Quitting smoking sucks. Let's just put that out there. It's difficult, it's stressful, and at times it can feel futile and you might even feel helpless.
That being said, millions of people DO quit smoking, and it's totally possible to quit permanently. And once you get past the difficult few months of quitting, you'll find that NOT smoking is easier than smoking. You don't have to worry about gathering enough money for cigarettes, you don't have to worry about finding matches or a lighter, you don't have to worry about going outside to smoke, and most of all, you don't have to worry about smoking-related illnesses. In fact, quitting smoking reduces your risk of death by heart disease by 47 percent and cuts your risk of stroke by 27 percent.
The following ways can help you quit for good. Read on to see the different methods available and to select a quitting plan that works best for you and your lifestyle.
Ready, set, QUIT!
#1. Pick a start date and pick a method. Until your start date, let yourself prepare by choosing and organizing your method of quitting. The night before your start date, make a ritual of getting rid of all the cigarettes in your home. Don't smoke them — destroy them! Cut them up and flush them down the toilet bowl, totally demolishing them. This will psychologically prepare you for quitting. It will empower you against cigarettes. Say goodbye and good riddance to them. Tell them that you have power and strength over them. If you smoke the remaining cigarettes, it will be like any other night. In making a ritual of getting rid of your cigarettes, you will change your perspective on smoking and get your mind ready for terminating the habit.
#2. Use a nicotine replacement such as the patch or nicotine gum. Using a temporary replacement will take the edge off so that you feel less anxious and jittery when you are going through those first few days. As the weeks go on, you will find that weaning yourself off the replacement is much easier than going off the actual cigarettes.
#3. Try hypnosis. Either use a quit smoking hypnotherapy download such as this one, or search for an in-person hypnotherapist who can help you.
#4. Join a support group such as Nicotine Anonymous or an online group such as QuitNet. It's much easier to do with a group than alone. Think of cigarettes as the enemy — you need to assemble an army to defeat the enemy. Doing it solo can sometimes feel like you're alone, but you are not. There are support systems out there for you.
#5. Talk to your doctor. There are medications such as Chantix or Zyban that might be helpful.
#6. Reward yourself. Put the amount of money you would have spent on cigarettes each day into either a special bank account or a jar. In a month you'll have close to $200. That's a luxury trip to Hawaii after a year of not smoking. Better yet, invest it. With compound interest, you'll have $30,000.00 after ten years — just from not smoking! That doesn't even begin to incorporate the amount of money you'll save on medical bills.
#7. Try acupuncture. Usually they stick needles in certain ear points to help you deal with cravings. Hate needles? Try acupressure — rub the points along your ears to help you calm down during a craving.
#8. Take it day-by-day. Don't tell yourself it's forever — tell yourself that it's only three days until the nicotine leaves your system. After three days, tell yourself that you can go one full week. After that, tell yourself you can go one more week, and so on. Remind yourself that if it ever gets too hard, you can call on your support resources or go back to smoking until you're ready to quit. However, with every day that passes, it gets easier. The first week is the hardest. Once you pass that hurdle, you are more likely to make the change permanently.
#9. Try herbal remedies. Some people have reported that the herb lobelia has helped them quit smoking by suppressing the urge. Check with your doctor before starting any herbal regimen.
#10. Try ginseng root. Take dried ginseng and chew on it every time you want a cigarette. It has been known to increase energy, decrease fatigue and reduce cravings.
If it doesn't work the first time, don't despair. Just dust yourself off and try again. It can take several tries and several different methods to finally quit smoking for good. If one of these remedies doesn't work for you, try a different one. You can also try a combination of several to help you quit. Whatever the case, you deserve to do yourself a favor and try. Good Luck!