At some point you will encounter a situation that will trigger an urge to smoke.
The key to getting through these situations sans smoking is in educating yourself – understand your triggers, and have a plan to overcome them.
Some common triggers:
It’s a common belief that smoking relieves stress. Not true. Smoking actually makes your heart beat faster, your breathing quicker and raises your blood pressure. This is one of those nasty lies smoking likes to tell you. The sense of ease you feel when you smoke when stressed is caused because that cigarette is temporarily stopping a nicotine craving.
Next time you feel stressed and want a smoke, take a few deep breaths. Count to 10. Or 100. Listen to relaxing music. Just don’t fall for the smoking trap. They’ll understand.
Smoking would have you believe it can relieve boredom. Not even close to true. Here’s what’s really going on: when you’re addicted to smoking and don’t have one, something always seems missing. The funny thing is, you just don’t notice it as much when your mind is occupied. Smoking actually increases boredom by zapping all your energy.
The best way to get over boredom is to get on your feet and get moving. You’re not a slave to smoking anymore, so find a healthy new hobby that’ll keep your body and your mind occupied.
- Drinking & Drugs
Let’s face it – getting together with an old flame can seem like a good idea when you’re tipsy. Somehow your mind seems to skip over all the bad times and think only of the good ones. Don’t fall for this. Smoking would have you believe that a little rendez-vous will make whatever time you’re having better. It won’t – it’ll only make it worse. The withdrawal symptoms will get stronger and your defenses will get weaker. Before long, the only thing on your mind will be those cigarettes you worked so hard to dump.
Nobody’s here to judge. But while you’re new to the single lifestyle, it’ll go a long way if you stayed away from the drugs and alcohol, at least for a while. It’ll help you break the association between those activities and smoking.
In the past when you needed to concentrate on something, you’d smoke. You probably even thought your cigarettes were helping you concentrate. Lies. Smoking blocks your arteries and veins. It decreases oxygen flow to the brain, making it hard to concentrate. Don’t believe that you need that smoke to concentrate, nothing could be further from the truth.
If you need to concentrate, try drinking water. It’ll help flush the bad stuff out of your system and it’ll help keep your hands and mouth busy too.
Smoking never helped you relax, that’s another lie. Smoking is a stimulant – it raises your heartbeat, makes you breathe faster and raises your blood pressure. That is not relaxing. Hammocks are relaxing. Smoking is not.
There are a million real ways to relax – yoga, a good book, a walk in a park – try one of these methods and see the difference for yourself.
- After a meal
Ahh the old after-a-meal cigarette. Somehow, you managed to believe that cozying up with a smoke after a meal made things taste better. Here’s a little secret – smoking doesn’t make food taste better. It ruins your taste buds, making food taste worse. The real reason you crave smoking after a meal is because eating satisfies hunger, but it doesn’t satisfy your nicotine craving. So once you’re full, your nicotine craving is the only thing left to satisfy. Why else would you continuously follow-up a perfectly good meal with a cigarette?
Next time you’re eating, eat slower. Think about the taste of the food. Enjoy the actual moment instead of jumping ahead to what’s going to happen after the meal. And drink lots of water.
- Breaks at work
It’s ok to take your work break without smoking. Take a short walk. Grab a coffee. Drink some water. When you feel refreshed, go back to work. You’ll feel better and you’ll probably be a lot more productive too.
- When you’re out with other smokers
Seeing your friends smoke might make you feel like wanting to do the same. Whenever this happens, think about this – every time your friends light up and see you not lighting up with them, they notice. And even if they don’t come out and say it, you never know which of your friends you might be inspiring to break up with smoking too.
If you find it too hard to say no to a smoke when you’re around your smoking friends, stay away from them until you’re at a better place in your break-up. If they’re real friends, they’ll understand.
- When you’re angry
Anger is a great excuse for smoking. Someone or something got you so fired up, that only a cigarette will help. Yeah right. A cigarette won’t make you less angry – it’ll just feed your addiction and keep you under its control.
If you feel angry, remove yourself from the situation. Take a walk, take a few deep breaths or start counting to 100. Give yourself time to calm down – you can get through the situation without smoking.
- Those habitual smokes
Whether it’s first thing in the morning, while driving, or getting off the bus, we all have those times and places that we associate with smoking. We’re creatures of habit, and it can be hard to break old habits. Approach each of these situations with a new perspective – instead of wishing you could smoke, celebrate the fact that you don’t have to. You’re free from smoking, so enjoy that freedom!
For the first little while, it might help to change up your routine a bit. Take a new route to and from work. Wake up at a different time. Do whatever you have to do to distract yourself. And remember, cravings pass – they always do.