How to Quit Smoking?

To quit smoking is a challenging journey you don't have to face alone. Seek emotional support from your family, friends, and mental health professionals.

How to Quit Smoking?

If you're tired of trying to quit and failing, you've come to the right place. You will find reasons to quit smoking and tips to succeed and overcome withdrawal in this article. Let's get into it!

Why Quit Smoking?

According to Psychology, motivation is what drives our actions. If you want to quit smoking, you need a reason, something you wake up to every day that reminds you why you started. So here are five reasons why you should live a smoke-free life.

[1] To Regain Control

You may believe you smoke because you want to, choose to, but at times it may feel like it's cigarettes that control you. If you quit smoking, you'll feel in control again. Control will boost your self-esteem and autonomy and make you feel like you can conquer anything.

[2] To Live Longer

If you don't want to harm your beloved ones, it is time to quit smoking.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy for smokers is about ten years shorter than for non-smokers. It's one of the leading preventable causes of death around the globe. If you want to live longer and stay around your family for a long time, consider quitting today.

[3] To Stop Experiencing Withdrawals

Withdrawals symptoms can be overwhelming and make you feel like you could die. But don't worry, the worst thing about them is the discomfort. We'll cover withdrawals in an upcoming section, but quitting smoking is the first step toward living a free life.

[4] To Protect Others

Maybe you're expecting a child or already have one, or you have vulnerable loved ones around. Be that as it may, note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that deaths can occur due to secondhand smoke. If you don't want to harm those around you, it may be time to quit smoking.

[5] To Save Money

Every pack and cigarette add up. You might peek at your bank account and be discouraged if you're a heavy smoker, thinking about what you could do with that money put to waste. Although you can't get that money back, you can prevent your new savings from the same destiny.

When to Quit Smoking

As you'll discover in this article, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. You may have heard that you'll quit when you're ready or the best time to give up smoking is now. But the truth is that those sentences don't give you a clear picture of when to quit smoking. Instead, it seems like it's unrelated to you.

Pick a date to quit. Make sure it's not during a high-stress period, as you'll probably need the urge to have a cigarette or two in these situations. If you are moving or overloaded with work, delay it.

It can be a good idea to pick a meaningful date for you, like your wedding anniversary or your child's birthday. Quitting tobacco is an emotional event, and adding significance may help you stick to your new goal. Speaking of plans, let's dive into the most relevant part of your journey.

How to Quit Smoking: Make a Plan

[1] List Your Reasons

Why do you want to quit smoking? Although there are common reasons for everyone, you might have specific motivations. Make a list of reasons you want to make the change and place it somewhere you can see it daily: your wardrobe, refrigerator, phone screen, etc.

[2] Pick a Date

We already discussed this in a previous section. Pick a meaningful date for you and be ready for the upcoming day. No cheating, no "I'll start tomorrow."

[3] Understand Withdrawal Symptoms

Addictions, from sugar to drugs, will induce withdrawal symptoms once you quit smoking. No matter what. You can't avoid them, so you need to understand them and be ready to fight back. We'll dive into them in the following section.

[4] Tell Others

Even if it's to your fiancée, tell someone. Opening up about your goals makes them real, as others now have expectations. Moreover, they'll be your allies. Your fiancée can support you through your hard days and help you remember why you started in the first place. Don't underestimate the power of your loved ones!

[5] Avoid Triggers

Psychology can explain your addictive behavior. Simply, you make connections between people, places, or items to your addiction. Have you ever of a "social smoker?" I'm sure you have! They're people that only smoke during social meetings and around others. That means they associate hanging with friends with smoking. And therefore, social encounters may become a trigger.

That's why it's vital to understand your routines and triggers. A good exercise might be to fill in self-registrations. For a week, write down every time you smoke. What were you doing before smoking? What induced you to smoke a cigarette? How did you feel after smoking?

Self-registrations will help you develop an awareness of when and why you give in to your addiction. Once you recognize patterns, you can put an end to them.

Say you always smoke a cigarette on your way home while you're waiting for the public transport to come. Then one solution may be to walk home instead. Try fun ways like exploring new paths, visiting buildings and stores you enjoy, and more. It's about creating new habits that replace the old, bad ones.

[6] Journal and Self-Reflect

Don't underestimate the power of your loved ones!

Journaling is the process of writing down your feelings, thoughts, and anything that comes to mind. Studies suggest that it can be a powerful resort tool during your journey.

It helps self-reflect and reminisce what you wrote a while ago. Maybe you feel like you haven't made progress at all. It's as easy as going back in your journal to days or weeks ago. Do you see progress? What do you think your past self would think: would they be proud? They probably would!

Withdrawal Symptoms

As mentioned above, withdrawal symptoms are unavoidable and something you'll have to experience at some point in your journey. Managing them is part of your plan. Among the most common symptoms are:

  • Cravings.
  • Irritability.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling anxious.

The last symptom is tricky. If you feel anxious, you may resort to smoking to relieve yourself. It's a short-term solution, although unsustainable in the long term. The more you resort to cigarettes when experiencing anxiety, the more anxious you'll be when you try to quit. It's a vicious cycle.

The underlying psychological reason is similar to the one in avoidance. You fear something and decide to avoid it and not deal with it. It works as you feel better in the short term. But in the end, said avoidance creates additional stress. Why? Because you never faced the problem, you just ran away.

Something similar happens with tobacco and anxiety. You experience withdrawal, and instead of dealing with it in healthy ways, you smoke. You feel instant relief, but you never actually dealt with the problem.

Therefore, if you feel anxious when you quit smoking, remember that it's natural and temporary. Hold on a little longer and talk to a mental health professional. If you don't want to or can't afford it, turn to friends or family!

Regarding the other symptoms, here are some general tips that will help you cope:

  • Be active and exercise. You can fight cravings with physical activity! Studies suggest that exercise helps reduce the urge to smoke. No matter what you enjoy, there's an activity right for you: walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, etc.

  • Create a routine. Routines will help you stick to a schedule and avoid the free time, which can be detrimental to your journey. The longer your mind is unoccupied, the higher chances you resort to your old habits.

  • Seek emotional support. We are social creatures and need aid from others. Talking about your emotions can be difficult, and emotional support is vital in addictions. It helps you see others' perspectives, whether from addicts themselves or your loved ones.

  • Buy an e-cigarette. If nothing else works, you might want to acquire an e-cigarette. Some people have a hard time giving up smoking, and you might be one of them. According to NHS, they're far less harmful than tobacco. You will trick your mind into thinking you're still smoking when the truth is you're still on track. Some claim that's not really quitting, but you do you. The goal is to give up cigarettes - that's what you must focus on!.

The Bottom Line

To quit smoking is a challenging journey you don't have to face alone. Seek emotional support from your family, friends, and mental health professionals.

If you wonder when to quit smoking, know there's no right time, although you may want to avoid stressful situations. Try setting a meaningful date for you, like your child's birthday, as motivation to stay strong.

You will experience withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Cravings.
  • Tiredness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Lack of sleep or concentration.
  • Irritability.

Set routines to avoid free time and triggers. Get physical, recognize and avoid your triggers by creating new habits, eat nutritious foods, and even buy an e-cigarette if your cravings are too much to handle.

Remember that it's not a linear path. You may relapse once or twice, even more than three times, but what truly matters is the final result. Hopefully, this "How to quit smoking" guide helped you see the bigger picture.

Good luck!