Today most people are aware of the extreme harms of smoking cigarettes: an increased risk of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and many other serious illnesses, but that does not stop people from lighting cigarettes everyday around the world. That’s because nicotine, the incredibly addictive substance in cigarettes, completely changes how the brain of a heavy smoker works. Nicotine triggers the reward sense of your brain so you feel accomplished after you have lit up a smoke. That is how nicotine gets you, and although you might be thinking, “I’ve been smoking for 20 years now, there’s no chance of me ever quitting,” it is entirely possible to kick the habit. By understanding the addiction by talking to your doctor, having confidence in yourself, and avoiding the cravings, you will find that quitting, though extremely difficult, is a very reachable goal.
1. Understand your addiction.
Any person with any drug problem needs to start somewhere. Smokers are no different. If you want to beat any addiction you need to fully understand how it affects you and makes you crave more. One thing smokers don’t like to acknowledge is that a nicotine addiction is a serious mental illness. Withdrawal symptoms are tough on anyone. That’s because nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to humans, so in order to stop smoking you need to understand how smoking affects your brain. That means that once you take a drag of your smoke and get some of that sweet sweet nicotine in your bloodstream you feel like you have accomplished something, even if the only accomplishment is not having had a smoke for another hour. Once you understand this you are well on your way to becoming smoke free!
2. Talk to your doctor.
Like I’ve mentioned a few times nicotine addiction is a serious drug problem and a mental illness, so who do you see any other time you have an illness? If you answered your doctor, well, you have just hit the nail on the head! They are trained medical professionals, they know your body better than you do, so why would you not go see your doctor if you have a serious drug problem? Even a walk-in clinic is good because again, they are medical professionals and it’s their job to make people healthy again. Any doctor will hear you out on your smoking habits and will actually sit with you and develop a treatment plan. Why didn’t you think of this before?!
3. Be confident in yourself.
One thing you hear over and over again from people who are trying to quit is, “I just couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like I was going crazy without a smoke!” Well, good news is, you’re not crazy! The reason so many people give in to their addiction is because they lack the self-confidence to quit. Smokers keep telling themselves that there’s no way they will quit, they say that it is too hard, or they just do not have the ability to. Newsflash, that’s your addiction talking. Your body is craving nicotine and as soon as you cut off its supply it REALLY starts to crave so your own brain will try and convince you that without nicotine you are nothing, worthless and will continue to smoke forever. How can you beat this, you ask? Good question! Start believing in yourself. Change your outlook on life to be smoke free. In order to quit smoking you need to have confident that you can quit!
4. Be prepared for some intense cravings.
No one said quitting smoking is easy. So prepare for it. Set a date when you are going to quit and get ready to annoy pretty much everyone around you for the next 3 months. Again when smokers get irritable and generally annoyed at the world, they are going through withdrawal so tell people not to take it personally. You are going to get some tough physical and mental cravings. A good way to deal with them is to find something to fiddle with in your hands, like a toothpick or pencil, and find something to take the mental edge off, like some exercise. Surprisingly people don’t realize how much just going out for a run when you get a bad craving helps. Exercise releases natural endorphins into your brain, you know that thing called a “Runner’s High.” Those endorphins will actually stop your craving in its tracks, and let’s be honest; if you have been smoking for a while you need the exercise.
5. Recovery is a long road, but you’ll get there.
If you are ready to quit smoking, you know how the addiction works, you are pumped and ready to quit, you have got some neat little tricks to help with your cravings, and you have talked to a doctor and make an actual treatment plan, be prepared for a long and winding road to recovery. Like I said before nicotine addiction is a serious drug problem and mental illness, so it’s going to be tough to get through it. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it though. You may get angry, the smallest most insignificant nuisance might set you off in a blazing hot fury with the strength of a thousand suns. You always need to remember though, I have ways to quit, I’m going to quit, I will beat this. Remember all the tricks you have now, hell you have even met with your doctor that you haven’t seen since you ‘accidentally’ fell off the roof of your buddy’s house at a party. Everything you’ve read here will help you quit.
Like I have stated time and time again, quitting smoking will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Always keep in mind that this is your time to quit. You have got the tricks, and the knowledge of how to beat it, now it is time to put the knowledge to good use. I believe in you.