Quitting smoking is hard, daunting even. Hundreds of millions of smokers around the world have tried to quit and have failed. The only differences are the approaches chosen and how long they have managed to suppress their urge. Smoking is an addiction and it is harder to manage than alcoholism. It is true that alcoholics have an extremely challenging time immediately after quitting and they have to commit to lifelong or at least sustained sobriety and many have to resort to rehab. Quitting smoking does not warrant rehab or even anonymous meetings but it does demand unflailing willpower. There are conventional remedies such as nicotine patches or gums. Many have tried hypnosis. Then there are a few unconventional methods to quit smoking that have been effective for millions who have successfully shunned the habit.
That being said, nicotine patches/gums and hypnosis are the most effective means by far. This article for those who want to go the extra mile.
No Smoking in the House
You have to make your entire house a no smoking zone. This should not be limited to a room or common and shared areas. The whole house, from the living room to the kitchen, the bathroom to the utility areas, the basement or attic to the backyard or the lawn out front, smoking must be prohibited everywhere in the house. If you have to smoke, you would have to go out on the street, head somewhere if you feel like and then light the cigarette. This may seem to be easy for many people but the sheer inconvenience of walking out to the street and going somewhere every time you wish to smoke can be quite discouraging in due course of time. The weather gods will not be conducive all the time. There will be scorching days and freezing evenings. Those would be the times when you would want to violate the no smoking law in your house. Resist and you will succeed.
Prohibiting smoking in your house may not work in isolation because you can always smoke at work and elsewhere. But the least you would do is cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. While most people try to quit smoking suddenly and pledge that they would not light up again, this is the easiest way to fail in your ultimate quest. The trick is to find a sustainable approach to quit smoking and not kneejerk reactions. Those who do not have a comprehensive plan to quit smoking are more likely to resume than those who think it through. Smoking is an addiction and it is not easy to get over such a habit with transient measures. You need a long term plan and sustained willpower.
Use a Distraction to Quit Smoking
Smokers have a natural urge to light a cigarette from time to time. Many people have a smoking routine. Some have a cigarette in the morning, one after breakfast, one with or after coffee, one at around noon, one over lunch, one in the evening or after work, one when hanging out with colleagues during a break, one back at home, a few with drinks and perhaps more than one after dinner when they try to go to sleep. Even moderate smokers have a kind of a routine. There is a pattern to smoking. Very few regular smokers are sporadic with their actions. It is not as if a smoker would not light a cigarette without an urge but the urges have a pattern and become a routine over a period of time. You must identify these urges or understand the routine and then use a distraction.
For instance, whenever you feel like going for a smoke at work, use an impending task as an effective distraction. Tell yourself that completing your tasks earlier than usual will allow you to finish your workday an hour or so before and you may spend more time with your family or just hang out with your colleagues. There is so much you can do with an extra hour at your disposal. While at home, you could use distractions of all kinds. Watch a movie, play a video game, do some cooking, you can tend to the plants outside, wash your car, clean your house, fuel your hobby or just spend time chatting with your neighbors. In this day and age with so many distractions loaded into your smart phone, turning your mind away from the urge to smoke is not that difficult. All you need is a trigger that is enticing enough. You need to lure your mind away from the urge to smoke.
Spend Time with Nonsmokers
You should try to spend time with nonsmokers. This is difficult if everyone around you smokes or you do not have any nonsmoker friends. This is easy if you choose the right places to hang out and involve yourself in activities where smoking becomes insignificant in the scheme of things. For instance, if you are heading to a pub or a bar to hang out, you will invariably be with fellow smokers. If you go to the theatre or spend some time at a cultural event, you are less likely to be in a smoking zone. There are more nonsmokers in the world than smokers. This may come as a surprise to you but it is indeed the truth. It is just that smokers are more easily recognisable and they end up producing so much smoke than nonsmokers become a part of the crowd as passive smokers, completely subjected to the fact that they are also clouded in a haze of smoke.
It is not possible to be friends only with nonsmokers but you can always spend more time with them. Smokers are more likely to smoke when they are with fellow smokers. Innumerable people manage to control their urges till such time they meet a fellow smoker and immediately light up a cigarette. Just as you should understand your urges, you should also recognize the fact that being with some people is fuelling your smoking habit. It is quite common for smokers to light up more cigarettes in a given span of time when they are together. It is equally common for smokers to indulge in chain smoking when they are idle and bored. Hence, you must try to be with people, find interesting things to do but do so in a nonsmoking environment.
Spend Time with Kids
This one might not be applicable to all. No matter how old your smoking habit is and whether or not you are a heavy smoker, you will find it rather discomforting to light a cigarette when you are with kids. They may be your children or kids of your friends. They may be kids in your neighborhood. Children and we are not talking about teenagers but younger ones are vulnerable to cigarette smoke and adults are aware of this. Children become a kind of a compulsion for smokers to avoid lighting a cigarette. Young parents do not smoke in their house when they have a newborn or infant and even toddler. Most parents do not smoke in their house when their kids are eight to ten years old. There are parents who do not quit smoking and continue to smoke in their house regardless of the age of their kids but one can always use children as the motivation or even a compulsion to stop smoking.
Not every adult is good with kids but most people like to watch kids do their seemingly mundane things. These are simple pleasures that can not only cheer people up but also relieve them off stress. If spending time with kids can also help you to quit smoking then it is all the more important that you do so. There are people who would not allow you to smoke in their house, regardless of their parenthood status. It is also better to spend more time with such people as you would not be able to smoke during the time you are with them. Just as there is a natural urge to light a cigarette or the trigger to smoke when you are with fellow smokers, there is an influenced response to avoid smoking when you are with kids or in places where smoking is frowned upon. Get drawn to the latter.
Exercise can be of Immense Help
It is not true that people who exercise every day do not smoke. There are many people who are otherwise serious about their health, maintain their bodyweight and are reasonably fit, strong and agile but smoke regularly. Hence, exercise may not be able to help you quit smoking entirely but you will have an hour or two when you would not smoke. You have to see all these unconventional methods to quit smoking as a collective approach. These are not isolated measures. No smoking in your house means you cannot light a cigarette for over eight hours you spend at home. No smoking at work means you cannot smoke for eight to ten hours when you are at office. You are already done with most of the day and night, either you are awake or asleep. The few hours you have available are taken care of when you spend time with nonsmokers, at places that do not allow smoking and you are with kids, which would anyway discourage you from smoking. The few minutes or an hour that you have left on days when you have time can be taken care of by exercise.
If you do not have an exercise routine right now and you smoke every day, then you will realize how your lung capacity has depleted in all these years the very first time you get on a treadmill or even when you begin stretching. Start exercising and you would realize the ill effects of smoking. Quit smoking and continue exercising to realize the difference in just a few days. A week or a fortnight of not smoking and you would be able to run longer distances. Soon enough you would be running faster and you will feel renewed strength in your body. Your agility will get a boost. Your endurance would be enhanced in a month or so. As you begin to notice the positive effects of quitting smoking and your body responds accordingly, you will stay away from cigarettes and this will be sustainable in the long run.
Train your Mind to Quit Smoking
None of the aforementioned unconventional methods to quit smoking will work unless you train your mind. Willpower is everything here. Everything else can be a facilitator, even a casual factor. You can try meditation. It is indeed effective but not everyone does it right so meditation can be futile in such cases. You may opt for simple mantras such as a reminder to yourself every time you feel like lighting a cigarette. You may tell yourself that you will not light a cigarette, come what may. Keep reminding yourself till you get into a habit and you would not reach out for a cigarette naturally, not owing to any compulsion or influence but simply because you are at ease with the new life you have gifted yourself. Train your mind and use whatever motivation that keeps you en route to quitting smoking.
No matter what method you choose, your mind is still your greatest enemy. Which is why it is important to be aware of all the ways it can deceive you.
Invest the Money you spend on Cigarettes
Let us presume you spend ten bucks on cigarettes every day. That is three hundred dollars a month and three thousand and six hundred dollars every year. It is quite possible you are spending much more so one would not be surprised if you waste more than four thousand and possibly over five thousand dollars a year on cigarettes. Imagine what you can do with four thousand or five thousand dollars at your disposal in a year. You can invest this money every week, fortnight or month and the right decisions can generate worthwhile returns. There are ways to earn sufficient return that would increase your savings from four or five thousand up to six thousand and even more if you are financially well informed. When you see and realize this savings, you would have the motivation to quit smoking and you would not resume smoking ever.
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