Here are a number of common sense tips that have been proven to make it easier to cope with the nicotine withdrawal symptoms which are at their peak during the first few days:
1. Avoid those who do not support your efforts: Some of your friends might feel threatened when you decide to quit, and try to “keep you smoking”, rather than lose your social companionship. Some people might just want to de-motivate you, thinking you incapable of quitting. If need be, sit down with the person in question and explain that you expect them to respect what you are trying to achieve. If all else fails, try to avoid them as far as humanly possible until you have passed on beyond the cravings stage.
2. Get some real support: The best support usually comes from someone who has already stopped smoking, and knows what you are going through. The second best is any friend who really cares, and who would like to see you succeed.
3. Use non-smoking zones as safe havens: When you feel like a cigarette, try to retreat to a non-smoking area where you simply cannot do it.
4. Get something else in your mouth – regularly: Instead of constantly eating throughout the day, as some quitters do, simply eat smaller meals more regularly. In between, you can always consider chewing on sugar free gum.
5. Appreciate your achievements and benefits: Make a list of your experience as you go along – at which point do you realise that you are able to smell and taste, at which point you notice feeling better, how much money you saved yourself, etc.
6. Cut down on drinks that could drive you to smoking: Caffeine is nice to use for a kick start in the morning, but too much can lead to additional tension, which calls for a cigarette. Additionally, cut down on alcohol – it is just too easy to slip and have a smoke as you drop your guard while drinking.
7. Keep busy: The busier you are, the less you will tend to notice, or be bothered by cravings. Keep in mind that where possible, you should indulge in activities you enjoy. Lastly, remember that physical activity reduces stress levels, so any additional physical activity will make it easier to come with the nicotine withdrawal when you stop smoking.
8. Brush your teeth more regularly: When you have a fresh taste in your mouth, you will be less inclined to light up a smoke.
9. Avoid food and drinks that are too hot: Anything (physically) hot stimulates the tongue, and could induce cravings again.
10. Remember why: Make a list of your reasons why you are quitting. Print them out and stick copies up where you will be able to see them regularly. Some people who were able to quit successfully have found it helpful to add pictures of their loved ones to the print-out.
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Author: Karien Venter