Smokers who are desperate to quit should invest more time on harnessing their willpower instead of spending a fortune on nicotine patches, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Sydney University looked into the rates of success of smokers who used nicotine patches as compared to those who have developed their willpower. To do this, they reviewed over a hundred published studies on quit smoking. Interestingly, they found that majority of successful “quitters” didn’t resort to nicotine patches to bust off addiction
Yes, the old-fashioned willpower has helped them cope with the debilitating effects of smoking cessation.
How do you strengthen your willpower to quit smoking?
1. Don’t overuse it
There’s a growing body of research that overturns the position that willpower gets better when used. According to some experts, willpower depletes. But then again, it is revived after some time. Make sure you don’t stretch yourself to the limits. Instead of thinking you shouldn’t smoke. Learn how to divert your attention. When you do something you enjoy as a substitute to smoking, you’re less likely to utilize your willpower. Just like the old saying, save it for your last!
2. Understand that using willpower also saps your energy
According to scientists, when we use our willpower, our glucose level drops. The same way happens when we use our muscles. That is why you literally experience fatigue afterwards. In times like this, the restraint backfires. It makes you want to light up more. So before this happens, think of ways to manage stress. Just like fatigue, the depletion of willpower can be prevented through exercising. You can train your willpower and make it enough to support your efforts to quit.
3. Cut back on sugar
Turns out, refined carbohydrates and sugar have a negative effect on your willpower. Research found that drinking a glass of lemonade could boost your willpower but consuming sugary treats like cookies, chocolates and soft drinks will speed up the depletion of your willpower due to the increase in blood sugar levels. Probably, the reason why many smokers eat chocolate while they smoke is because sweet taste overthrows the bitter taste of tobacco. On the other hand, the taste of fruits and vegetables makes tobacco much bitter.
4. Hold on to your core values
When you feel weak, when you feel the extreme urge to light up, speak up and tell yourself you can resist the urge. One reason why many smokers fail to quit is that they tend to become impulsive. They stop thinking and allow themselves to be driven by their emotional instincts. In one study, participants were asked to dip their arms in ice water. Half of the group were asked to state positive affirmations. When compared to the control group, those who used positive affirmations were able to dip their hands longer in the ice water.
5. Use it lose it
From time to time, practice your willpower even if there’s no reason to use it. Remember, muscles only grow stronger when we exercise them.
You can quit smoking today without experiencing the pangs of withdrawal symptoms. With strong willpower, you can definitely quit on your first attempt!