The 3 Biggest Challenges Smokers Face When Quitting and How to Overcome Them
Talk to any person who has kicked the nicotine habit for good and they will tell you how enriching it is to live a smoke-free life.
Obviously, they have become healthier people and enjoy the many other benefits of quitting (as do their family members and friends who have wanted them to quit for a long time).
However, they will also tell you that quitting the habit was one of the hardest things that they have ever had to do. Nicotine is highly addictive and something that becomes even more difficult to overcome if you live a high-stress lifestyle and have been smoking substantial amounts of cigarettes for many years.
However, no matter how hard it is to quit, it is possible, millions have people have successfully done it before, and you won’t be able to thank yourself enough when you have finally overcome the addiction.
In this post, we will take a look at three of the biggest and most common challenges that people face when they are quitting cigarettes and how you can overcome these challenges.
The Temptation That Comes From Your Smoking Social Circle
Even though we don’t think about this concept as much or even intentionally do it to people, peer pressure is just as prevalent among adults as it is among children and teens.
If you are beginning your smoke-free journey, one of the worst things that you could do to hinder your progress is continue to hang out with your smoking friends.
This doesn’t mean you have to sever the ties of your important relationships, but it does mean that you need to make sure you are nowhere to be seen when all of your cigarette smoking friends start lighting up.
Even those with the strongest willpower in the world can give into the temptation of “just a few puffs” or “just one” when they are surrounded by a group of people who are all smoking.
Do yourself a favor and set strict limitations and when you can and cannot be around your smoking friends (for example, plan to meet them for an afternoon lunch instead of at the bar for drinks where cigarette smoking will be more likely to occur).
Dealing with the Stress
The overwhelming majority of people who smoke do so as a way to relieve stress. And when their stress reliever that they have depended on for so long in such a big way gets taken away from them, they get even more stressed out.
When you quit smoking, especially in the first few days, weeks, and even months, you will probably find yourself more stressed out than normal and more prone to irritability.
Before you begin your journey of overcoming this addiction, brace yourself with the knowledge that your stress levels will go up. In addition to being aware of this fact, plan different ways you will recognize what is triggering your stress, knowing when you are stressed, and deciding what you will do to manage the stress.
For example, say you end up being stuck at the office two hours later than normal and you ended up missing an important event. You find yourself incredibly aggravated about the situation as well as guilty about missing something you were supposed to attend. It’s late at night and you are tired.
A cigarette is starting to sound pretty appealing. In this situation, you should recognize that later at night when we become more tired, we are prone to give into things more easily. In the morning, you might have been self-disciplined enough to eat a wholesome breakfast, whereas by the end of the night it is easier to give into the temptation of eating that chocolate cake.
This applies to cigarettes too. Have a plan of action for the moments that you are stressed and tempted to smoke. Go for a run. Eat something filling and healthy. Call a friend. Have a cup of coffee. Indulge in whatever it is that will help you relax.
The Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms that smokers will experience differ among every smoker. However, some of the most common ones include insomnia, a case of the blues, mood swings, jitters, restlessness, cigarette cravings, food cravings, grouchiness, anxiety, and hunger.
Just as you want to brace yourself for the extra stress that goes along with quitting, you will need to brace yourself for the symptoms. You don’t want to be blindsided when you begin to experience them. Of all the withdrawal symptoms that you will experience, the cravings for cigarettes will last the longest.
Pay attention to different “triggers” that might initiate the cravings. Triggers could be certain smells (not just the smell of cigarette smoke), memories, passing by certain places, or seeing certain people. Recognize when your cravings have been triggered. On the bright side, cigarette cravings will usually only last for about fifteen to twenty minutes which is a relatively short period of time even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Come up with a plan for how you will occupy your time and distract yourself when the cravings hit.