Quitting smoking doesn’t end with the last cigarette you take. Staying quit is a big challenge that you have to overcome, especially during the first weeks and months of quitting smoking. To be successful, it is important that you effectively deal with the urge to smoke.
Here are some important reminders when dealing with your smoking urges:
1) Know where the urge is coming from. Sometimes, the urge to smoke is physical, as if your body needs a cigarette to continue functioning. When you don’t smoke, you may feel like something is missing and you start to experience undesirable symptoms like headache, irritability, fatigue and nausea. Other times, the urge is mental – you want to smoke because it’s a part of your routine. If you feel like lighting up in the morning as soon as you wake up, after your meal, or after drinking coffee, it means that your urge to smoke is psychological in nature. Being able to identify the root cause of your cigarette craving is essential in staying quit for life.
2) The urge may come from both physical and mental sources. Oftentimes, your urge to smoke would be a combination of physical and mental issues. If you’ve been a smoker for several years now, chances are your body has developed dependence to cigarettes already. Nicotine dependence (also called addiction) is when your brain depends heavily on cigarettes to regulate mood. Physical urges is your body’s way to inform you that it needs nicotine. Until you give your body what it wants, it will continue to show symptoms. Remember however that the physical urges will certainly wane. Each day, your tolerance for nicotine will go down and your dependence on nicotine will go down. Making use of quit smoking aids like Chantix can help you easily deal with the withdrawal symptoms. This medication works by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain until it goes back to its normal functioning.
3) Smoking is a habit you can change. You were not born having a cigarette on your hand. Smoking is a habit you’ve learned. It is then possible to re-train yourself and ‘unlearn’ it. There will come a time when you will feel normal without cigarettes.
4) Knowing your enemies is the key. It will be helpful if you can specifically determine your smoking triggers. This way you can find the best methods to deal with them. So for instance if you feel the urge whenever you drink coffee in the morning, then ditch the coffee and replace it with a glass of smoothie. Science shows that eating fresh fruits and vegetable before smoking makes the taste of cigarette smoke bitter and less pleasurable.
5) Planning is vital. Smoking urges can take you by surprise. So it is very important that you create a smart plan to resist them. Don’t just stick to plan A. Make a plan B, C, D, etc. If the previous plan failed and you give in to your smoking urge, don’t lose hope and try again. Staying quit free is harder than quitting. But if you are equipped with the right tools and knowledge, living a smoke-free life for good is possible.