Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things most of us will do. Not only are we chemically addicted to nicotine, but over the years of puffing on these death sticks our brains have adapted and come to rely on them.
Today then we have collected some of the better techniques you can use to beat cravings when they pop up and keep to your promise to stop smoking.
Before we start though, it is important to note that none of these tips will be able to replace an E-Cigarette or other nicotine replacement device. These tips aren’t meant to be the only way you try and stop smoking!
However when you are feeling stressed or feel a real urge to buy a pack of cigarettes, try these tips to get through the sudden craving!
WHAT ARE THE 5 DS OF SMOKING CESSATION
Firstly then we should go through what the 5 Ds are, and how they can help. The 5 tricks to help keep you smoke free are:
- Delay – Don’t reach for a cigarette at first, most cravings only last for a few minutes
- Distract – Get your mind off cigarettes with anything else
- Drinking Water – Drinking water can mitigate some of the withdrawal symptoms
- Deep Breaths – In general find ways to calm yourself
- Discuss – Talk and get support from others
As you can see these are all simple little tips that can help you through a sudden craving, and keep you on the wagon and away from tobacco.
As the title implies, delay yourself from getting a cigarette.
Remind yourself that cravings, while almost all consuming in the moment, only last for 5-10 minutes for most people. If you can make it through those 10 minutes you will more than likely feel the urge to smoke cigarettes receding.
Like any goal, quitting smoking can seem impossible when you look at the entirety, but by breaking it down into much smaller chunks suddenly the monumental task seems much more doable.
The same thinking goes into “Delay”, when a craving hits you don’t think about how you are trying to quit for the next 30 years, just think about the next 10 minutes.
If after 10 minutes the cravings are still hammering you then measure out another 10 minutes. By measuring in such a small time frame getting through your cravings is more easily achieved.
But if you are just staring at the clock for 10 minutes, that is going to feel like an eternity. That is where the second D comes in.
This may seem like a trick you would play on a small child, distract them with something shiny so they forget about the fall they just had, but it can be extremely effective.
Human brains are designed to focus on only one or two different things at once, and by rerouting your brain into focusing on something more positive you can derail your craving.
An excellent way to distract your brain is with exercise. As smokers most of us aren’t the most active people anyway (as smoking cigarettes make any form of exercise much more difficult), and so when we stop smoking many of us also pledge to get fit again.
Most smokers get cravings at around the same times they used to smoke a cigarette, so if you are finding that you get a real urge to smoke in the morning with your coffee then maybe add a simple exercise routine in there now.
Not only will this help you get fit, but will distract your brain and maybe even start creating a new routine for your brain to expect. After a few weeks of a new routine your brain will start to expect the exercise instead!
The exercise doesn’t have to be crazy, we aren’t saying get into your P.E kit and run 5 miles whenever you get a craving!
Something simple like going for a brisk walk, doing a few squats or even some stretching can help distract yourself and make you a little healthier as well.
However if you don’t want to exercise, or you get a craving somewhere that you can’t just do a few squats, then anything that distracts you will help. That could be a puzzle, some TV, or even getting some cleaning done, anything that you have to focus on and think about is what you are going for.
Most of us in general don’t drink enough water as it is, but that isn’t why this has been added to the list!
Drinking water can help with some of the effects of nicotine withdrawal like hunger, fatigue, headaches, and sweating. This can help with the craving as you are essentially taking away the negatives of the craving, robbing it of some of its power and leaving the craving for a cigarette as just a mental thing.
On a side note, drinking more water can be extremely useful for a smoker and non-smoker in general to help with the damage smoking does to your skin. Smoking is extremely harmful to your skin (that’s why heavy smokers always look older than they are), so by drinking water when you get a craving not only are you helping yourself stay away from smoking, but helping your skin heal a bit as well.
We aren’t saying that by breathing a few times you can conquer your craving for cigarettes, what we mean is to try and find ways to relax yourself.
Stress is one of the most common triggers for ex-smokers, as it can be easy to equate smoking a cigarette to relaxing.
This isn’t actually true though, what happens is that cigarette withdrawal actually makes you more stressed. So when you have a cigarette the withdrawal goes away and you feel less stressed. As smokers though most of us don’t realise this, all many of us know is that when we feel stressed having a cigarette helps.
Deep breathing is one common way that people force their bodies to relax though (and of course it fits with the rhyming scheme) and can be a helpful way to combat everyday stress without turning to a cigarette.
Meditation can also be helpful as well as a way to relax yourself (and a way to distract yourself!), and there are plenty of free apps and websites that can help you start meditating. This isn’t just us saying this either, a study from 2013 does suggest that meditation and yoga help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The last D in our list is to talk about your cravings with people who understand. Remember, millions of people every year try to give up smoking, so whatever you are feeling… there is probably someone else in the exact same position. Or even better there are ex-smokers out there who were in your position, but were able to make it through.
But reaching out on chat rooms, quit smoking apps or the hundreds of other tools designed to help you quit you will be able to find other people to help you when the cravings hit.
OTHER TIPS AND GUIDELINES TO QUIT SMOKING
All 5 of these tips can really help when you have a sudden craving hits, but as we said at the beginning of the article, these tips aren’t meant to be the main tool to help you finally get off cigarettes.
For that you will need a nicotine source, something that can give your body the nicotine it needs, without lighting up a cigarette.
For years that used to mean nicotine patches or nicotine gum, however with the introduction of E-Cigarettes that has all changed. According to studies comparing the different nicotine replacement options, E-Cigarettes are almost twice as likely to help you quit than any other option.
And for anyone who has smoked it is easy to see why. Smoking a cigarette is more than just getting nicotine into your body, it’s also about holding a cigarette in your hand, feeling the smoke in your lungs and the hit on the back or your throat as the nicotine is absorbed.
Neither gum or patches can give you that, instead both products give you a slow and steady dose of nicotine, which is the exact opposite of what you were doing before with cigarettes.
E-Cigarettes, or vapes as they are otherwise known, though produce a vapour with nicotine in so that you get the same feeling and even taste of the cigarette. Some designs, like our E-Cigarette starter kit, are specifically designed to look and feel as close to the a tobacco cigarette as possible! This gives the smoker a much better chance of making the switch away from cigarettes as they can still feel like they are smoking… without the downsides.
Because E-Cigarettes only have 4 ingredients in, all of which are safe (maybe excluding nicotine, but that is the reason you are smoking after all!) you aren’t getting the 4000+ chemicals and 50+ carcinogens that are in every single cigarette.
This means that not only are E-Cigarettes a better option for you if you want to make the switch away from tobacco, but are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco.
If you have gotten yourself a nicotine replacement like an E-Cigarette but still find that you get sudden craving for a real cigarette, then give these tips a try today!
However if you are still thinking of quitting smoking and aren’t sure where to start have a look at this great E-Cigarette starter kit deal. You can try one of the UK’s best e-cigarettes for FREE, just pay for the UK shipping! Hopefully this may be your first step to finally being smoke free.