Saturday, September 27, 2014

If you are caught in the vicious cycle of smoking, you know how difficult it is to quit. Nicotine is highly addictive and will keep you coming back for more, no matter how toxic it is. The smoke will affect your lungs, affect your heart, and could lead to cancer of the mouth, throat, and lungs. You will age before your time as your skin becomes wrinkled due to lack of circulation and your teeth will become stained, not to mention you will have yellowed fingernails. Your breath and clothing will always carry the stench of smoke. Worst of all, you put others at risk with second-hand smoke. To live a healthier and happier life, you need to find a way to kick the habit. Here are eight ways you can choose to break the chains of smoking once and for all.

1. Go Cold Turkey

Going cold turkey, or simply giving up cigarettes one day and never going back, is really tough. You are going to need to do something to distract yourself, like go on a trip, pick up a new hobby, or start an extreme fitness routine to help yourself fight the cravings that are sure to overcome you. You can start by chewing gum and sucking on hard candy every time you want to light up another cigarette. Get out a calendar and mark off the days since you quit. Start a journal and write about making it through each day. Find someone you can turn to at any time you feel temptation is about to suck you back in. This is the hardest way to quit smoking, but you will have an incredible sense of empowerment once you manage to stick with it.


2. Use a Nicotine Patch or Nicotine Gum

Many people will opt for the nicotine patch or nicotine gum. This is a popular approach in which you can buy products that are meant to wean you off nicotine gradually. When you stop lighting up, you start chewing the gum or wearing the patch. As time goes by, you should be able to decrease the amount of nicotine that you are getting on a daily basis. One of the best advantages to using these methods is the fact that many state health agencies will offer you free products as an incentive to stop smoking. Fewer smokers mean healthier residents and fewer medical bills. The downside to this method is the fact that you are still getting that nicotine.

3. Try Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are the new craze. While the jury is still out on the safety of the liquid that is used in electronic cigarettes, you will avoid the toxic smoke that comes from traditional cigarettes and still be able to enjoy the sensation of smoking. Electronic cigarettes do contain nicotine. Therefore, you are still putting that addictive substance in your body. You can choose varying levels of nicotine, gradually weaning yourself off until you choose a liquid with no nicotine, if you still need that oral stimulation. Another benefit to electronic cigarettes is the fact that there is no second-hand smoke to deal with and many places allow them to be used in public.


4. Get a Prescription Medication

There are various prescriptions that are intended to help you quit smoking. Chantix is one of the most popular products on the market. It is a smoking cessation medication that does not include any nicotine, eliminating that addictive drug from your life. It works on the receptors in the brain, blocking nicotine and releasing dopamine to continue to give you a pleasant sensation even though you are no longer smoking. Doctors recommend that you begin taking Chantix a week before you quit in order to allow the drug to begin to accumulate in your body. From that point, you will gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you have in a day and find that you crave them less as time goes by. By day eight, you should be able to completely cease smoking. If you are thinking about Chantix, you need to discuss the risks with your doctor. Some people have experienced depression and suicidal tendencies after taking this drug. You need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages first.

5. Change Your Diet

Believe it or not, but you can help yourself to avoid smoking by changing your diet. You can actually begin with your eating habits. Instead of eating three, larger meals each day, try switching to four to six smaller meals throughout the day that will keep you satisified, avoid hunger cravings, and manage your blood sugar levels. When you become hungry or your blood sugar drops, you’ll find yourself longing for a cigarette and need to avoid temptation. You can also try crunchy fruits and vegetables to keep your mouth occupied at all times. Stay away from foods that are very sweet or spicy because they will trigger cravings for nicotine. When you have an urge to grab that cigarette, eat something good for you. Try drinking beverages that are not connected with a cigarette, like a morning cup of coffee. Remain hydrated and go for plenty of glasses of water throughout the day.


6. Try Relaxation Techniques

Now is the time when you are going to need to find your sense of inner calm and strength. Relaxation techniques can help you, such as breathing exercises and soothing music. Light candles or incense to create a pleasant atmosphere. Find your favorite book or movies and indulge in some “me” time. You can also begin yoga, whether you take a class or do a DVD at home. Yoga is incredibly relaxing, will relieve stress, and will help you to find emotional balance as you struggle to become free of your addiction to smoking. Treat yourself to regular visits to the spa as well to have a soak in a hot tub, lounge in the sauna, or have a massage. Pamper yourself as you give your body a present and say no to cigarettes for the rest of your life. Your body will thank you and you’ll find that you feel better when all is said and done.

7. Get a Support Group

Team up with others to make this work! Find a local support group and other smokers who are making it their mission to kick the habit. Involve your family and friends, ensuring you always have someone you can count on when you are overcome with the urge to light up another cigarette. You may find it incredibly helpful to get involved in a group exercise program with people you enjoy as you all jog, walk, or attend an exercise class together. Team work will do wonders in helping you to stay motivated. Your loved ones will thank you when you are doing something that will help you to live longer.


8. Give Yourself a Major Incentive

When you decide to quit smoking, set up a special reward for yourself that will keep the fire of determination burning bright. If there’s a cruise you want to go on or you’re due for a new car, this is the perfect incentive to quit smoking. Pay yourself the money that would have been spent to light up. With the skyrocketing price of cigarettes, you won’t believe how quickly your money will start adding up. Put it in a special jar in your home and look at it every time your will power needs a little boost. Watch the jar quickly fill week after week. You’ll be ready for that reward sooner than you think!

No one will tell you that quitting smoking is easy. However, you can overcome this addiction. Form a plan of attack and stick with it. If you slip and fall, pick yourself up again. Try a variety of approaches, from using a smoking cessation drug to changing your diet and getting into an exercise routine. Keep at it until you make it happen. Put smoking behind you and never look back.



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