Cravings For Cigarettes- How Not To Fall For Them?

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1) Understand the nature of your cravings. When you're trying to quit smoking, it helps to understand exactly what is causing those irritating cravings. Nicotine is a powerful chemical that stimulates all the pleasure impulses in your brain. When your brain detects that it has not received its regular dose of nicotine, you are bound to feel the effects. As many lifelong smokers know, even if you just recently smoked (and thus, your brain does not detect a lack of nicotine), the urge to light up again can be triggered by any number of things. Even if you just happen to detect the smell of cigarettes, this could be enough to trigger an intense craving.

 If you're trying to quit smoking, it's important to avoid any environments that you suspect or know will trigger these cravings. Pay close attention to your particular triggers. Write it down: make a list of all the things you suspect make you want to crave cigarettes. Just being aware of your triggers will help you overcome them.

2) Avoid stress. The best way to beat your cravings is to avoid them in the first place. Most people reach for their lighters and cigarettes at moments of stress. Try your best to avoid excessive emotional and physical stress as you quit smoking. Don't take on extra work assignments, and try to minimize stress in your personal life. Even a few simple changes in your everyday routine can help you avoid round-the-clock cravings.

3) Set up your own support network. Tell friends and family of your intention to quit smoking, and enlist them to operate as your personal support network. When the cravings hit, call or visit someone in your support network. Try to have at least one designated person whom you can call at almost any time. Ideally, this individual would be a past smoker who has successfully quit, and who can lend you with valuable advice and comfort.

4) Go for walk, or a jog. Getting your heart pumping and your body moving can be an excellent distraction when you feel a craving coming on. Although you may not feel it at first, the exercise will stimulate your brain to release those feel-good chemicals endorphins.

5) Chew gum, eat an apple. Many smokers are so used to having something to put in their mouth that the absence of cigarettes can feel excruciatingly obvious. That old stand-by chewing gum is easy to carry, and helps compensate for the lack of cigarettes. Another good, healthy choice is to carry an apple or other easy-to-carry snack, and chew on it whenever your nicotine cravings strike.

6) Put your hands into action. Putting your hands into motion when a craving strikes you is another way to simulate the act of smoking, thereby reducing the intensity of your craving. Think of things you like to do that involve a physical activity you do with your hands. If you like to knit, draw, or do jigsaw puzzles, put your hands to use when you feel a craving coming on.

7) Practice deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. Deep breathing is one of the best things you can do to help diminish the anxiety that accompanies most cravings. Simply sit in a quiet location, place your hand over your abdominal muscles, and take a long deep breath. As you inhale, you should imagine the air traveling all the way to the pit of your stomach, and you should let your stomach expand. Hold the breath for three seconds, then slowly release.

8) Set the clock and wait it out. If all else fails, look at your clock or watch and wait the craving out. How long do most cravings last? Researchers have found that most intense cravings are actually quite short in duration, lasting on average between three to five minutes. While looking at the clock, try repeating a calming mantra, such as "I can go three minutes without smoking," or "This craving will soon pass."