5 simple ways to stop smoking

You've been thinking about quitting smoking for a while now, but your tobacco cravings are getting the best of you. What is it that you need to do? 

The truth is that nicotine acts as both a stimulant and a depressant. It's highly addictive, and if you use it on a regular basis, your body and mind become accustomed to it. Once this expectation is created, you reach for it more and more…


How a cigarette affects your body

Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your bloodstream, brain, heart and other organs within 10 seconds of your first puff.  Yep, that quickly. 

Nicotine causes a series of chemical reactions in the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and concentration. These pleasures only last a few moments. The good news is that if you're considering giving up this habit, you're on the right track to bettering your overall health.

A little planning can help you get ready to quit smoking. To get started, choose a compelling reason that outweighs your desire to light up. This can be a health reason or a promise you’ve made to a loved one. Choose a motivation that resonates with you.


Be patient

It will take some time to break a habit. But every time you resist a craving, you’re one step closer to quitting smoking for good. So, yay for that! Speak with your doctor and consider all your options, including counselling, medication, hypnosis and quit-smoking classes and apps. Every bit helps.


Eat clean 

To avoid cravings, eat low-calorie foods and healthy snacks, as spicy and sugary foods can make you crave cigarettes. Healthy foods will also help rid your system of toxins caused by smoking. Staying hydrated will help in detoxification and make you feel better overall. Curb those cravings with sugar-free gum or hard sugar-free sweets, raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds.


Triggers, begone!

Keep a safe distance from potential triggers. If you associate smoking with alcohol, partying or stress, take care to avoid these environments until you feel stronger. Determine your trigger situations and come up with a plan to overcome them without using tobacco. 


Move more

Physical activity can help decrease nicotine cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Put on your running shoes and head outside instead of reaching for a cigarette. Walking your dog, going for a walk or jog on the beach or doing some gardening are all healthy distractions. As you quit smoking, the calories you burn by being active will keep you from gaining weight.


Breathe it out

Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualisation, massages and listening to soothing music can all be incorporated into your daily routine to help you manage stress. Stress or anger can be triggers, especially if you’re trying to quit smoking. Manage your stress to avoid any tension build-up that could jeopardise your plans. 


Good to know

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll be tempted to smoke again. Nicotine tolerance develops quickly, and the desire to get that same high all the time is what leads to addiction. The good news is that if you use these techniques, you’ll be well on your way to breaking free from the shackles of nicotine. It’s important to remember that doing something to combat the urge to smoke is preferable to not doing anything at all. Your health will thank you.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.