Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Effectively Kicking the Smoking Habit

The evidence is everywhere that smoking cigarettes can be detrimental to your health and the health of others. However, many Americans are still lighting up, even though they have a strong desire to quit. If you or a family member is thinking about quitting, here are a few tips that can help with the process:

1. Have the right motivation. In order to kick the habit, you need a strong desire to quit. Maybe it’s for your health, your family or to save money. Whatever it is, write it down and keep it close by to remind yourself why you’re doing this when things get difficult.

2. Beware of going cold turkey. Although it might sound like a good idea to just stop smoking all together, this method tends to lead to relapse. Try slowly cutting back until you’re down to not smoking at all.

3. Consider nicotine replacement therapy. There are all kinds of gums, lozenges and patches on the market that help you step down off your nicotine habit gradually. Try using one and see if it helps curb cravings.

4. Seek encouragement and support from family and friends. Don’t keep your effort to quit under wraps. Shout it from the rooftops. Not only will you be held accountable, but you’ll gain much needed support from friends and family.

5. Keep a craving journal. Write down the time when you crave a cigarette the most. This will help you to effectively identify your triggers.

6. Once you’ve identified these triggers, try your best to avoid them. Do you have a cigarette with your cocktail? Perhaps with your coffee? Try avoiding these things for a period of time while you get back on track.

7. Reward yourself. Take the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself a treat for staying away from them!

8. Learn more effective ways to deal with stress. If stress is one of your main trigger points for smoking, learn some alternative methods for stress reduction, such as yoga, tai chi or massage.

As you continue on your journey to becoming smoke-free, remember that it won’t always be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it in the end! Just two weeks to three months without smoking significantly lowers your risk of heart attack. That’s one great reason to quit!

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