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In order to quit smoking, an individual needs to be ‘ready’ mentally…..How can you break a habit that may be a ritual I.e., having a cigarette with your morning coffee, or been partaking in since childhood?
Ridding your body of nicotine can result in physical withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings.
It’s not just quitting, it’s also preventing a relapse……A good plan needs to be put forward.
Let’s look at some ways that may help you kick the habit.
– Exercising – This will help to dispel your frustrations when you get the urge to light up. Take your stress out on the treadmill. The endorphins that are produced will actually help you to feel better.
– Deep breathing/meditation – These techniques will help you to soothe your mind when you feel stressed and you feel the need to reach for a cigarette. Note: Patience is required to learn deep breathing/meditation techniques.
– Avoid social situations with other smokers. If you meet friends at a bar and they are smoking, then this will probably increase your urge to do the same.
– Avoid alcohol – Alcohol may weaken your will power that you may need to avoid smoking. In addition, many people like to smoke and drink at the same time.
– Medication – Chantix and Zyban are both anti-depressants that have been used to ease the individual’s obsession with smoking.
– Laser – A laser can be applied to a certain area behind the ear which decreases ones urge to smoke.
– Hypnotism – This works by bringing you into a relaxed state in which you are open to suggestions that help to strengthen your desire to quit smoking. Hypnotism also helps to increase your negative feelings towards cigarettes.
– Acupuncture – This triggers the release of endorphins which are natural pain relievers. This helps your body relax and manage withdrawal symptoms.
– E-cigarettes – See the previous blog posted on May 5th, 2015 – though ‘buyers beware.’
– Nicotine gum/ lozenges.
– Nicotine Patches – This is nicotine replacement therapy. Small and steady doses of nicotine are delivered to help relieve withdrawal symptoms. These don’t have the harmful tars and poisonous gases that are found in cigarettes.
– Journaling – If you document your ‘stressed out feelings,’ then this may help to identify both patterns and triggers that give you the urge to reach for a cigarette.
– Therapist/counselor – There are therapists who specialize in these matters. It is also nice to have someone to discuss your feelings with. This may also take the form of a ‘quit buddy’ – a person to call if you are feeling vulnerable.
– Behavioral Therapy – Since smoking is a ritualistic behavior, one needs to develop and learn new coping skills to break the bad habit. This is usually in the form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
– Substitution – The pleasure that you get from a cigarette can be replaced by something else I.e., fruit, a healthy dessert, a square of chocolate, a piece of gum. These may give you the little kick that you need.
– Motivational Therapy – Self-help books, web-sites.
Focus on your reasons for quitting. These may include health, improved appearance (smoking causes the skin to have a leathery look and feel), financial savings and enhanced self-esteem.
Hoping everyone will be successful in their goal of kicking the habit and that the above have aided you in that process.
Yours in good health, Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist