1. Set your ‘quit date’ and then stick to it (this would be the second session if you are coming to me for help). Make it sooner rather than later. If you are quitting by yourself, I recommend that just before you stop smoking completely on your quit date you try smoking another brand for at least a few days as they just won’t seem as enjoyable. You could also try smoking non stop for a while until you get to the point that it disgusts you and you just don’t want to do it anymore – then remember that feeling everytime you get the urge later to smoke a single cigarette.
2. Get as much support as you can from family, friends and work colleagues. Let them know you are planning to quit and tell them your quit date. Ask smokers not to smoke around you or to offer you cigarettes or encourage you to start smoking again. Ask people to be on your side, to change the subject if smoking ever comes up and not to say things like “sure one won’t hurt you” or “you look like you could do with a cigarette!”
3. On the big day, throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters and anything else that might remind you of smoking. I would advise you not to use nicotine patches or gum – that’s like trying to give up alcohol by continuing to drink it! (Many patch users also end up wearing the patches and smoking anyway). Wash your clothes and clean your car to remove the smell of stale smoke. The smell can sometimes take a week or two to completely go.
4. Your ‘official’ nicotine detox will take three days. During this time, cut down the amount of tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks you consume, and remember that ice cream and other foods can contain caffeine so do check the labels. And at least four times a day, drink fresh fruit juice or eat fresh fruit instead. The natural fruit sugars ‘Fructose’ will stop your blood sugars from crashing badly – and avoid those dreaded extreme mood swings! Also go for regular daily short walks to stretch your lungs.
5. Plan ahead for situations when you are likely to be tempted to smoke, such as parties, drinking or going out for a meal. Try to avoid these situations in the early stages of quitting or until you feel much stronger. You may find it helpful to hold something like a pen in your hand when you’re talking, even when on the phone.
6. Some people find chewing regular minty gum helpful, it also helps keep your mouth feeling fresh. Drink fresh water throughout the day as dehydration causes cravings.
7. Write down all the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking in the first place, and then carry them with you in case you need reminding!
8. Remember to keep the following ’4 Ds’ in mind if you have a craving.
Delay: remember that the very worst cravings last for only a few minutes and will become even less frequent the longer you have quit.
Deep breathe: this should help you relax and focus your mind on something else. Long, slow and deep.
Drink water: it is a good idea to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the nicotine and other toxins out of your system.
Do something else: change your focus, move, stretch, do something different……you could go for a walk, to the movies or visit a supportive friend. Try eating some fresh fruit or cleaning your teeth when you would normally have a cigarette. You could hold something else, such as a pen or a keyring, to replace the need to hold a cigarette, or chew some normal gum or eat or drink a healthy snack to have something other than a cigarette in your mouth.
9. If you drink a lot of coffee, you may also want to cut down on your coffee in-take as you will retain more caffeine when there is no nicotine in your system. Feeling jittery will not help your plan to quit. It may also be best to avoid alcohol as many people find it hard to resist smoking when they drink. It can take time and practice to learn how to drink as a non-smoker. Easy does it.
10. Pat yourself on the pack for each minute, hour, day, week and month you are a non-smoker. Put aside the money you would have spent on smoking and use this to treat yourself.
And of course, if you find it hard to go it alone, then do give me a call to discuss my Stop Smoking with Hypnotherapy 3 Step Programme.