Now that you have made the decision to stop smoking and have begun to understand your smoking patterns, it is a good idea to start writing some things down.
DOCUMENT YOUR REASONS FOR QUITTING
Let’s start with a small notepad that you will use exclusively for your quit smoking program.
Begin by writing down all of the reasons you have decided to quit smoking. Take time to really think about this and write down as many reasons as possible. Let’s face it, there are lots of good reasons to stop smoking and pretty much no good reasons to continue. So try to include each of reason you want to quit.
CREATE A LOG TO TRACK YOUR SMOKING
Next record each cigarette you smoke. Keep a written log for three days and record every cigarette you smoke. Note the time that you smoked it and the activity you where engaged in at that time. Don’t try to change anything about your smoking, just observe and record the information about your smoking. Were you on the phone or getting ready to make a phone call?, Were you having a cup of coffee or tea?, did you just finish a meal?, were you reading?, were you thinking about something stressful or that makes you anxious?. You get the idea. Make a notation about your activity each time you want to smoke. Create a log with the entries 1-40 (more if need be) for each day and two column’s — one for the time and one for the description of the activity. If you forget to record some of the information, do your best to fill it in at a later time. If you can’t remember the exact time or the activity, don’t worry just leave it blank and fill in the items you can remember. It is best to try to fill it in at the same time so that it is as accurate as possible.
This information will be useful later in the next steps of your program. It will help you to better understand what your smoking triggers are and thus we can develop a program to help you deal with your unique triggers.
Stop Smoking Now with the Help of Acupuncture in NYC. Until then, Here are Some Tips To Help You
- Pick a start date
There is no magic here, the date need not have any significance — in fact it should not be a date that has any significance. Write the date down in your calendar.
- Decide how you are going to quit. –taper down, cold turkey or cold turkey with a nicotine substitute.
a. Turkey/Nicotine Substitute
I recommend stopping completely. This is the approach taken with virtually all other addictions. It allows you to get through the worst of the withdrawal as quickly as possible.
A nicotine substitute is something you may consider. It can help to reduce the cravings for nicotine while you detox from all the other addictive substances in cigarette. Think of this as a multi-stage approach.
b. Tapering Off
If you elect to taper off, then change your brand of cigarettes to something you really don’t like the taste of. If you smoke menthol then change to non-menthol and visa versa. If you smoked filtered, then change to a non-filtered.
Set a schedule for tapering off. I recommend that you go down to six cigarettes a day. This allows for one after each meal and one in between each meal. When you think about it, that is a fair amount of cigarettes for one day.
Set a schedule for the date of your last cigarette. Write this schedule down and use it as your guide post.
- Understand that you will feel uncomfortable — that is simply part of the deal. This is an extremely powerful addiction and the removal of these substances from your body will have a strong effect on your nervous system.
The discomfort passes and diminishes with each day that you are nicotine free. The experts say that each urge for a cigarette only lasts for a few minutes. Be prepared to have the urges and know that you will experience some discomfort.
- Use techniques such as those used in twelve step programs. Break your cessation program down into small pieces. Twelve steps programs traditionally use a one day at a time model. The idea is that it is much easier to deal with urges if you only focus on the present. Projecting out into the future only makes the process seems much bigger and more difficult. If the process is just today — well most of us can do pretty much anything if its only for a day. That is the idea and it turns out this approach works quite well.
- Make a written commitment to quit: write it out stating the reasons you decided to quit. Be sure to include a sentence or two indicating that you know you will have difficult days and that life will continue just as it always has — with its ups and downs. Write that you understand a bad day is not a reason to start smoking, it is simply an excuse and all excuses to start smoking are poor excuses. Every single person in this world has bad days and most of them don’t smoke — neither will you. Write that down too!!
- Develop an action plan for what you will do when you have a strong urge to smoke. That plan should include things like:
a)Make a cup of tea and drink it
b)Drink a tart beverage — I used lemonade and found it to be very satisfying
c)brush your teeth (I confess that at times I was a little too vigorous and my gums became quite tender)
d)engage in deep breathing techniques (this just means to sit down, breath deeply and focus (be aware of)on your breath coming in and going out).
e)get a manicure
f)do ten push-ups
g)run around the block
h)take a shower
i)eat a piece of hard candy
j)start writing either about the urge and the fact that you know it will pass or something completely unrelated
k)chew on a licorice root stick (these can be found in your local health food store)
l)call a friend
m)read your written statement of why you want to quit smoking
n)recite a poem or prayer
o)wash the dishes
p)wash you face
q)do a puzzle – crossword, Sudoku etc.
r)straighten up a particularly messy drawer or closet (this task could be done over a period of time)
Right here are 20 things you can do until the urge passes. Develop your own list and use it whenever you feel the need. Carry this list with you.
- Write a list of things you may want to do with the money you will save by not smoking (in New York this is more then $5,000 a year for a pack a day smoker)
8. Learn yoga
9. Learn to mediate
10. Join a gym and start an exercise program
11. Learn to play an instrument that uses at least your hands, if not your mouth
12. Take up knitting
13. Treat yourself to a massage
14. Do one nice thing for yourself every day
15. Take time to be grateful for the things in your life that you love.
16. Soak in a hot tub or just soak your feet in hot water with Epsom salt.
17. Join smokers anonymous or smoke enders. They both have websites.
18. Tell at least one person you know who has already quit and ask them if you can call them for support. This can be very helpful.
19. Keep a journal and write about your experience of not smoking. It is a good idea to write in your journal every day. Review this often to see the progress you have made.
20. Eat carrots and fresh fruits and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
21. Get rid of all your smoking accessories. This includes lighters, cigarette cases, ashtrays and any other item related to your smoking.
22. Get acupuncture
Carry this list with you and use it when you stop smoking. Read it as often as you need and make use of every item on this list. Add more and be sure to let me know about them.
Each of these items is a tool that you can use as you quit smoking. Early on you may need to use most of them most days, but over time you will need fewer and fewer. The addiction is a physical one and as the addictive substances leave your body, the urge to smoke diminishes. So the longer you abstain the easier it becomes.
West Village Acupuncture urges you to consider using acupuncture as one of your tools to support you in your effort to stop smoking. It is a tool that has been quite useful for many people. It helps reduce cravings and anxiety — with an overall relaxing effect. Best Wishes for your Success. I know you can do this. If I was able to stop smoking after 35 years, you too can quit.