The best way to avoid finding yourself trapped by a desperate longing to smoke is to anticipate the feeling. Here are some techniques that have proven themselves, by examining them calmly when you do not need them you will be able to use them when the time comes.
- Treat physical dependence immediately: take fast acting medication, such as a stick of gum or a nicotine tablet that dissolves under the tongue.
- Treat physical dependence on a sustained basis: use a long-acting medication, such as the 24-hour nicotine patch, which will reduce you desire to smoke in general, including in the morning.
- Use diversions to counteract the thought immediately: the urge to smoke disappears after 3 to 5 minutes. For the diversion to be effective you should choose something that can be begun immediately you feel the withdrawal symptoms. Stretch, get up for a drink of water, eat a piece of fruit, clean your teeth, use a relaxation technique, leave the table early to clear away the dishes, play a game on your mobile phone, take a shower, etc..Do not use a diversion technique that requires preparation.
- Work on the cigarette's hold over you immediately: remind yourself of the immediate benefits of not smoking, you no longer have the bad breath of a smoker, your children are no longer breathing in the toxins from your smoke as passive smokers, your sense of smell has improved a little, you are free from the bondage of smoking, your hair and clothes no longer have the unpleasant smell of cigarette residue. Above all: congratulate yourself, if you have not smoked for a few days, say to yourself "I managed not to smoke for a few days, so why not more?" Be proud of yourself!
- Work on the cigarette's hold over you on a sustained basis: do you remember how many times you had to get back on your bike before you could ride it without falling off? Or the number of hours of driving, before you were ready to take your driving test? In any learning process actions must be repeated many times before they become automatic. Stopping smoking also follows a learning process that improves with the number of repetitions, often for three months. And then one day, we forget to crave a cigarette. Of course this 'apprenticeship' takes more time if it is constantly interrupted by nicotine withdrawal symptoms. If you manage your physical dependence with medication, you can concentrate on learning to control your psychological dependence.
- Protect yourself from relapse triggers that are in your environment: do you know that some 'traps' may increase the risk of relapse? These traps are hidden in your environment: in your home, street, transport, magazines...A study from the University of Lethbridge (Canada) showed that there are more cigarette advertisements early in the year. Why do you think this is? The authors of the study think that it is to increase the risk of relapse in people who made a New Year's resolution to quit smoking. Everything that makes you think of cigarettes increases the risk of relapse, as shown by the tobacco industry which spends millions based on this principle. It is difficult to eliminate some of the pitfalls that the industry has planted in our environment, such as advertisements in magazines, but it is possible to eliminate the pitfalls in our private environment, like an ashtray in the living room, a lighter on the bedside table or a packet of cigarettes in the car, etc. The tobacco industry is already at work planting triggers in your environment, it is not the time to add more!