Self-Help Techniques For Giving Up Smoking

There are some very effective treatments, including nicotine replacement therapy and medication, available to help you quit, but there are also some simple self-help techniques, which may make life easier if you’re trying to give up smoking. Here are some self-help measures, which may help to reduce cravings and keep you going if you’re feeling vulnerable or you’re tempted to give in:

Exercise: exercising is good for your mental and physical health and it has been proven to help people quit smoking. A scientific review of studies has shown that exercising helps to stem cravings in the short and long-term; it can also be a really useful form of distraction and a really effective means of dealing with stress, frustration, anger or nervous energy, all of which may have been triggers to make you smoke in the past. Exercise also has amazing benefits for your circulation, blood pressure cholesterol, strength and flexibility and if you give up smoking, you’ll soon notice that you feel a lot better during and after exercise, as your lung function improves. 

Adopt a positive mental attitude: positive thinking can really make a difference when you’re trying to give up smoking; don’t go into the challenge thinking that you’re going to fail; be strong and be confident and keep thinking that you can do it. 

Join a group: research suggests that people are more likely to successfully give up smoking when they join a support group, rather than trying to quit alone. If you have the support, advice and encouragement of others, this can make a real difference; ask your GP or visit the NHS Smokefree website for details of groups in your local area.

Think about why you’re doing it: every time you feel vulnerable, think about why you’re trying to give up smoking; you may be worried about your health, you may be giving up to protect your children or you may be trying to save money; have these sources of motivation in mind or write yourself a list. Many people who try and give up use family members as motivation, so keep a photograph of them with you, to provide that extra encouragement when you’re finding it tough. 

Expand your social circle: if you hang around with a lot of smokers, this can make giving up very difficult, especially in the early stages, so expand your social circle and start spending more time with non-smokers.

Shake-up your routine: change the places and times you take your breaks to avoid the daily cigarette breaks at work, avoid places you usually go to smoke and spend your time pursuing new interests or hobbies that may have fallen by the wayside. If you usually spend your weekends at the pub watching sport or having a catch up with friends, why not go for dinner instead or organise a day out at a theme park, a trip to the cinema or an afternoon of shopping?

Get friends and family involved: if your friends or family members smoke too, why not encourage them to quit at the same time? Doing it together will make it easier, as you’ll be there to support each other along the way. 

Change your eating and drinking habits: many people smoke more when they eat certain foods and drink alcohol, so think about changing your diet and cutting down on drinking. If you struggle to have a drink without smoking, avoid going to the pub or going on nights out until you feel more confident that you can resist the urge to smoke. 

Keep track of your progress: use a calendar, diary or a smartphone app to track your progress and keep a record of how many days you have been smoke-free; set yourself targets and reward yourself when you reach each one; use the money you would have spent on cigarettes to treat yourself to a nice meal out, a new outfit or put the money towards a new car, a holiday or some home improvements, for example. 

Get rid of anything related to smoking: if you’re planning to quit, let the people around you know and get rid of cigarettes, ash trays and anything else, which makes you think of smoking, from your home and work area. 


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