Most of the smokers have, at some point, tried to figure out how to quit smoking. Every smoker is aware of the fact that quitting could be a key factor to boost his or her quality of life, avoid serious illness and, in general, live longer. However, this is often a difficult mission for many smokers.
As most of us are aware, cigarettes contain nicotine. What makes nicotine such a strong substance is its ability to activate the brain region responsible for the feeling of pleasure. Once an individual smokes, nicotine triggers the brain circuit of that region, creating an illusion of well-being and pleasure. Appetizing food or pleasurable moments can also trigger this region of the brain but smokers rely upon nicotine to do so.
Following are the 5 steps on how to quit smoking:
1. Take a Firm Decision
First, you need to take a wholehearted and firm decision to quit smoking. You cannot do this half-heartedly. You should be ready to stand by your decision no matter what. Only then, you will give yourself a good chance to succeed.
Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to the feeling of pleasure. Therefore, one of the major withdrawal symptoms is moodiness. Depending on how you tackle these symptoms, you can choose one of the following ways to quit smoking:
Gradually lowering the number of cigarettes can help minimize withdrawal symptoms. This strategy is particularly useful for hardcore chain-smokers. The best plan is to set weekly goals to reduce the cigarettes by, let’s say, 5 per week. In a few weeks, you’ll be in a position to finally quit smoking altogether.
Some people commit to quitting on their own without medical oversight and usually quit abruptly or go cold turkey. During this strategy, the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms is a lot more than in gradual quitters. This strategy can be useful for mild or casual smokers.
2. Find Ways to Suppress the Craving
The smoker associates smoking with moments of pleasure, just like taking a break from work or having a good time at the bar with friends. To interrupt this pattern, smoking ought not to be pleasant.
A great way to suppress the craving is to exercise or take part in sports activities. Exercising triggers the same region of the brain that nicotine affects. Such activities can be a healthy replacement for smoking.
3. Avoid the Triggering Activities
Drinking alcohol triggers a series of chemical processes that increase the urge to smoke. The same goes for coffee. Adding milk to coffee can lower such triggering effects.
Avoiding the places where you usually smoke is a good idea. It is also better to avoid sitting among smokers.
4. List and Remember the Reasons for Your Decision
While quitting smoking, you should have a list of reasons behind your decision. These reasons can vary from avoiding a significant health problem, saving cash or setting an example for your kid. This list will help you during the times of fighting the urge to smoke.
Announcing the choice to quit smoking to your friends and family will also help. It will reinforce your commitment to yourself. Secondly, the words of encouragement from your loved ones will keep you motivated. Sharing your list of reasons with your close friends and family will help them keep you on track in your journey.
5. Get Supplementary Help
Quitting smoking on your own will be troublesome due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Treatment with medicine that acts on nicotine receptors or substance-stimulated neurotransmitters, like Dopamine, helps attenuate symptoms.
Unlike treatments with brain medicine, nicotine patches or gums do not need medical supervision. One can simply follow the directions on the package. This sort of product offers the user a little dose of nicotine that helps stop withdrawal symptoms.
To quit smoking and actually succeed in it, you need to follow all or some of the 5 steps mentioned above.