Smoking may be a well-known bad habit that is terrible for your health and draining on your bank account, but still, many people continue to do it. This is because nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, is a very powerful, addictive substance that causes nasty withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult for smokers to finally stop the habit without suffering. In addition, the habit of smoking is just as physical as it is psychological; many smokers who quit find that they miss the actual actions of smoking, and the social side of things, such as taking a cigarette break at work with friends.
So, one of the best ways to help yourself quit smoking for good is to replace the habit with something else; this will give you something to focus on rather than your cigarette cravings, and allow you to fill the time that you would normally spend smoking with something healthier and more fulfilling. But, what are the best habits to take up, if you want to make sure that your last cigarette really was your last one? Let us find out:
One of the most popular methods of quitting smoking today is to use nicotine replacement therapies; there are various types of nicotine replacement available that smokers can use to give up cigarettes without having to worry about suffering the nasty effects of nicotine withdrawal. Since in small amounts, nicotine is safe and will not lead to any health issues, it is perfectly safe to use alternatives such as nicotine patches, lozenges, and sprays to help you crack the habit. However, if you are struggling to get used to not physically smoking, then taking up vaping instead could be a great idea.
Electronic cigarettes work in similar ways to standard ones; vapers are able to hold the vape in their hand, inhale, and exhale just as they would whilst smoking, but without all the health risks of tobacco. The ejuice for vapes also comes in varying concentrations of nicotine; this allows smokers to start out with the highest nicotine level when they first quit, to make sure that they barely notice the switch! Then, as you get more used to vaping, you can gradually reduce the amount of nicotine that is in your e-liquid, to wean your body from the drug over time and make it easier to finally stop being reliant on it.
#2. Eat Healthy Snacks
Eating food is not an uncommon substitute for cigarettes when quitting smoking, in fact, many ex-smokers find that they sometimes gain weight after quitting due to eating a lot more than usual. However, if you make sure that you have a good supply of healthy snacks on hand, then you will be able to replace smoking with snacking, without having to worry about piling on extra pounds.
Some great healthy snacks to consider include carrot or celery sticks, fresh-popped popcorn, bell pepper slices, and radishes, which all go well with healthy dips such as hummus and will give your mouth something to do to distract yourself from any cigarette cravings. Nuts and seeds also make for excellent healthy snacks, since they are high in protein and great for anyone who often finds themselves having cigarette cravings whilst on the go. Plus, they tend to last a while, so you can keep some in your bag or car at all times.
#3. Drink Water
Even if you are not trying to quit smoking, there is nothing wrong with trying to drink more water. Your body is made up of a huge percentage of water, and staying as hydrated as possible can work wonders for your health and appearance. If you have been smoking for a while, then you have probably noticed your appearance begin to deteriorate as a result; perhaps you often have bad skin or need to moisturize more often than usual, or maybe you have stained teeth.
Drinking water can help with all of this; it will help to re-hydrate your skin to leave a healthy, youthful glow and work to clean plaque and bacteria build-up from your teeth to help restore them to a gleaming white condition. Similarly to eating healthy snacks, drinking water can also give your mouth something to do to distract you from cravings, and can also help to keep hunger pangs in check throughout the day, to help you avoid weight gain when you quit.
#4. Chew Gum
If you have ever tried to smoke a cigarette when chewing gum, then you will probably know that it is not the nicest of tastes. Chewing gum can be a great way to keep your mouth busy and avoid cigarette cravings, and the best thing is that you can even get nicotine gum, which will help you to avoid the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that come along with quitting smoking. If you are suffering with bad teeth as a result of smoking, then chewing on dental gum can help to clean and re-strengthen them once you kick the habit.
#5. Take A Shower
If you feel like you are all out of alternative things to do when you get a cigarette craving, then you might want to simply take a shower. A warm shower will help you to relax and unwind, which is especially effective if you are craving a cigarette, because you are feeling stressed out. In addition, once you step out of the shower, you will be left feeling cleaner and fresher, which will probably put you off from lighting up since you will not want to ruin it all by smelling of smoke!
Exercising is definitely good for us, and when you quit smoking, you will probably find that your workouts get a lot easier, since you will not get out of breath as quickly as you did when you were a smoker. Since smoking causes the heart and lungs to work harder, it is no surprise that working out is not a favorite hobby of many smokers, since they get breathless easier and may even experience pain or discomfort when taking part in physical activity.
If you are currently in the process of quitting smoking, then taking up exercise more often can be a great way to distract yourself from your cravings. If you can, the best idea is to join an indoor gym, since it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to smoke inside, so you probably won’t even think about cigarettes during your workout. In addition, exercising is great for combatting some of the underlying reasons for starting smoking, such as stress and anxiety. Since physical activity releases ‘feel good’ endorphins in your brain and body, you’ll feel much happier and more relaxed after a workout, which can help lessen the need to smoke.
#7. Listen To Music
If you tend to mainly crave a cigarette when you are stressed or anxious, then listening to relaxing music could be a good alternative to try. Whether you lie down and put on some relaxing classical pieces to help you unwind and forget about your cravings, or prefer to listen to something more upbeat and perhaps even dance, this can be a great way to distract yourself by doing something that you enjoy. It is a good idea to put together a “stop smoking playlist”; compile all your favorite tunes into one easy-to-find place, so that you can play them whenever you are feeling like having a cigarette.
#8. Practice Meditation
Meditation is an ancient Buddhist technique that has been around for centuries, but only recently has it began to gain more popularity in the Western world. Meditation is effective for a number of issues, but in general, it is known for its ability to help us deal with stress, anxiety, and even depression. In fact, many people who suffer from mental health issues now swear by meditation as the only thing that helped them.
When you meditate, you become more at one with yourself and the world around you, which can only result in your wanting to take better care of yourself. As a result, you are much less likely to want to deliberately do things that you know have a large potential to harm you and others, such as smoking. You can find several meditation tutorials and guides online to help get you started.
#9. Start A New Hobby
Starting a new hobby can often take a lot of time and effort, especially if you are planning to learn something new that you have never tried before. When you quit smoking, this is the perfect time to begin learning something new, since it can serve as a great distraction from your cigarette cravings by giving you something else to think about and focus on rather than smoking. When it comes to choosing a new hobby, the list is endless — from art to sports, why not challenge yourself by doing something that you would not normally have thought about doing otherwise? Joining a local hobby group could also be an effective idea, since you will be able to meet new people, make friends, and get support on your journey.
Would you like to add to this list? We would love to hear from you in the comments!