The more I know about what causes my cravings, the more I can control them.
Some of the things that might trigger my cravings are:
- Morning coffee
- Finishing a meal
- Drinking alcohol
- Driving to work
- Certain friends
It won’t take long to recognize my triggers if I keep track of when I'm feeling the cravings.
Next time I feel an urge to smoke, I should ask myself:
- Where am I?
- What’s happening?
- Who am I with?
- What time is it?
- How do I feel?
Now that I know what my triggers are, I need to do something about them.
Ways I can tackle each trigger:
- If coffee is a trigger for me, I could switch to tea or drink my coffee in a different place.
- If stress causes cravings, I could work on other ways to cope, like going for a walk or a run, or squeezing a stress ball.
- If I usually smoke on my drive to work, I could take a different route, jump on a bus, or catch a ride with a non-smoker.
- If I like to smoke right after a meal, I could come up with things to do after I finish eating, like doing the dishes right away, going for a walk, or brushing my teeth.
Cravings can be intense, but they never last longer than a couple of minutes.
Things I can do to beat my cravings:
- Get physical. Walking, running, lifting weights -- anything that gets my heart rate up.
- Drink cold water. It's calming, refreshing, and always leaves me feeling better.
- Brush my teeth. Leaves a fresh taste in my mouth, and is a perfect distraction.
- Chew on a toothpick. I just need to keep my mouth busy and my mind distracted!
- Snack smart. Fresh veggies and sunflower seeds are a great way to get through a craving.
- Breathe in, breathe out. Slow, meditative breathing will help me relax and stay focused.
- Get to bed early. A good night sleep goes a long way to making me feel better all around.
- Not everyone will go through nicotine withdrawal, but if I do, here's some of the things I might experience: headaches, dry mouth, fatigue, sleep deprivation, strong cravings, and sometimes nausea.
Ways I can deal with these symptoms:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT). I can slowly taper off nicotine by using products like the patch or gum.
- Exercise. I can exercise to produce more feel-good endorphins to counter any minor depression I may have after quitting.
- Lots of ZZZs. I can sleep more to give my body the time and energy it needs to get rid of toxins and cleanse itself.
There are many different ways to quit smoking, but there's no silver bullet. I'll need to decide for myself which method, or combination of methods, will work best for me.
Different ways I can quit smoking are:
I can call 1.877.455.2233 toll-free to speak with a specialized quit smoking coach. More info here.
A 3-month program that sends me motivational messages based on where I'm at in my quit. More info here.
Patches, gum and more
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help reduce cravings and increase my chances of quitting. NRT is fully covered by visiting your local pharmacy. Both you and the pharmacist must sign a declaration form. More info here.
It’s not for everyone, but I could just take the plunge.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing -- I could try smoking just half a cigarette each time or slowly cut back the number of cigarettes I smoke each day.
I don't have to do this alone -- I can enlist a "Quit Buddy" to help me through the tough spots. I could also check out the Forum.
I could try laser, acupuncture or hypnosis therapy -- but while they can't hurt, I understand there is no proof that these treatments would help me quit successfully. Plus they can be quite pricey.