Walking away from the habit of Smoking is not Easy. It is a ‘habit’ after all. Take the first conscious step to a healthy life and indulge in some self-love that is fading in the smoke. Start by setting a Quit Date and the rest will follow. Let’s make the journey smoother together. Read on for the ultimate Quit Smoking 101.
1. Acknowledge Smoker’s Denial & Reasons to Quit
We’re all aware of the harm but live in denial about what cigarettes can do to us. This is the reason we’re never able to quit. We’re always tempted by the chance to smoke just one cigarette. We always fall for it and are never able to let go. At times, we may also find ourselves smoking more than we used to. It is important to remember our reasons to quit and hold off the temptation no matter how much it entices us. The key is to take one day at a time. Just realize that we can never have just one cigarette- they travel in packs.
2. Get Over Sneaky Rationalizations
I’m having a bad day, let me have this one cigarette. It’s too big a decision, I’ll maybe quit tomorrow. Air pollution is just as bad, 1 cigarette won’t kill me. Uncle Sam smoked all his life and he’s celebrating his 90th birthday.
Once you’ve thought of quitting, your mind is going to give you all possible reasons to pick up a cigarette. Identify them and divert yourself with something else.
3. Maintain a Journal
Start by asking yourself the most basic questions. They will give you more insight into your smoking habits. Note down the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day, the timings if possible. Try to think of things you would like to replace smoking with and choose them whenever the temptation arises. Other than cravings, various factors might push you to smoke. These factors could be stress, anxiety, loneliness, etc. You must try to deal with these difficult situations without lighting up. Perhaps try a chewing gum next time.
4. Seek Help
While many smokers quit successfully by going “Cold Turkey”, which means quitting at once without any help, the numbers are still limited. Only 5 – 7% are able to quit this way. Nicotine replacement, gradual withdrawal and prescription drugs are other methods that can help you get over this habit. Ensure that you have a supportive and motivated environment, a buddy or even a medical practitioner that can help you quit.
5. Clean Up
Now that you’re on the path to detox your body, you might as well clean up your home. Toss out cigarette boxes, lighters and ashtrays. Clean all your clothing, sheets, carpets, car and anything that reminds you of smoking.
6. Be Prepared for the Challenges
When you quit, the first few days are the toughest as smoking is not only a physical addiction but a psychological habit. The regular fix of the ‘feel good’ effect that smoking gives, needs to be replaced with healthier patterns. Keep yourself equipped with gum, carrot sticks, fruits, a book, squeeze a ball or talk to a friend who can listen to you.
7. Avoid Alcohol and Other Triggers
Fight the urge to smoke by breaking the association between smoking triggers and you. If you often smoke during alcohol consumption, then you could switch to juice or any other non-alcoholic beverage like tea. If the end of a meal means lighting up a cigarette, then try snacking on nuts, fruits, a healthy dessert or gum instead. Avoid places that make you want to smoke and stick to your plan of quitting especially during the first three months.
8. Be Patient
Everything takes time. The process of releasing yourself from this addiction will boil down to practice. Just like when you started smoking, one day to another until it became a habit, the habit of not smoking will follow the same path. Be strong, be patient and very soon you will be amazed to have come so far.
9. Reward Yourself
Not only will quitting cigarettes give you immense health benefits, but it will also help save a lot of money. Treat yourself with it. Try a new hobby, unwind at a spa or spend time on something you enjoy. Just for fun, calculate how much money you’ve already spent on smoking. You’ll be surprised when you realize that so much money just disappeared in smoke.
10. Affirm Your Success
Most times, we are our worst critics and this could easily make us resort to smoking again. But we need to ignore these thoughts and focus on the positive side. Practice meditation and speak to your buddy or loved ones when in doubt. Once you’re on the right path, taking a positive action becomes easier. When this snowball gets rolling, you’ll gain the momentum and keep moving ahead.
11. Focus on Healthy Living
Smoking makes your body go through a lot. Now that you’re moving towards the brighter side of life, take care of yourself better. Focus on healthy living, engage your body in some exercise, eat and drink healthy. Initially, thoughts of smoking, also called ‘junkie thinking’ might throw you off your path. But don’t panic and stay focused on improving your ways of life.
12. Don’t Let a Relapse Demotivate You
While we would all like to hope that we’ll never have a relapse, chances are that some might give in. At this time don’t be too hard on yourself and start again. Pick up another Quit Date and try harder. Consider your previous experience to understand what went wrong and do better next time. Leave smoking as soon as possible again because the longer you wait, the more difficult it is going to be. If the thoughts of smoking hover around you, get into the IGNORE mode.
13. Enjoy Health Benefits
In only 20 minutes after you’ve quit smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. In 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level drops to normal. In 2 weeks – 9 months, your lung function improves. Coughing, shortness of breath, risks of coronary heart disease also diminish. In 5-10 years, your risk of mouth, lung, throat cancer reduces. There are many other quick benefits that you’ll start noticing once you have quit, like food will start tasting better, a regained sense of smell, teeth and fingernails stop turning yellow. There’ll be a lesser shortage of breath and more.
Now that you have a plan, pick a quit date and work towards it. If you feel you are still not strong enough and need help, follow #QuitKaroWithCashKaro on Instagram, an initiative taken by CashKaro to help two of their employees quit smoking. Join them in their journey and make yourself a part of one common goal of Smoking Cessation.