So you’ve quit smoking, or maybe you’re trying and not sure how long you will last. Either way, quitting is not easy, and staying smoke-free in the long term is even harder. You may have periods of time when you’re feeling confident and a cigarette is the last thing on your mind, or you may all of a sudden have intense cravings. Below are some ways to help keep you smoke-free for a better, healthier life.
Having good and bad days are a part of life, and same goes for quitting smoking. Some days are going to be easier than others, but it is important on the bad days to remind yourself why quitting is worth it. Health should be number one in your life and according to the CDC, quitting smoking will lower your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory complications and more. If you have been a smoker, you know the side effects well. Staying positive and motivated to keep the bad habit away will pay off tremendously in the long run. Talk to others who have quit or join a support group. It is always great to hear from others who are going through the same experience as you and to see success stories.
Know your triggers
Smokers usually have triggers that give them the urge to light up. Be aware of what these are and find ways to avoid them. Common triggers include stress, drinking coffee, after a meal, drinking alcohol, if someone else is smoking or feeling restless. Once you know your triggers, you can know how to handle them in a healthy manner that doesn’t include smoking. When you start to feel an urge, try deep breathing or go on a short walk. Keep your mind and body occupied.
Take up a new hobby/activity
Kicking a bad habit is the perfect time to take up a healthy one. Spend more time exercising or doing something you enjoy. Activities like biking, swimming or yoga are not only fun but also beneficial for your mental and physical health. If feeling stressed or down is a trigger for you, becoming more active can help lower these symptoms.
Don’t give up
The decision to quit smoking was probably one of the best lifestyle choices you could make. You already took that first step, and although it may seem like an uphill battle, staying smoke-free will add years on to your life and improve your quality of life tremendously. Don’t give up, and don’t get down on yourself if you cave. It is never too late to quit smoking and begin the journey to better health.
Dr. Igor Bril