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You Can Stop Smoking

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Even though tobacco is very addictive, millions of smokers have broken free—for good. You can, too, by taking the following steps:

1. Get Ready to Break Free

Unless you are under unusual stress, plan to make the break sometime soon, preferably in about a week or two. You may be surprised at how easy it will be to fulfill your commitment to stop smoking when you properly prepare physically, mentally, and socially.

2. Prepare Physically

Your decision will be easier if you:

  • Get eight hours of sleep each night.

  • Drink eight glasses of water daily.

  • Eat a balanced breakfast every morning.

  • Take a brisk walk twice daily.

  • Ask your doctor for a clearance to begin exercising.

Exercise helps repair the physiological trauma caused by years of tars and nicotine consumption. Fitness also combats the primary enemies of a person struggling with tobacco addiction—uncontrolled stress and weight gain.

Success is improved if you eliminate the use of alcohol and caffeine. Even one drink of alcohol impairs judgment, which will increase the risk for relapse. Caffeine acts as a trigger that conditions the smoker to return to the familiar coffee and cigarettes routine. Replace coffee with water and fruit juice.

Begin to eat more fruits and vegetables—five to nine half-cup servings daily. Not only will fruits and vegetables reduce the symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine, but they will compensate for the damage caused by years of smoking. Increase your consumption of wholegrain breads, cereals, and legumes from six to 11 half-cup servings daily. Grains, fruits, and vegetables should be the foundation of your new menu.

3. Prepare mentally

You need to rehearse mentally how you will act when you become anon-smoker. Imagine yourself enjoying all the benefits of living tobacco-free. Verbalize the joy by repeating frequently, “I love being free from smoking.”

Begin thinking like and imitating non-smokers. Observe how they react to situations that would have prompted you to smoke.

4. Prepare Socially

During the cessation process make plans to politely avoid smoking and drinking friends, smoking family members, office parties, or any occasions during which old friends may pressure you to smoke. Think through your response to an offer to smoke or an urge to smoke.

5. Prepare spiritually

Not everyone attends church or a synagogue or spends an hour in private devotion, but everyone is a spiritual being. We all have beliefs about the universe. We all have moral values of right and wrong. A question most appropriate is “Would I desire others to follow my example? 

6. Keep a Record

During the next 24 to 48 hours, record every cigarette you smoke or urge you have to smoke. This record will prove invaluable as you study your tobacco addiction. Keep all your cigarette butts in a sealable plastic bag to remind you of the pollution your lungs have processed every 24 hours of your smoking career.

7. Set the Break-free Date

You are now ready to set a break-free date. It could be at this very moment or in the next few days. Try smoking less of each cigarette. Test yourself by refusing to smoke when you have a weaker urge. On the break-free date, celebrate by throwing away all the cigarettes and anything else you associate with smoking.

You may now declare yourself to be a nonsmoker. Share the news with everyone.

8. Prepare for a Slip or a Relapse

Many smokers make several false starts before they finally break from smoking. If you find yourself puffing away on a cigarette before you realize it; don’t give up. Stop. Throw the cigarette away. Realize you have not failed. This is only a detour. Failure results only if you fail to try again.

If necessary, try all 10 of these weapons to kill an urge.

  1. Affirm “I choose to be tobacco-free.”

  2. Brush your teeth with mint toothpaste, or your body with a soft towel.

  3. Chew vegetable sticks (celery, carrots), and sugarless gums.

  4. Drink water every hour.

  5. Exercise with a walk, and relaxation exercises.

  6. Freshen up with five deep breaths, or a warm shower.

  7. Go for a five-minute break, or help from a friend.

  8. Hold something in your hands.

  9. Imagine refusing a cigarette.

  10. Join a support group.

9. Plan for the Big Victory

After a few weeks free of tobacco you will feel good about yourself. Your self-respect and self-awareness should be affirmed, but remember danger and disaster is only one cigarette away. You will never be able to smoke another cigarette, and for the most part you will not want to do so. The big victory celebration should come one year later.

10. Ensure Long-term Success

When you help someone else, you help yourself. Now that you are an expert on how to stop smoking, share your knowledge with others. Helping someone else stop smoking reinforces your own desire. You are now free at last and in control of your life.

 

Reprinted from Vibrant Life Magazine . All rights reserved.

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