Smoking is a scourge to countless individuals. Despite the numerous anti-smoking campaigns held all over the world, the number of smokers has been declining slowly. In addition, thousands of ex-smokers succumb to temptation and return to this bad habit—feeling depressed due to the fact that their will was not strong enough. Naturally, the question arises: is it possible to quit smoking after being addicted? The answer is “Yes” and the truth is that your efforts to do it do not need to be excessive.
Scary pictures printed on cigarette packs, PSAs, and suasion will not help you quit. Due to them, instead of smoking with pleasure, you smoke being irritated, or scared, with all that informational ado. The same refers to weird recipes, such as soaking cigarettes in milk. All you need in order to quit is your intent to do it and your personal will.
1. At first, make a final decision to quit. Do not just fall for others’ exhortations; do not persuade yourself that you have to quit smoking as soon as possible. You do not have to do anything. Give your decision some time to ripen and make it when you understand that you actually want to quit. This part of the process is the most important.
2. To help yourself, develop motivation. Start reading stories of people who managed to quit for keeps; count how much money smoking costs you per month, or per year; study statistics of deaths caused by smoking; find some information about its impact on the human body. For example, you can think that quitting your habit will help you live longer, look better, spend less money, get rid of the fear of cancer, emphysema, heart attacks, etc.
3. When you are done with steps 1 and 2, do not rush to throw away your cigarettes. Instead, observe situations when you usually smoke. You think about cigarettes in a number of typical situations: in the morning, after taking food, when stressed or bored, while waiting, before going to bed, and so on. If you are warned about “risky” situations, it will be easier for you to control your habit.
4. When you are finally ready, assign a day when you are going to smoke your last cigarette. Do not wait for this date with despair or fear of terrible trials coming; do not delay. Instead, think of this day as the date of your release. Also, it is useful to make preparations. Find someone who also wants to quit smoking; tell your friends and relatives about your intentions and ask for help. You will need them if hard times come. Then smoke your last cigarette.
5. Smoking is much more about psychological addiction than physical addiction, so make a list of activities that would help distract you from thoughts about cigarettes when they appear. For instance, you can delve deeper into your job or hobbies, go jogging, ride a bike, go to a concert, or perform any other healthy activity. Do not think you are “trying to quit”—this will make the process never ending. Instead, persuade yourself you have already done that. It is also important to remember that searching for substitutes is not a sound idea—why quit one bad habit if you change it to another? Among the most popular substitutes are food, alcohol, and nicotine chewing gum.
6. Start a physical exercise routine. This will help you feel you have moved on to a new life. Besides, this will prevent, or at least minimize, the jump in weight that often follows quitting. One of the easiest alternatives is to buy a gym membership because free activities, such as jogging, will require additional willpower.
7. It is likely you will experience a temptation to check if you have quit, to test your willpower. Usually, a person decides to see if everything worked out, smokes a cigarette, thinking that the habit is broken and that there is nothing to worry about—and returns to it again. Remember, that there is no such thing as “one last cigarette just to make sure.”
It is easier to say than to do. Still, quitting is an act worth doing. It will have a significant, positive impact not only on your health, but also on your self-respect, faith in yourself, and your ability to succeed in many more facets of life.
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