How Can You Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Deep breathing is done by expanding your stomach out as far as you can. Try this exercise first:
- Sit or lie down in a quiet place;
- Undo any tight clothes and remove your eyeglasses;
- Put a hand on your stomach;
- Slowly breath through your nose;
- As you breathe feel your stomach swell as far outwards as possible;
- When you have reached maximum expansion, hold your breath for a split second, before exhaling;
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth; it is the slow exhalation that will cause you to feel relaxed;
- Wait comfortably for awhile;
- Repeat this for at least 10 times.
Also, do this exercise in comfortable surroundings and at your own natural pace. Relaxation occurs when you exhale slowly.
Another way to overcome craving for a cigarette is to talk to yourself. You might want to say to yourself “I cannot have a cigarette, because if I do, I will allow myself to have another later on." Say to yourself that "one cigarette leads to two cigarettes that will lead to many more and I don't want to smoke all those cigarettes for the reasons that I have thought before. Therefore, I should deal with my craving without cigarettes.”
- Instead, you could reward yourself in many different ways.
- Go for a walk;
- Reward yourself with something special that you really like;
- Talk to someone who is supportive of you quitting. They can help you by supporting you, encouraging you to go on and by giving you advice while discouraging you from getting cigarettes;
- Eat something;
- Watch a movie;
- Listen to soothing music;
- Say to yourself “the craving will last only 5 to 10 minutes, it will dissipate";
- Take a bath;
- Brush you teeth.
If someone offers you a cigarette, be prepared with an answer, such as, “I am quitting, because I want to live a healthier and longer life. I appreciate your offer, but please do not offer me another cigarette, because it only tempts me to restart, and I really want to quit.” If you have difficulties saying this, practise your response in front of a mirror beforehand, until you feel comfortable saying this and no longer feel so uneasy. But be prepared with an answer beforehand.
You might also want to encourage that person to want to quit, as it is also in her or his best interest to do so. Also, try to avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke, as it is harmful. If, however, you happen to have a cigarette after you quit, try to understand what went wrong. It may be the case that you were not ready to deal with this situation as an ex-smoker.
If you have cigarettes with you, get rid of them as soon as possible. Afterwards, try to think how you can deal with that situation without cigarettes. Read the suggestions above and use some of the strategies to overcome similar slip-ups. Maybe you are not using your oral medications as often as you ought to use them, so increase usage within the limits. Maybe deep breathing will help you, or, maybe just getting away from the situation that temps you to want to smoke.
The secret to quitting smoking is to never give up. The more you work on it, the more you will achieve your goal, so remind yourself of the benefits of stopping smoking.
Returning to the metaphor of quitting smoking being analogous to climbing a tall mountain, few people are able to climb such a difficult mountain the first time they try. If you fall back, try climbing again and again until you reach the summit. But when you do arrive, you will take great pride in having achieved something as difficult as what you have accomplished. So enjoy the benefits of your achievement.
How To Remain Smoke-Free
Once you quit, it is important to continue being smoke free. Many smokers return to smoking, usually within the first 6 months. It is therefore important to put in place some strategies to ensure that you continue on your journey to remain smoke free. After all, you determined that you want to be a non-smoker. You have invested a great deal of time and effort in achieving that goal, so you want to continue benefiting from your hard work.
It is essential to remind yourself daily – certainly in the first year – the reasons why you want to remain smoke free. When it comes to quitting smoking, take it one day at a time. Don't try to think too much into the future. It could overwhelm you. When you wake up, say to yourself: "Today, I am not smoking" and enunciate the reasons why you've decided to continue to be that way.
You might want to add that each day that you are not smoking is your birthday and, as such, treat yourself well, as though it were so; in other words, reward yourself. After all, isn't quitting smoking the rebirth of a new you?
Given the high rate of relapse, it is important to eventually prepare for events, which may cause you to go back to smoking. Pay particular attention to difficult situations that still cause you to want to smoke. These could be strong emotions such as depression, anxiety or anger. Or, they could be social situations where smoking is permitted, such as on vacation or the holiday season. Stress appears as an important trigger that makes people want to re-start smoking. Whatever the case may be, it is important to develop a philosophy that will dispute your wanting to go back to smoking.
If, for example, the triggers that cause you to want to relapse are strong emotions, such as depression, anxiety or anger, keep in mind that there are helpful ways to deal with such emotions. You might want to seek help from qualified professionals who can assist you in managing such emotions better than you may be able to currently do so. Cigarettes will not help you resolve the underlying issues that give rise to such emotions. In fact, by starting smoking you may have rendered the situation even worse, since you not only experience negative emotions due to underlying thoughts or issues, but also have now re-started smoking again.
When you are developing a philosophy to assist you not to go back, you might want to state that smoking is a problem, which you are currently solving, and that if another problem may subsequently arise in your life, smoking will never be a solution to that problem, but rather the addition of yet another problem. Therefore, you are rendering the situation even worse by restarting smoking.
Another way of developing a philosophy that will assist you to remain smoke free is to think of all the benefits that you gain from having licked this habit, and their loss if you start smoking again. There are many reasons why you do not want to restart. You may greatly benefit if you write a short essay stating your reasons why you want to remain smoke free and not go back to smoking.
It may go along the following line:
“I decided to stop smoking because I know that if I continue I shall put my family and myself at great risk for many diseases that are caused by smoking. On the other hand, now that I quit I am avoiding those risks. Also, I feel better, because I breathe better. I also smell better and have extra cash in my pocket, which I do not want to lose if I start smoking again. I am freer and in greater control of my life. I am more responsible for my family and myself and acting more reasonably and consistently with my goals and life's aspirations. I don't have to always worry when and where I will have my next cigarette. I feel greater strength and pride at having accomplished such a difficult feat.”
Once you have thought out and written down your own reasons for not wanting to go back to smoking, re-read and repeat your reasons daily, certainly for the next 6 months, until you convince yourself that no matter what happens to you, you absolutely want to remain smoke free and your reasons why. This will ensure that you have developed an attitude not only of having quit smoking but of retaining a smoke free life-style.
A quick way of avoiding going back to smoking is to repeat to yourself regularly that 1 cigarette will lead to 2 will lead to many, and the reasons why you do not want to go back to smoke all those harmful cigarettes. To find out more, you can check out How Can You Quit Smoking Cigarettes.