 per year.
Add to that the fact that cigarette smoking has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and other health problems, it’s easy to see why so many people want to quit. What isn’t easy is actually quitting, so here are some ways to help you kick the habit.
Make a decision to quit.
Most smokers have done this many times, only to go back on the smokes within days. Make this the last time, the time you resolve to stop, because this is the time you make it happen.
You have to take quitting seriously and make it a priority. Choose a quiet time in your life, not when you’ll be facing more stress than usual. Sit down and make a list of reasons why you want to quit. Place it where you can see it and keep adding to it. Think of quitting as a project, as a task to be accomplished.
Make a list of reasons for quitting.
These could involve family members, your health, your career, money or just convenience. Put down everything you think of. Also make a list of reasons why it’s hard to quit and think of ways to conquer them.
Set a quitting date.
After making your list, set the date you want to quit for good. Tell your friends, family members and co-workers, so you’ll have a cheering section —and people who’ll get on your case if you fall back into the habit.
Stop buying cartons of cigarettes.
When you decide to stop smoking for good, don’t buy any more cigarettes by the carton. Force yourself to taper off by buying just one pack at a time and carrying only two or three cigarettes with you. That way, you’ll have to ration them out and can’t just light up another as soon as you finish the last one.
Come up with activities to substitute for smoking.
Before the cravings start to hit you, write down a few things to do instead of grabbing for a cig. Take a walk, get a cup of tea or coffee, chew gum, read a book, play a game—anything that will take your mind off smoking.
This is especially important when it comes to the times you’re most accustomed to taking a cigarette break. If you’ve been having a smoke with a cup of coffee on the patio outside your favorite shop, switch locations. Go to a different place and have iced tea or hot herbal tea. Break the old habits.
If you’ve been smoking at your favorite bar, and the place is full of your smoking buddies, try to stay clear of the joint while you are trying to quit, when your will power is at its most fragile. Isn’t there a non-smoking bar nearby that has the same pool tables and big-screen TVs?
Don’t stop reading now. You don’t want your loved ones to have to suffer losing you to this terrible habit right?
On the next page I’ll give you some more life saving and money saving tips to help you quit smoking.
When you’ve gone a week without smoking, treat yourself to an ice cream cone. At one month, make it a steak dinner. After a year, go on your dream vacation! But do come up with ideas for smaller rewards all along the way to keep you going. Pamper yourself, because you deserve it!
On your quit date, toss out all smoking paraphernalia.
Make sure you quit for good and make it stick by dumping cigarettes, lighters, matches—everything that has to do with smoking. If you’re tempted to keep any of this stuff, then you’re not serious about quitting.
Don’t get discouraged.
If you “fall off the wagon” by bumming a cig off a friend, don’t beat yourself up. It took you a long time to get to this point, so you may not be able to quit overnight. If quitting were easy, there would be hardly any smokers left!
Don’t let family and friends sabotage you.
There are times when half of a couple wants or needs to quit and the other one doesn’t. This can make for a stressful situation that’s not conducive to kicking a long- term habit. If you’re quitting due to health problems, like a quadruple-bypass last week, your life is at stake and you need to communicate that to your partner.
Your significant other may feel resentful, like s/he is being forced to quit despite not being ready. Try to be sensitive but firm, since quitting is a smart move for both of you. Don’t let a partner who is still smoking tempt you to join in—be the stronger one.
Curb cravings with healthy snacks.
If you have the urge to suck on something, make it a sugarless lollipop. Carry snacks like sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, gum, sugarless candy or apple slices to munch on when you feel the urge to put something in your mouth.
Start an exercise program.
If you’re worried about gaining weight when you quit smoking, then start burning more calories with exercise. Besides making you healthier and leaner, exercise releases endorphins that make you feel more positive and less stressed. Another benefit of regular exercise is that it keeps you busy and less likely to be thinking about cigarettes.
If health problems are your main impetus for quitting, you have even more reason to take up exercise. Not only will you be improving your overall health, you’ll feel much better, stronger and be less prone to depression.
You don’t have to hire a trainer or join a gym, although both are good ideas. Start by walking more, then add more activities like jogging and bicycling.
If you feel stressed out because you can’t have a cig, try a relaxation technique like yoga or deep breathing exercises. Many ex-smokers have found solace in hypnosis or massage. Don’t feel guilty about spending money on a weekly massage or yoga classes—think of all the cash you’re saving by not buying cigarettes!
Join a group.
If you’re not getting the support you need from family or friends, look outside for companionship and encouragement. Find a stop-smoking program in your neighborhood or online and learn from the experiences of others. It always helps to know that you’re not alone when fighting an addiction, so let yourself share with others.
Having the camaraderie of other ex-smokers can help you get over the rough spots when you feel like giving up. If your spouse is tempting you to start again, or you’re having problems getting over your cravings, it helps to have a sympathetic ear. Besides, reading their success stories will convince you that you can do it, too!
Try a nicotine substitute.
If you’ve been trying your best, but are still having cigarette cravings, check out nicotine substitutes like patches, gums and lozenges available over the counter. There are also stop-smoking prescription drugs like bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). Obviously, it’s better to try to stop on your own, but if you need a little help, go for it.
Whatever it takes to stop smoking, it will be worth it. You’ll see the difference in your health as well as your bank account, so just keep working toward your goal! It’s not easy but you can do it.
||Written on 7/22/2013 by Linda Cauthen.
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