Quit Smoking: Coping with cravings and staying the course

Painless Stop Smoking

Deciding to quit smoking is a huge first step towards making a positive change to your life. Research shows that if you can stay off cigarettes for 28 days you’re five times more likely to stay off them for good.

In order to give yourself the best possible chance of success, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to staying on track, battling cravings or picking yourself up after a slip-up.

Think about what motivates you

It can be helpful to write down the reasons you want to quit. You can have a read of them whenever you need a little motivation.

Pick a quit date

Pick a quit date and stick to it! Most of us work best to deadlines, and picking a date in advance also gives you time to prepare.

Get support

Don’t go it alone. Using a stop smoking service like the HSE’s Quit service doubles your chance of success.

You can sign up for weekly supportive phone calls to help you through this process. Your online Quit plan is free to use and tailored to your needs.

It may also help to quit with a friend or partner so you can give each other support.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) like patches, gum or an inhaler gives you a lower dose which doesn’t stimulate the addiction, but helps manage cravings.

There are plenty of options available and the Quit Team can you help you figure out which ones are right for you.

Coping with cravings

One of the hardest parts of quitting smoking is managing cravings, but it’s important to remember they only last 3-5 minutes. One of the best ways to get yourself through a craving is by using the 4 Ds:

1. Delay at least 3 – 5 minutes and the urge will pass.

2. Drink a glass of water or fruit juice.

3. Distract yourself, move away from the situation.

4. Deepbreathe slowly and deeply.

We spoke to our Quit Leaders about cravings and this is what they had to say:

Rita Conway, Co. Dublin: “I found myself going to bed at 8:30 in the evening just so I wouldn’t smoke. The cravings were tough, but what helped me is I also took up a bit of knitting, and that kept my hands going.”

Conor Hiney, Co. Laois: “The cravings were causing headaches, but using the 4Ds was working. I also found the gum and the NRT spray very effective.”

Sharon Brophy, Co. Dublin: “I definitely used delay and distract when I got up… I walked and I had to give up coffee for a while, because I had this cross-addiction with cigarettes and coffee.”

You can start your own 28 day no smoking challenge and Quit journey bysigning up at quit.ie, calling freephone 1800 201 203 or freetext QUIT to 50100.

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