One of your New Year’s Resolutions may have been to quit smoking. You may have already tried or are waiting for a better time.
When you inhale cigarette smoke, nicotine speeds to your brain within seconds. This causes a release of dopamine, which causes happy and calm feelings. Since your body does not want this feeling to stop, you crave cigarettes when these unnatural elevations of mood drops, which can make you feel irritable. Therefore even if you know smoking is harming your health and you really want to quit, your body will continue to crave nicotine, and you will keep smoking.
Quitting a long-standing habit isn’t easy. Nicotine addiction is complex with both physical and mental symptoms of addiction. You need to prepare your mind that you are going to quit smoking and it is possible. Take steps now to plan your quit date.
Quitting Smoking Plan:
- Record your smoking routines. How many cigarettes do you have per day and when? Do you smoke more or less on certain days? When do you smoke the most throughout the day? When you wake up, after you eat, driving in the car, etc.
- Do you associate smoking with other habits like drinking alcohol, coffee, snacking at night, nail biting, watching TV, etc.
- Make a list of ideas to avoid smoking triggers. Exercise, go outside and take deep breaths, avoid people who are smoking/the smell of smoke, chew gum, drink water,
- What are your triggers to reach for a cigarette? Stress, hunger, coffee, alcohol, boredom, social gatherings, etc. Identify them and write them down.
- How do you feel before you have a cigarette? Anxious, irritable, etc. How do you feel after smoking? Relaxed, happy, pressure in your chest, headache, etc. Pay attention to your breathing. Have you been taking small shallow breaths?
- Make a list of things in your life that make you happy and relax. Use these ideas to help distract you from having a cigarette when you are faced with a trigger.
- Record all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Financial, health, etc. Put it on your refrigerator and read it every day. Tell your friends and family that you are ready to quit and ask them for support.
- Make a list of rewards to look forward to after you quit smoking for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, etc.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you have a cigarette, don’t be discouraged. You have made a commitment so quit again right away.
- Ask for help. I’ve been helping people successfully quit smoking for over 10 years. There are many different treatment options available including homeopathic medicine for mental addiction, botanical medicine for physical addiction, and acupuncture for both. We will decide on a quit date together, based on your individual goals and progress.
It will take some time, but if you truly are committed to a smoke-free life, you can do it!
Visit my webpage for information on becoming a New Patient and book on-line or phone the Norwich Medical Centre at 519-863-2338.