When you first quit smoking, you may feel as though your every waking moment is filled with only one thought: the need to smoke. However, if you pay attention, you’ll see that most cravings barely last three to five minutes. They usually have a strong start and then gradually fade away till they’re gone.
The greatest rule of thumb is to deal with urges individually as they arise.
To do so, you must disrupt your thought pattern when the craving strikes. Simply change gears for a few minutes and do something completely different.
Instead of sitting there and allowing the physical or psychological urge to overrun your thoughts, you can move your attention away from it.
In the early stages of quitting smoking, people experience two sorts of cravings:
Physical cravings: The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can be felt physically. Physical desires are typically felt as a tightness in the throat or stomach, along with stress or worry.
Cravings produced by ordinary situations are known as psychological cravings. Smokers acquire a variety of signs that indicate when they need a cigarette. You might light up when you’re stressed, or you might smoke while driving, eating, or socializing. Those psychological cues cause powerful impulses when you quit smoking.
Here are ten easy techniques to control physical and psychological urges and improve your ability to quit smoking.
Take a stroll
You can only stew in your feelings if you sit still. Get up and walkabout. If you have the opportunity, go outside and take a five-minute walk around the block while breathing deeply. Breathing through your diaphragm rather than your chest is a simple method (a technique known as “belly breathing”). If you do, you’ll be able to get more air into and out of your lungs, which may assist alleviate the physical symptoms of hunger.
Take a Mental Break
Close your eyes for a moment. Create a tranquil environment or scene in your imagination to distract your thoughts away from any discomfort you may be experiencing. This is more commonly referred to as guided imagery. 3 It’s a stress-reduction strategy that works best in a calm, dimly lit environment. The goal of the exercise is to teach you how to regulate your emotions instead of allowing them to control you.
Take a deep breath in and out.
Breathing is one of those automatic functions that we overlook. However, if you spend a few minutes with mindfulness controlling the rate and method of your breathing, inhaling, and exhaling, it can become a strong tool for overcoming cravings.
Pranayama is a type of yoga mind-body therapy in which you focus on the feeling of breathing while controlling the rate of your inhalations and exhalations.
Doing this for five minutes has a meditative impact as well as making you feel calmer and more rejuvenated.
A tall glass of water is recommended.
We frequently underestimate how dehydrated we can become during the day. When this happens, it might cause anxiety, which can then lead to a desire to smoke. For that reason, if a craving arises unexpectedly, do yourself a favor and drink a large glass of water.
Make a list of your reasons for quitting smoking.
This is a simple affirmation that allows you to use your brain to overcome your negative emotions. By assessing the advantages and disadvantages, you are reminding yourself that every action has advantages and disadvantages. It helps to write it down because it reminds you why you started this trip and what you need to do to achieve it.
Furthermore, writing it down will not only clarify your thinking but will also prevent you from reasoning about any errors you may make. (“It was only one cigarette,” says the narrator.) You could even be able to see how far you’ve come if you create a habit of compiling a list every time an impulse strikes, such as in a journal or diary.
Have a portable pastime
It’s all about diverting attention away from the task at hand. Find something you like to do that you can pick up and put down at any time. Work on a crossword puzzle or read a few pages of a book. Knitters and crocheters carry a little craft with them to keep their hands occupied and away from smoke.
Avoid high-intensity video games and other activities that will raise your blood pressure rather than lower it. Anxiety or excitement can be a powerful smoking trigger that you should avoid rather than encourage.
Snack on a Healthy Food
When blood sugar levels drop, the desire to smoke becomes much stronger.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sugar craving and a tobacco want at times. If you’re feeling tempted to smoke, reach for a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a couple of saltines.
Avoid baked goods, chips, and candy bars, which are frequently heavy in saturated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, or processed carbs. These will not only make you gain weight, but they will also send your blood sugar on a rollercoaster, making your desires worse.
Contact a Friend
Why go it alone if you’re in trouble? Take a few moments to connect with someone you care about instead. Not only will your emotions be raised, but any thoughts of smoking will be diverted from your head.
Furthermore, sharing your feelings with a friend or loved one allows them to participate in the solution. This may also help to raise their spirits.
Find Help on the Internet
If you can’t get away from your desk but have access to a computer, you may read about how others have dealt with and survived nicotine withdrawal in the early days of quitting smoking on a variety of smoking cessation sites. You can even send a message if you have something specific in mind to talk about. If you ask for help, you’ll be astonished at how willing individuals are to help.
Knowing that someone else has gone through what you are going through—and has overcome the addiction—might be all the motivation you need to push past the need.
Count Your Blessings
Take a few moments to think about all of the things you’re grateful for in your life. It’s a simple yet effective approach to get out of a funk and re-energize your motivation.
Finally, it’s critical to remember that hunger is a signal, not a mandate. You can reframe short-term cravings as a means to a greater goal by concentrating on what really matters—your family, friends, and future.
The most essential thing is to be optimistic. You’ll get there eventually.