Quitting smoking is a challenging but rewarding journey that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is dealing with cravings and avoiding smoking triggers. Here are some tips from Go Smoke Free on how to handle cravings and avoid triggers to help you on your journey to a totally smoke-free life.
Identify your triggers
The first step to handling smoking triggers is actually to identify what they are. Triggers can be anything that makes you want to smoke – this often includes stress, boredom, or being around people who are smoking. Once you identify your triggers, you can then start to take steps toward handling those triggers in a healthy manner.
Develop a plan
Before you quit smoking, it’s often a good idea to develop a plan for dealing with your triggers and cravings so you don’t have to think of coping mechanisms at the moment. Your plan might include finding healthy ways to manage stress factors, such as exercise or meditation, or avoiding places where you know people will be smoking. (1)
Use nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a great way to help manage cravings and triggers. NRT methods, including nicotine gum or vaping, can really help when it comes to reducing the intensity of cravings and provide you with a healthy alternative when faced with significant smoking triggers.
Having a support system in place, made up of friends, family, and work colleagues can be incredibly helpful when you’re trying to quit smoking. Reach out to people who can offer encouragement, and look into smoking support groups.
Change your routine
Smoking for many people can often be associated with certain routines, like smoking after a meal or with a cup of coffee in the morning. Breaking up your routine can help you to break these habits and reduce the urge to smoke in those moments. For example, try going for a walk after a meal instead of smoking – it’s a healthy habit and will take your mind off of your cravings.
Stress is often a significant trigger for smokers, and mindfulness techniques, including deep breathing or short meditation exercises, can help you to handle stress in a productive manner. Practice mindfulness regularly to help manage your cravings, and in time you’ll likely learn to enjoy it.
While it won’t always be possible to avoid triggers, try to stay away from situations or places where you know you’ll be tempted to smoke, at least for the first few weeks. For example, if you typically smoke when you go out to a bar, try to avoid going out to bars for a while – the cravings will get less intense after a little while.
Dealing with cravings and avoiding smoking triggers are crucial parts of the process of quitting smoking. By adopting the techniques listed above, you can stay on track when it comes to your quitting goals. Remember, it’s going to be a difficult process, and you’ll need to take things one day at a time. (2)
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