Triggers and Practicing Mini-Quits

One of the best things to help a person quit smoking is to begin to understand what the triggers are, that make you want to have a cigarette. It’s a good idea to start a log. Some like to do more of a journal. It’s up to you. When do I smoke? Why? Where? Do you smoke first thing in the morning? After you eat? In the car? At work? Keep a log of these times and why for about two weeks. Your body (brain) is either craving some nicotine or urges come at other times when you are angry, tired, hungry, etc. Get to know when it happens and why.

When you have logged these for a while, you will need to find distractions or substitutions for the craving. Changing your schedule is a good way to start. For example, if you’re able, adjust the amount of time you spend in the car, add exercise to your day, take up a craft, visit a friend, or set new goals for yourself. And, remember, just because you want to, doesn’t mean you have to smoke.

Quiting does get easier over time. Just as you have performed this habit of smoking over and over again, you can also find other activities and learn coping skills so that you are able to prolong the lack of smoking in your days.

You can also try not smoking for two hours after you first get up. Find other things to get in the habit of doing first thing, so you don’t have that urge.

Practice not smoking during an activity where you usually would smoke. Do something else. Pick a time during the day to not smoke. Replace it with some exercise or new activity.

Taking little time outs like this can help you to begin to taper off the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day. They will help you to see how you are going to be able to cope without cigarettes to fall back on. You may want to change your schedule and add activities in places where you usually smoked. If you liked to smoke while driving, find something else that engages you during that time, or change the route so you aren’t on the road as long. Stop along the way for a snack or a cup of coffee. Grab a pack of gum. Do whatever works for you. Knowing your triggers will help you to find other options during these sensitive times.

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