How to Dampen That UrgeThere are seven major coping skills to help you fight that urge to smoke. These tips are designed for you, the new nonsmoker, to help you nurture the nonsmoking habit.
1. Think about why you quitGo back to your list of reasons for quitting. Look at this list several times a dayespecially when you are hit with the urge to smoke. The best reasons you could have for quitting are very personally yours, and these are also the best reasons to stay a nonsmoker.
2. Know when you are rationalizingIt is easy to rationalize yourself back into smoking (see Common Rationalizations). Don't talk yourself into smoking again. A new nonsmoker in a tense situation may think, "I'll just have one cigarette to calm myself down." If thoughts like this pop into your head, stop and think again! You know better ways to relax nonsmokers ways, such as taking a walk or doing breathing exercises.
Concern about gaining weight may also lead to rationalizations. Learn to counter thoughts such as, "I'd rather be thin, even if it means smoking." Remember that a slight weight gain is not likely to endanger your health as much as smoking would. (Cigarette smokers have about a 70-percent higher rate of premature death than nonsmokers.) And review the list of healthy, low-calorie snacks that you used when quitting.
3. Anticipate Triggers and Prepare to Avoid ThemBy now you know which situations, people, and feelings are likely to tempt you to smoke. Be prepared to meet these triggers head on and counteract them. Keep using the skills that helped you cope in cutting down and quitting:
4. Reward yourself for not smokingCongratulations are in order each time you get through a day without smoking. After a week, give yourself a pat on the back and a reward of some kind. Buy a new record or treat yourself to a movie or concert. No matter how you do it, make sure you reward yourself in some way. It helps to remind yourself that what you are doing is important.
5. Use positive thoughtsIf self-defeating thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself again that you are a nonsmoker, that you do not want to smoke, and that you have good reasons for it. Putting yourself down and trying to hold out using willpower alone are not effective coping techniques. Mobilize the power of positive thinking!
6. Use relaxation techniquesBreathing exercises help to reduce tension. Instead of having a cigarette, take a long deep breath, count to 10, and release it. Repeat this 5 times. See how much more relaxed you feel?
7. Get social supportThe commitment to remain a nonsmoker can be made easier by talking about it with friends and relatives. They can congratulate you as you check off another day, week, and month as a nonsmoker. Tell the people close to you that you might be tense for a while, so they know what to expect. They'll be sympathetic when you have an urge to smoke and can be counted on to help you resist it. Remember to call on your friends when you are lonely or you feel an urge to smoke. A buddy system is a great technique.
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