Cigarette Quitting: Coping with Cravings

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Cigarette quitting can be one of the hardest things a smoker ever has to do. This is largely due to the cravings that they can experience. When it comes to cigarette quitting, people can use a variety of techniques and devices for beating the cravings and giving up for good.

The first thing to remember when giving up is that you can beat the cravings. One way of doing so is using the “3 Rs:”
  • REMIND yourself why you are cigarette quitting in the first place. Write them down and read them back to yourself
  • REHEARSE what you will do when a high risk situation arises, and you would normally reach for the box of cigarettes
  • REWARD yourself each time you overcome the urge to smoke
Don’t worry if you do get cravings and these don’t work; try the “4 Ds:”
  • DELAY acting on your craving
  • Breathe DEEPLY to relax yourself
  • DRINK a glass of water slowly, holding each sip in the mouth for about a minute
  • DISTRACT yourself in some way, e.g. doing a puzzle, having a light snack, going for a walk
When willpower isn’t enough, there are a number of devices to use, including:
  • nicotine patches
  • nicotine gum
  • inhalers
These shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for willing yourself to do it, but they can ease the psychological addiction to nicotine and allow you to wean off it gradually.

Other ways of successful cigarette quitting involve distraction techniques and replacement exercises.
In some cases, chewing regular gum when you would normally want a cigarette can work. Other times, “smoking” on a wooden cigarette (unlit, of course!) can help.


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