Smokers smoke for many different reasons, but generally consider it a pleasurable experience. One major aspect that reinforces smoking is its socially (not always accepted)-condoned “time out” message to the world; It can be an opportunity to pause and savor the moment. Nicotine tends to heighten the moment.
To change your habits toward smoking, it is important to consider what you get out of the experience, and to find healthy substitutes.
Tips to change your habits:
- Be committed to making the changes you need to quit smoking.
- Focus on deep breathing; Create intentional “time out” from usual activity of the moment (maybe even go outside, without smoke, and take your deep breaths there). Work to savor the moment.
- Stay hydrated. This will reduce your cravings.
- Manage cravings: Cravings usually only last for 2 minutes at a time. Have a plan for those 2 minutes.
- Snack choices: Eat carrots, celery, or other healthy snacks. Have them prepared ahead of time. Avoid sugar sources of food, as they will increase your sugar and insulin levels, and increase cravings when sugar levels drop.
- Avoid over-eating. If you replace smoking with eating, weight gain is very likely, which has its own significant health hazards.
- Have a support person to provide encouragement.
- Reward yourself for every day without tobacco. A point system and purchase of something you have earned through those points may motivate you.
- Do not keep cigarettes anywhere! Commit yourself to quitting. Don’t make it easy to smoke. If you do smoke, stop at half length. Notice the smell, the taste, the waste.