One of the hardest things about quitting smoking is getting rid of nicotine cravings. It’s no brainer for many people that nicotine is the chemical that makes cigarettes addictive. But it does more than hook you. Nicotine has been shown to create negative changes in the brain chemistry that damage brain function.
By learning how to outsmart nicotine cravings, you can significantly increase your chance of quitting smoking today. The good news is that nicotine craving gets weaker as the days pass by, which means you don’t have to deal with it forever. However, it is very important that you resist those cravings in the best way you can because giving in will spoil all your efforts to eliminate cigarettes from your life.
Here are 10 smart tips to overcome nicotine cravings. Try them whenever you feel the urge to light up.
- Drink water. Water has been shown to produce calming effects to smokers trying to quit. Gulp a glass of water whenever you feel the urge to smoke. Again, just plain water. AVOID drinking soda, coffee, alcohol and other caffeinated beverages because they may simply increase your nicotine cravings.
- Keep your hand busy. In the height of nicotine cravings, distraction is the key. Create an artwork, clean your room, do the garden, play with your child, cook an unfamiliar dish – keeping your hands, mind and body busy can shield you from the thoughts about smoking.
- Eat a fruit. Research shows that people who eat fruits or vegetables before smoking find the taste of cigarettes less pleasurable than if they eat meat, sweets and other high-calorie foods. By eating something healthy, you’re not just making the quitting process easier; you are also doing your body a favor by helping it flush away the toxins brought by cigarette smoke.
- Take a long shower. A hot shower can help you ditch those “smoking thoughts”. Taking a warm, long bath has calming effects to the body, which counter feelings of anxiety and irritability that you may experience whenever you couldn’t light up.
- Chat with a friend. Social support is of great importance in the smoking cessation process. It really gives so much relief when you can open up with someone and tell about how you feel and the challenges you are going through. Calling a friend or a family member can get your mind off cigarettes.
- Get up and move. The anxiety, fatigue and restlessness that you feel during the withdrawal period may be too overwhelming for you to have some exercise. But it’s definitely worth trying. Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that fight nicotine cravings, improve your mood, and lower your stress levels. Another thing, smokers tend to gain weight when they quit. To avoid this, you want to increase your level of physical activity.
- Listen to music. Relaxation is vital to reducing nicotine cravings. So put on your earphones and listen to your feel-good sound tracks.
- Breathe, breathe and breathe. If you don’t have access to a shower, you don’t have water or fruit with you, none of your friends is available, your music player’s battery is drained, and you can’t exercise, a very effective strategy to ward off nicotine cravings is to practice deep breathing techniques. Go outside if you can to get some fresh air. This will help you relax and overcome feelings of anxiety and depression.