Most smok­ers are aware of the health risks of smok­ing, but quit­ting the habit isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly easy. The most recent esti­mates on smok­ing ces­sa­tion by the NIH reveal that while 53.9% of adult smok­ers attempt to quit, only 8.5% suc­ceed. This should not dis­suade any­one from quit­ting smok­ing; how­ev­er, quit­ting ear­ly can increase the like­li­hood of suc­cess while also avoid­ing the dev­as­tat­ing effects of smok­ing on one’s health. Whether it’s your first attempt to quit or you’re look­ing for ways to bet­ter resist the urge to smoke, here are four strate­gies that can help with smok­ing cessation.

1- Look Into Yoga & Meditation

It’s com­mon to expe­ri­ence with­draw­al symp­toms along the way because your body is used to the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of smok­ing tobac­co. You may find your­self feel­ing rest­less or irri­ta­ble, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the first week of quit­ting, but yoga and med­i­ta­tion can be effec­tive cop­ing strategies. A pre­vi­ous arti­cle about Yoga & Pain Relief focus­es on how yoga eas­es tem­po­rary and chron­ic aches, but it can also be a way to improve mood and relieve stress. Instead of turn­ing to cig­a­rettes for a quick fix, yoga low­ers your stress hor­mones while also increas­ing dopamine lev­els, which is the feel-good chem­i­cal in your brain. You can med­i­tate while doing yoga, but pray­ing, jour­nal­ing, and lis­ten­ing to ambi­ent music also serve as alter­na­tive mind­ful­ness activities.

2- Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy

What is the most effective way to quit smoking? - How can I stop smoking on my own? In an effort to quit smok­ing, peo­ple often seek elec­tron­ic cig­a­rettes as a replace­ment for tra­di­tion­al ones. But e‑cigarettes still con­tain harm­ful and addic­tive chem­i­cals that only hin­der the suc­cess of quit­ting. You can instead try nico­tine replace­ment ther­a­py (NRT) alter­na­tives that are smoke­less and tobac­co-free prod­ucts that can sup­ply dos­es of nico­tine into your body.  Advice from Pril­la for pick­ing oral nico­tine prod­ucts high­lights how gums, lozenges, and pouch­es are con­ve­nient and easy to use any­time and any­where. They all work iden­ti­cal­ly through buc­cal absorp­tion, but pouch­es have the fastest nico­tine release while also last­ing the longest (up to 60 min­utes). These oral prod­ucts can help you sat­is­fy crav­ings with­out neg­a­tive­ly affect­ing your health and can also be com­bined with oth­er slow and steady NRTs like trans­der­mal patches.

3- Know— & Avoid— Your Triggers

Cig­a­rette smok­ing is as much a psy­cho­log­i­cal habit as it is a phys­i­cal addic­tion, so you also have to know your usu­al trig­gers in order to avoid them. If you’re the type to smoke when you drink alco­hol or cof­fee, then it might be time to cut these bev­er­ages out of your diet or only drink in places where smok­ing is prohibited. You can also avoid relapse or slip-ups by set­ting up phys­i­cal or envi­ron­men­tal dis­trac­tions. For exam­ple, if you get the urge to smoke, you can instead keep your­self busy by doo­dling. Being aware of any spe­cif­ic time, place, or activ­i­ty that you asso­ciate with smok­ing can help you suc­ceed in stop­ping the habit altogether.

4- Establish a Reward System

Reward­ing your­self after not smok­ing for a cer­tain time peri­od can help rein­force pos­i­tive behav­ior and moti­vate you to stay on course. A Nico­tine and Tobac­co Research study found that smok­ers were more like­ly to suc­ceed in quit­ting after receiv­ing finan­cial incen­tives. These incen­tives were also asso­ci­at­ed with increased use of NRTs as ces­sa­tion medication. You can estab­lish your own reward sys­tem by only buy­ing spe­cial goods or items after you’ve suc­cess­ful­ly curbed your urges for an entire week or month. How­ev­er, rewards don’t always have to be finan­cial. You can coun­ter­act the stress of quit­ting through relax­ing day-to-day activ­i­ties like a warm bath, a mas­sage, or a favorite movie.

Final Thoughts

When try­ing out these tips, it always helps to get social sup­port from your fam­i­ly and friends. A sim­ple word of encour­age­ment from them can go a long way, espe­cial­ly when you’re expe­ri­enc­ing with­draw­al. Once you’ve suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed your jour­ney towards liv­ing a health­i­er lifestyle, con­sid­er shar­ing and cel­e­brat­ing this achieve­ment with them. Quit­ting smok­ing is a per­son­al expe­ri­ence, and every smok­er quits dif­fer­ent­ly. Some peo­ple quit grad­u­al­ly, while oth­ers stop and start many times. Oth­ers like to have sup­port, but some pre­fer to quit on their own; oth­ers find suc­cess with quit-smok­ing med­i­cines. You can use any method alone or in com­bi­na­tion. There’s no right way to quit smoking. What we know is that get­ting sup­port more than dou­bles your chances of quit­ting suc­cess­ful­ly. Com­bin­ing coun­selling from a doc­tor, phar­ma­cist or quit­line with quit aids can increase your chances of quit­ting successfully. Before you decide what’s best for you, it’s help­ful to know your options; from there, you can start your jour­ney with knowl­edge and belief, and always remem­ber that try­ing some­thing to over­come the urge to use cig­a­rettes is always bet­ter than doing noth­ing. And each time you resist a nico­tine crav­ing, remem­ber that you’re one step clos­er to being tobac­co-free.

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