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Nicotine is addictive and hard to quit. It sets off the release of feel-good hormones. But it’s good that you’re seeking ways to distract your mind and keep it off smoking. It’s a good starting point. The process will make it easier to quit smoking. You’ll need to come up with new routines and find a practical way to manage stress to divert your urge to smoke.
I’ve put together practical ways to hold off smoking and indulge in healthier habits. Let’s get into it.
If you've been smoking for some time, you may already know your triggers - which sometimes can trick you into smoking. Your triggers can be emotional, the social company you keep, or patterns. Identify them and try as much as possible to avoid anything that triggers you into smoking.
If coffee conditions your mind to crave nicotine, switch to a cup of tea each morning. Also, you can avoid caffeine and switch to a cup of water or lemon water when you wake up in the morning. If you can’t avoid the trigger, have something in hand that can help keep the mind off a cigarette.
You can chew gum or a carrot. Increasing your vegetable or fruit intake will help keep your mind off smoking and eventually quit smoking. Keep vegetables or fruits close to you and munch them each time you crave some nicotine. The vegetable will keep the mind and mouth busy. You’ll also get lots of nutrients as you eat them.
If you're craving nicotine, try an exercise routine. Nicotine triggers feel-good hormones. Therefore, smokers mays view smoking as a pleasurable activity, as well as a close companion or an emotional coping mechanism. So instead of smoking, try going for a power walk around the block, or get outside and do some gardening. Start a routine to reduce the likelihood of turning to a cigarette. Regular exercising helps with cigarette cravings. Try adding 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Spending time in nature will help keep the mind off smoking. You can add biking or evening walks to your daily routines. Walking more than 15 minutes each day will reduce the urge to smoke. Walking can also undo a remarkable amount of harm long-term smoking may have caused to your body. If you cannot walk, try biking. You can ask a few friends to join you and bring their bikes along. If biking is not possible, running can help.
When stressed, you are more likely to grab a stick of smoke. Smoking triggers feel-good hormones that may subvert the stress. Therefore, find healthy ways to manage stress. You could learn some breathing exercises to help manage any stress you experience, which can help keep the mind off cigarettes. Why not learn how to do it and add it to your daily routines - deep breathing will slow down your heart, relax the muscles, and diverts the mind off smoke cravings.
You can also incoporate other relaxation techniques into your rountine, like massage, yoga, and intentionally listening to music. These could help you fight your nicotine cravings.
How about replacing the cigarette with a pen and paper? Journalling is good for when you're feeling stressed, and it can help keep the mind off smoking.
Writing will help you divert the negative emotions that trick your mind into grabbing a smoke. You can also have an expressive diary if you cannot journal. The diary will help you divert the negative emotions to the right place instead of directing them to your pack of cigarettes. You can also keep a log of the triggers and how you managed to fight off the triggers.
I know you’re struggling to quit smoking. Don’t give up. Try incorporating healthy habits into your daily routines to help you keep off cigarettes. They will help you jump-start your quitting journey. Besides, it’s better to try any habit that will help you stop smoking than to do nothing. Each time you develop the urge to smoke, exercise or grab a bowl of vegetables and fruits. All the practical ideas I’ve listed above will help you stay smoke-free.
Daniel Wilson works as a surgical nurse, and has done for many years. In his spare time, Daniel likes to write, mainly about health-related topics and how people can improve their health and wellbeing.
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