These alternatives to smoking can help your efforts to quit.
The rewards of quitting smoking are plentiful, but the journey to all those benefits is definitely not easy. The saying that old habits die hard is perhaps most applicable to smoking cigarettes and other habits that stem from addiction. This is why you’ll need the proper tools and an enormous amount of support from peers or loved ones to successfully stop smoking for the rest of your life.
Many ex-smokers say that having concrete replacements for cigarettes or the act of smoking is one of the best ways to completely avoid cigarettes and stop smoking. The good news is that, these days, you have a wide variety of healthy, effective cigarette replacements to choose from. When avoiding that pack of cigarettes starts to become even more difficult, try any of these great alternatives to smoking.
Many smokers use cigarettes and smoking as a form of stress relief. Think about it; how many cigarettes have you smoked because of an impending deadline at work or because of the anger or frustration caused by disagreements with your friends, coworkers, or family members?
The next time you’re feeling stressed out, take a couple of minutes, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Just zone out a little and calm your mind. Repeat to yourself the reasons why you’re quitting smoking in the first place. If you can, take a quick break from your desk and listen to relaxing music.
You can also do some physical relaxation exercises to calm yourself down. Clench and relax each part of your body, starting from your toes up to your shins and knees until you reach your head. Work multiple muscle groups more than once, if necessary, until you feel yourself relaxing. Do this physical relaxation in addition to visualization and breathing exercises for maximum effect.
All this should relieve some of the stress you’re feeling, so you won’t feel the need to pick up a pack of cigarettes.
Do some meditation.
Meditation is actually a helpful means of resisting the urge to smoke. And what’s great about meditation is that it’s easy. You can do it just about anywhere, so it can really help you out wherever nicotine cravings strike.
There are many ways to properly meditate. One thing you can do is to visualize being successful at quitting smoking. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and focus on all the benefits you’ll be getting once you get rid of nicotine addiction.
Another simple meditation exercise involves deep breathing and controlling your breath. Find a quiet place and close your eyes, deeply breathing in and out. Breathe in and hold your breath for four counts. Breathe out for the same count. As you do this, think of the clean air you’re taking into your lungs and the toxins and stress you’re breathing out. This exercise can help lower your heart rate and get your blood pressure levels back to normal, so you can relax. You can reduce the count to 3 if you feel dizzy holding your breath for 4 counts.
Find a new hobby.
For many ex-smokers, completely quitting smoking is a matter of keeping their hands and minds occupied enough so they’re not constantly thinking of cigarettes. If you can’t shake the feeling of missing the physical sensation of smoking, you’ll get a lot of benefits out of getting a new hobby.
Find a hobby that will let you keep your fingers busy, like knitting, small-scale sculpting, gardening, or learning to play the guitar. Go one step further and take up swimming, running, cycling, or surfing. If you’d rather keep your mind busier than your hands, consider reading, learning a new language, writing, blogging, or listening to podcasts. Whatever hobby you choose, there is probably a wealth of resources out there to help you pursue it.
Get some exercise.
The effectiveness of exercise at helping people quit smoking has been thoroughly studied, and it’s been proven that people who exercise when the nicotine cravings kick in have a greater chance of resisting these cravings. So if you’re finding it particularly difficult to say no to a cigarette or two, try getting in a light workout. It will help you get rid of the anxiety commonly caused by the smoking process.
If going to the gym bores you, there are many physical activities you can try out for the sake of exercise. Go for a daily run or brisk walk around your neighborhood and take in the sights. Explore the nearest local park and get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Sign up for a membership at your local pool and do some laps when those nicotine cravings hit. Take up yoga and hit two birds with one stone; yoga helps improve your flexibility while helping you relax your mind and focus.
Drink plenty of water.
Make sure you’re properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also go for herbal tea or low-sugar juice. Making sure your body is properly hydrated can help rid your body of toxins and harmful chemicals, some of which you probably got from cigarettes.
Health experts advise against drinking increased amounts of coffee or alcohol, as these can actually cause further dehydration rather than help at rehydrating your body.
Take lots of vitamin C.
Adults who quit smoking typically require more than 500mg of vitamin C daily. Make sure you fill your daily requirement by drinking orange juice and eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Bell peppers, kiwis, broccoli, papayas, and dark leafy green vegetables. You can also take vitamin C supplements to help meet your daily requirement for vitamin C.
Get your fill of fruits and vegetables.
Make sure your meals feature a lot of fruits and vegetables, as health experts say these foods contain the nutrition smokers and recent quitters need to deal with nicotine withdrawal. The great news is that quitting smoking gives your taste buds new life, so you might be able to appreciate the varying tastes of fruits and vegetables even more.
Celery, for instance, not only adds crunch to soups and salads but also helps rehydrate your body. Cucumber is delicious on its own and is well-known for its cooling effects. Spinach is a highly versatile vegetable; sauté it with some garlic for a side dish, use it as the main vegetable in salad, or bake it into a gratin for a filling main dish. Fruits like strawberries and mangoes make for healthier alternatives to dessert.
The sensations different fruits and vegetables bring to your mouth are also said to help in replacing the oral fixation involved in smoking cigarettes.
Use nicotine replacement products.
One effective way of dealing with nicotine withdrawal is to use nicotine replacement products. Nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine inhalers and sprays all give your body the nicotine fix it needs without all the harmful chemicals brought by smoking. You can also use e-cigarettes to wean your body off nicotine, as these cigarettes can be loaded up with nicotine-free or nicotine-containing e-liquid. Many ex-smokers have made the complete, permanent switch to e-cigarettes from tobacco cigarettes.
You can also look into medications like Chantix, which is popularly used as a smoking cessation medication. Chantix is often used in tandem with a nicotine replacement program that also provides counseling and support. This combination is considered to be one of the most effective methods of nicotine replacement therapy for quitting smoking.
Refocus your energy.
Sometimes, all it takes to distract yourself from the difficulties of nicotine withdrawal is refocusing your energy. Instead of focusing on your internal struggles, direct your focus outward and look at the world around you. Try going for a walk and taking in your surroundings. Say hi to the neighbors you meet and engage in conversation. Take a walk around your office block and observe things you wouldn’t usually notice when you’re taking that smoke break.
Ex-smokers say that this can also help with the ego issues that can also arise during the quitting process. Refocusing your energy outward will remind you that everyone has their own struggles and that many people are struggling to make their life better, just like you.
Rearrange your priorities.
Take a good look at your priorities and see where smoking figures into it. Being a chronic smoker, getting your nicotine fix and taking your next smoke break are probably high on your list of priorities. Rearrange your priorities and make your health your main priority. Make lifestyle changes that will let you prolong your life as much as possible.
You can also prioritize making your home environment more conducive to your quitting process. Move your furniture around, give the walls a fresh coat of paint, or undertake a major redesign of certain areas of your house. These new changes can recharge your energy in continuing your journey to quit smoking and make you realize that only you have control and power over your life.
These alternatives to smoking can help your efforts to quit.