8 Strategies for Quitting
By Kat Van Fossen, Take Control Health Coach
Quitting tobacco use is one of the most difficult lifestyle changes a person can attempt. It’s a complicated process, involving physical, mental, and emotional ties. Each person is unique in how and why they use tobacco products, and the Take Control program is unique because we work with each person individually to address his or her ties to tobacco use. Over the course of time, we’ve identified eight strategies that have worked well for our clients. No one strategy works perfect for every person. One or more of the following strategies may resonate with you. Those are the ones to try.
- Manage Stress
One reason people smoke is that the nicotine helps them relax. Once you quit, you’ll need another way to cope with stress. Some relaxation techniques include deep breathing, massage, meditation, Tai chi, Yoga, biofeedback, music and art therapy, aromatherapy, and hydrotherapy. Read more about relaxation techniques at Mayoclinic.org.
- Build Support – Tell Others
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you’re trying to quit. A support team is important for staying on track. Their encouragement could make the difference. You may also want to join a support group or talk to a counselor. Behavioral therapy is a type of counseling that helps you identify and stick to quit-smoking strategies. Combine behavioral therapy with nicotine replacement products and/or medication to boost your odds of success.
- Try and Try Again
Perseverance. As they say in Montana, get right back on the horse.
- Avoid Alcohol and Other Triggers
Certain activities may boost your urge to smoke. Alcohol is one of the most common triggers, so if you drink try to drink less when you first quit. If coffee is a trigger, switch to tea for a few weeks. And if you usually smoke after meals, find something else to do instead, like brushing your teeth or chewing gum.
- Get Moving
Physical activity can help reduce nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. Substitute a smoke break for a walk.
- Take It Hour by Hour
Don’t get overwhelmed, think about just making it through small pieces of time. Soon, all those small pieces add up to days and weeks.
- Think About The Savings
An average pack of cigarettes in Montana is $5.99, with 2% tax = $6.12. If you smoke a pack a day that would add up to $43.00 per week, $186.00 per month, or $2,228.00 per year. What else would you like to buy with that money?
- Use A Phone App
One of our members had great success using a phone app called “Smoke Free” to quit. The phone app sends you encouraging notifications, and tells you how much money you are saving. It uses humor and science, and practically makes quitting fun. More about the Smoke Free app.
What happens when you quit smoking? Would you be surprised to learn that your body begins to heal within 20 minutes, and continues to see benefits for the next 20 years? For more details about how the body heals over time, read our source: The Mind Unleashed.
People can feel very shameful of their habit. But keep in mind, the body can heal, and the mind will follow. Operating out of shame and guilt is not a healthy place. Examples of shame/guilt mindset: “I feel like I’m weak and smoking has a great hold on me;” or “I think people don’t like me because I smoke.” It’s the smoking they don’t like, not the person. In order to quit, it’s important to figure out why the payoff of smoking is greater than the desire and fortitude to quit.
Let us know in the comments below if you have a strategy that we haven’t listed.