Do you smoke? You probably know about the consequences of cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly one out of every five deaths in America. It is a major cause of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Maybe you are also aware of all these but you still have a problem: you simply can’t stop smoking.
We cannot blame you. Cigarette smoking is an addictive habit. Whenever you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed by your body through the blood and it enters your brain. Upon reaching the brain, there is a stimulant effect in the body brought about by a rush of adrenaline. Your heart rate and breathing increases along with your blood pressure. You feel more awake and you forget hunger.
The problem with nicotine is that it is an addictive chemical. Nicotine has the ability to activate reward pathways in the brain. This means that when you smoke a cigarette, you feel pleasure. This is due to the fact that nicotine increases the secretion of a chemical in the brain called dopamine, causing pleasurable sensations. When you don’t smoke, you feel bad and you experience withdrawal symptoms. This is what makes cigarette smoking a habit which is difficult to break.
So, how do you stop smoking in a healthier way? Here are some tips:
Face Your Cravings
You should learn the art of self-control. If you experience cravings, tell yourself to wait for 10 minutes before you give in. During that time you should be able to distract yourself. Delaying your cravings can actually drive your cravings away.
You should also avoid triggers. Cravings may surface out when you go with the same smoking crowd or when you go to certain places. You must avoid those places or those friends of yours. Also avoid parties and bars while you are on the process of quitting smoking.
Getting physical very often can actually help ease cravings for smoke. You can walk, jog or play sports. You may also try relaxation techniques such as yoga. Whenever you crave for tobacco, try to practice relaxation techniques to drive away your cravings and distract you.
You can ask support from your family members and loved ones. Tell them to constantly remind you to quit smoking. Listen to the advices of these loved ones and lean on them for support whenever you feel weak. You can also join support groups for smoking cessation.
Smoking alternatives such as nicotine gums or e-cigarettes can help reduce your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor should be able to help you with these. Your doctor may also give you some medications to help you quit smoking.
You hold the key towards your rehabilitation. You should constantly remind yourself of why you would like to stop smoking. Think of how smoking can kill you. Think of the cancers and lung diseases you may get if you continue to smoke. Think about the things you would like to do when you grow old and tell yourself that you cannot enjoy these things if you continue to smoke and shorten your life. You may write down your thoughts on a journal or a blog. You can say out loud what you have written to strengthen yourself. Remind yourself constantly and you will not fail.