Smoking is a habit that’s easy to start, but very hard to quit. There are numerous techniques to kick the habit and many books written about it have even become best-sellers – that’s how many people are trying to quit. But, trying to quit is different from stopping it altogether. Even the best-proven methods to quit smoking may not always succeed. That’s when you must try something completely different – something unconventional.
What makes quitting the habit difficult is the withdrawal symptoms, which are both physical and psychological.1 For most smokers who give up the habit, the physical withdrawal symptoms usually last for a week. But the psychological withdrawal symptoms take much longer to overcome and is dependent on the person’s will power.
Try these unconventional methods to quit smoking and see if they work for you.
1. Eat Instead Of Smoking
When you smoke a cigarette, the nicotine releases stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream. This makes you skip meals and results in other complications that occur due to incorrect eating habits. To prevent this from happening, eat healthy foods every time you feel the urge to smoke. Consume salads, sprouts, and other healthy foods that nourish you and divert your attention from smoking. When you stop smoking, your appetite increases and you must capitalize on this aspect and eat moderately at regular intervals, without skipping any meals. Also, consider drinking acidic fruit juice like cranberry juice during the first three days of quitting. This helps the body to remove alkaloid nicotine from your bloodstream, besides stabilizing blood sugar levels.2
2. Avoid Dependency On Substitutes
Many people switch to substitutes such as nicotine patches or e-cigarettes to cut down on smoking. These substitutes only supply nicotine in another form instead of cutting off the supply. The only substitute you need is your determination to quit. Hence, avoiding dependency on a substitute is essential to successfully stop smoking. However, people who consume alcohol must overcome the urge to smoke when drinking, especially during the first few days of quitting.
3. Set Realistic Deadlines
This technique is more of fooling the body and mind. Setting short-term goals and achieving them is easier than trying to quit smoking forever. For instance, make up your mind to stop smoking for two weeks. If you succeed in this endeavor, then you have won half the battle. By this time, your body would have stopped experiencing most of the withdrawal symptoms. Now, extend the timeline to another fortnight and focus on achieving this.
4. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Nicotine affects the body in many ways. It doubles the rate at which your liver can deplete caffeine. Hence caffeine intake must be halved during this time to enable the body to recuperate. Even energy drinks that are high on caffeine must be moderately consumed or completely avoided. However, having just one cup of coffee a day should not be a problem.
5. Read About The Harms Of Smoking
This one is more about conditioning your mind. There is tons of information available online about the harmful effects of smoking. Read these articles time and again, so that you can brainwash your mind that you have effectively quit a potentially life-threatening habit.3 Stick up anti-smoking posters in your room. Paste slogans against smoking in your cubicle. These will remind you that you have taken a healthy step and help you fight the urge. Additionally, after you quit smoking, preach to smokers about the ill effects of smoking. But, remember to practice what you preach.
6. Acknowledge The Withdrawal Symptoms
Often, acceptance is the first step to achieving anything. Years of smoking conditions your body to perform only when it receives the required quantity of nicotine. So, when you stop smoking, acknowledge the fact that withdrawal symptoms will follow and be prepared to face them. It is common to experience a variety of emotions such as restlessness, outbursts of anger, and irritability when you cut off nicotine supply. Take necessary steps to control these emotions and reassure yourself that this too shall pass.
7. Take Up New Hobbies
This is another mind distraction technique. By involving in a new hobby, you engage your mind and can prevent the urge to smoke. But, it’s easier said than done. It will again require all your will power to control the urge. Philately, Numismatics, gardening, exercising, and martial arts are just some of the interesting hobbies that you can pick up. Self-defense and art forms that focus on your inner energy and require high fitness levels can be particularly effective in disciplining your body and mind.
8. Seek Help From Family And Friends
First, announce the new development. Tell your family and friends that you have decided to quit smoking. Let them know that you may need encouragement every now and then. Make them aware that you may have occasional bouts of anger and irritability and apologize for that beforehand. This will prepare them to cope with your withdrawal symptoms. Their motivational words can sometimes work wonders and help you kick the habit more easily.
9. Focus On Oral Hygiene
Once you have quit smoking, visit your dentist for a complete oral clean-up. Get rid of the nasty tobacco stains and turn your yellow teeth into pearly whites. Of course, this may be slightly expensive, but it will motivate you to avoid tobacco in future, lest you ruin the beauty of the newly serviced teeth. Not to mention the monetary investment that would go drown the drain. Use this opportunity to maintain oral hygiene and ensure that you continue to abstain from smoking.4
10. Practice Deep Breathing Techniques
Just like oral cleansing, start practicing breathing techniques like Pranayama, which can help cleanse your clogged lungs. The tar and tobacco residue would have accumulated over the years of tobacco abuse and blocked your lungs.5 Deep breathing helps the lungs expel the toxins and clean up the lungs. As a result, your entire body will receive freshly oxygenated blood, which will improve the overall health of the body and the mind. Once you revive your lungs and see how it performs optimally, you will never again feel like contaminating it with tobacco.
|↑1||Benowitz, Neal L. “Nicotine addiction.” New England Journal of Medicine 362, no. 24 (2010): 2295-2303.|
|↑2||Tsiora, Stamatina, Douglas D. Potter, John S. Kyle, and Adele M. Maxwell. “The effect of withdrawal and intake of nicotine on smokers’ ability to ignore distractors in a number parity decision task.” Psychiatry journal 2013 (2013).|
|↑3, ↑4, ↑5||Addiction to Nicotine. Gender, Women, and the Tobacco Epidemic. World Health Organization.|