What Can You Do When You Feel the Urge to Smoke?
When you first quit tobacco, you may feel yourself consumed with one thought and one thought alone: which is the urge to smoke. But if you really think about it, you’ll realize that most of our cravings only last for around three to five minutes. They first come on strong and then gradually decrease until they’re finally gone.
The best way to reduce smoking is to deal with nicotine cravings one by one as they come. Taking this approach will force you to interrupt your thought pattern as soon as the craving hits you. You just need to be able to shift gears and do something completely different for a few minutes.
Once you change your focus, you can redirect your focus from the physical cravings and psychological cravings so that you won’t allow it to consume your thoughts.
Types of Cigarette Cravings
In your early days of smoking cessation, there are two types of cravings that you experience:
- Physical cravings – You can physically feel your body’s reaction to nicotine withdrawal. You experience physical cravings when there is a tightness in your throat or belly that is accompanied by feelings of anxiety or tension.
- Psychological cravings – These cravings are triggered by everyday events that occur in our life. If you smoke, you’re most likely to develop many urges that signal the need to smoke a cigarette. You probably light up whenever you face stress or smoke while drinking, driving, eating or socializing. When you quit smoking, those subconscious cues trigger profound urges.
Tips to Conquer your Cravings and Quit Smoking
- Call a friend
Are you in distress? If so, why go through it alone? Take a few minutes to call and connect with a friend who cares about you. This way, your spirits will be lifted and your mind will get distracted from any thoughts of feeling the urge to smoke.
Moreover, sharing your feelings with a friend or loved one will make them part of the solution and if you quit smoking, their spirits will be lifted up too.
- Drink a tall glass of water
You can get extremely dehydrated during the course of the day and not realize it. When this happens, chances are that you’ll be triggered by feelings of anxiety which in turn make you feel the urge to smoke. Most of the time, dehydration is confused by cravings so if a craving suddenly strikes you, try drinking a tall glass of water.
- Eat a healthy snack
When there is a drop in your blood sugar levels, you may feel a stronger urge to smoke. You might not even be able to tell if you’re actually craving sugar or craving tobacco. If you ever find yourself in this situation, try indulging in a healthy snack. Enjoy a cup of yogurt, eat a fruit or grab a nutritious snack such as a slice of brown bread with peanut butter on a couple of saltines.
Try to avoid foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats such as baked goods, chips and candy bars. These snacks can send your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride and make cravings worse.
- Go for a walk
By sitting still, you will only bottle up your emotions and feel more miserable. Get up and go for a walk around the block. Make sure to take some deep breaths.
You could even try another technique called belly breathing (breathing with your diaphragm rather than your chest). It allows you to get more air in and out of your lungs and it even helps in easing your physical symptoms of craving.
- Go to a smoke-free location
Being around smokers will only trigger your cigarette cravings. Therefore, always make sure to go to a smoke-free location. For example, when someone lights a cigarette, change your location. If a smoker is standing next to you, keep a distance between that person and you.
- Have a portable hobby
Having a portable hobby is all about distracting your mind. Find something that you enjoy doing such as solving a crossword puzzle, knitting or crocheting, or reading a few pages from a novel. This way you can keep your hands busy and away from cigarettes.
Try to avoid playing action-packed video games as this activity raises blood pressure and causes anxiety or excitement. These emotions can trigger you to smoke.
- List your reasons for quitting
List your reasons for quitting by weighing the pros and cons. This way, you will see that there are more consequences than benefits when it comes to quitting smoking. Never forget why you began this journey and what you need to do in order to succeed.
Make this habit every time you get a tobacco trigger hit. You will be able to see how much progress you are making.
- Practice gratitude
Always practice gratitude by taking a moment to reflect on all of the things in your life that you’re grateful for. This will help pull you out of a slump and renew your motivation.
It’s important to constantly remind yourself that:
“A craving is a call, not a command”
You should always focus on the people and things that matter in your life; your family, your friends, and your future. You can always quit smoking. Just keep positive. You will eventually get there with time.