Seven Successful Ways to Stay Smoke Free

If you’ve been a smoker for most of your life, you may be asking yourself, “Why quit now when the damage is already done?” The answer is as simple as this – smokers over the age of 60 can reduce their risk of premature death by a whopping 30%. Kicking the habit can save you from various types of cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and strokes. The actual act of quitting takes a great deal of time, patience and willpower. The following list can help you remain smoke free.

1. Go Cold Turkey

There are numerous methods to try when it comes to quitting, but studies say that the most successful way to stop smoking is to do it cold turkey. The important thing to remember is that cold turkey doesn’t always work on your first try. Don’t feel discouraged; instead, try and try again! Every time you attempt to quit, you are a step closer to actually quitting. And the best part about the cold turkey method is that it’s completely free.

2. Make a List

Abandoning your nicotine addiction is no small feat. After you quit, there may be times when you feel like you want to turn back. Instead of giving in, sit down and create a list of reasons why you want to continue life as a non-smoker. Think about how your habit harms the people around you, such as relatives, friends, co-workers and even strangers. Each time you experience a moment of weakness, read your list to remind yourself why you want to be smoke free.

3. Postponement 

When you feel the desire to light up, wait. Force yourself to delay your hankering for ten minutes and engage in a different activity, such as reading, cleaning or calling a friend. The more you are able to distract yourself from your craving, the stronger your resistance becomes.

4. One Turns into Two

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can have “just one” cigarette to satisfy a craving. Allowing your body to smoke can result in a full return of your addiction. Instead, reward yourself each time you don’t give into to having “just one.” After avoiding your cravings for a week, spoil yourself using the money you saved by not buying cigarettes.

5. Avoid Temptation

If you’ve been a lifelong smoker, you know that there are various environments where you are more likely to want a cigarette. Whether it’s a certain time of day or a specific group of people, it’s up to you to avoid these situations, especially within the first few weeks of your anti-smoking effort. If you smoke when you’re stressed, upset or overworked, try to control your emotions. Breathing exercises and relaxing techniques are great ways to find inner peace so that you can keep from feeling anxious. As time passes, it can become easier to be around these tempting situations without feeling the need to smoke. 

6. That’s What Friends Are For

When it comes to quitting, a vital part of remaining smoke free is communication. Develop a strong support system to rely on. Don’t be afraid to talk to relatives or close friends about your anti-smoking effort. Chances are, the people in your life will be supportive and dependable. If you feel like you’re going to revert back to your old ways, phone a friend and tell them what’s going through your head. Talking through your cravings with others can allow you to see the power you have over your own body and mind.

7. One Day at a Time 

When you’re fighting a nicotine addiction, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by what lies ahead. The trick is to focus on one day at a time. According to WebMD, it takes about 30 days of non-smoking to rid the nicotine from your system, which is why the first few weeks are usually the hardest. But the battle doesn’t end there. After beating the physical addiction, you’ll find yourself dealing with the mental addiction of identifying as a smoker. Taking it slow will allow you to focus on one day at a time, and eventually, you’ll find it easier and easier to resist.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nicotine-craving/SK00057
http://bembu.com/10-ways-to-stop-smoking-and-quit-for-life
http://WebMD.com

Melanie Marzillo
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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