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Tips on Quitting That Bad Habit

Scott Monge

Kicking a bad habit is never easy. But smoking may be among one of the hardest to quit. It’s horrible for your health, increasing risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma and other breathing disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And most smokers know about these risks, but continue to light up anyway. Whether it’s just one or two cigarettes a day or a pack or more, habitually smoking will result in negative health effects over time. If you’re struggling with quitting, use the following tips to help ease your way out of this bad habit that affects you and those around you.

Learn to handle stress and anxiety. Manage stress, depression, fear and anxiety through healthy channels like counseling, meditation and exercise. Many people turn to smoking to help ease these feelings. So when you’re working on quitting, you need to address other ways to handle the emotions that accompany daily anxieties and heavy emotions. Find strategies for coping with tense situations to avoid temptation when things aren’t going swimmingly.

Talk to the people in your life. When you are ready to commit to kicking the habit, let other people know. Sure, you don’t want people around nagging you all the time, but when you decide to quit, tell your friends, family and coworkers. This will help keep you accountable and in check. Also, one of your friends or neighbors may have experience in quitting smoking and offer some good advice.

Curb your associated cravings. Many people smoke when they drink or after a meal. Figure out the times when you crave cigarettes the most and try to avoid these situations. If you go out for a drink, try to stick to places that don’t allow smoking. If you usually step outside for a smoke break after meals, pick another healthy habit to replace that one. Munch on fruit, a healthy dessert or chew a piece of gum to distract yourself from the habit.

Define your motivation. Why are you quitting? Is it for health reasons? Your kids? Your significant other? Having a good reason to quit will help get you on the right track. Whenever you feel tempted to have another dose of nicotine, remind yourself why you wanted to quit in the first place.

Reward yourself when you’re making good gains. One of the biggest non-health related arguments to quit smoking is the expense. Cigarettes aren’t cheap and if you’re going through a pack or more each day, this can add up to a huge amount of money. If you’re quitting, set aside the money you would normally spend on cigarettes to buy something you really want. It’s positive reinforcement for making a sound decision. You’ll be proud of yourself for quitting and be motivated to keep it up.

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