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Why Do I Smoke More When I’m Trying to Quit Smoking?

Trying to quit smoking is never an easy task.  Most smokers have tried numerous attempts to quit the fags for good, and been disappointed when the quit never happens or never lasts.

For some smokers various stop smoking products work, but there is still a large portion of smokers that just cannot achieve the total and final quit of the fags.

If this sounds like you, you can most likely relate to the dreaded, sinking feeling of telling every one you failed and finding yourself being nagged at or reprimanded by friends and loved ones.

This in itself can turn the already disappointed individual into a secret smoker, always darting off for a quick puff at a chosen hiding place, and returning to friends smelling of perfume and peppermints, just to avoid the punishing treatment.

It’s important to note, and yes you will have heard it all before – That to successfully give up smoking, you really have to want to.  This is true – BUT, many fail to give up smoking regardless of what medications or supplements they have tried no matter how much they want to give up. In fact some on the desperate trail of…

Trying to Quit Smoking…

End Up Smoking More!

If this sounds like you – you are not alone.  Smoking more or wanting to smoke more cigarettes when you are trying to quit is more common than you think.  This is largely due to smoking not just being an addiction, but also being a psychological habit.

While there are various medications & supplements to help take the edge off the physical nicotine addiction side of things and support lines to call when the cravings get too much to cope with,  the psychological aspect of quitting is not always fully addressed.

The psychological aspect refers to the dependence you have on smoking.  Smoking becomes a crutch or like a friend to many smokers.

While seeing a cigarette as a friend may initially seem outlandish, when you look further into this scenario, it actually makes a lot of sense.

When most smokers feel happy, sad, alone, angry, excited, bored, scared, nervous etc, the first thing that is reached for, is usually a cigarette.

When a non smoker experiences the same emotions their first reaction may be to reach for a phone to call a friend.

Therefore, when the smoker no longer has the smokes, it is understandable there may also be a sense of grief and loss to deal with.

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 Tips to Combat Smoking More – When Trying to
QUIT Smoking

(These tips are based on the mind set of the smoker and the triggers that make it difficult to quit)

It is important to – Recognize the Triggers that make you want to have a cigarette.  By recognizing what your triggers to smoke are – You can then take steps to change/reverse your ways of thinking.

The mind and the thoughts we have can be very powerful, so working out your triggers before your quit date works best.

A few weeks before your planned quit day, start a list or journal on what your triggers are.  When you start this list you will most likely already know what a lot of your triggers are, but you will also be surprised how many more triggers you have when you focus more on – when you smoke.

What triggers one person to smoke may not trigger another person to smoke, so this list is an important task to do.

When you have done your list – Write down possible ways or activities you can do to defuse the trigger.  Below are some common triggers to smoke and ways that may help you to over come them.

I love to have a cigarette soon after I wake up

Many a smoker jumps out of bed quickly, eager for that morning fix, but once the smokes are gone this can easily turn into a sinking dread of waking up.

  • Finding something else to get that eagerness to jump out of bed in the morning is crucial at the start the day.  Jumping into the shower as soon as you get up will not only refresh you, it is also hard to want to smoke in the shower.

    Going for a run or a brisk walk as soon as you get up can help to take your mind away from this sinking feeling.

    You will be surprised just how quickly you will begin to enjoy the fresh air and extra energy you have.  Being active like this increases your feel-good endorphins.  If you are unable to go outdoors, various exercises like aerobics, yoga, stretch or work out DVD’s are also beneficial.

No meal is complete without a cigarette afterward

This thought could be changed to ‘No meal is complete without mouth freshener afterward’.

  • Eat slowly – Most smokers rush through a meal, particularly when on a busy schedule, in order to rush out for that cigarette.

    Focusing on and increasing the number of chews before swallowing can help take your mind off that old routine, as well as reduce extra food consumption that is often associated with quitting smoking – Tips to Avoid Excessive Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking

  • The coldness of Ice or drinks made of ice can help take away that urge of wanting that after meal smoke.  A few puffs of mouth freshener can also give you a feel good feeling, and also gives a strong draw back effect similar to the draw back feeling of a cigarette.

Tea, Coffee, Alcohol Drinks

If you are like most smokers these drinks will act as triggers many times through-out your day.  Changing the type of drinks you have can help reduce the trigger.

  • Replace caffeinated tea with herbal tea or making a lemon drink by adding the juice of half a lemon to a cup of hot water.  The acidic/sour taste of a fresh hot lemon drink is also good for defusing the craving to smoke, and also helps to speed up your metabolism.

    Replacing coffee with hot chocolate, as well as drinking more water through-out the day can also help to defuse the urge for a cigarette.

    Have your drink in a different location so you don’t associate it with smoking eg: If you used to have your drink at the kitchen table, have it in the bedroom or lounge instead.

I might stress-out too much if I QUIT smoking

There is no doubt that quitting smoking is going to be stressful at various points of your journey, whether it is stress from missing the cigarettes or everyday stresses.  Having an action plan ready for this before your quit date is crucial.

  • If possible, have a friend to call at these times.  If you don’t have a friend to call upon, try joining a quit group in your community or online.
  • Exercise is one of the best stress relievers around and will also help prevent weight gain.  As mentioned earlier, it promotes the feel good endorphins.

    The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy.  This may include walking, climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting, stretch routine, aerobics, swimming or doing some spring cleaning around the house.

  • Adding meditation to your daily routine is another bonus.  Meditation is known to calm the body and mind enabling you to cope better with stress.  It may seem hard to sit quietly while trying to focus on meditative music, but the more you do it the easier it will become.

In General

  • As smoking in the physical sense is very much a hands and mouth habit, finding activities to do to keep your hands busy is also a necessity when quitting the cigarettes.

    Starting a hobby such as knitting, playing digital or board games or holding a squeeze ball are some ideas. Chewing on sugarless gum, sweets or fresh vegetables such as raw carrot sticks is good for keeping the mouth busy without adding too many calories.

  • Avoid spicy and sugary foods as they have a tendency to make people crave cigarettes more.
  • If you find yourself bored at home and your cravings are high, but you don’t feel like doing exercise – jumping in the shower works wonders.  Give yourself some pampering.  After all, you deserve it for becoming smoke free.

The first few days to weeks are the hardest when trying to quit smoking.  During this time try to have full days of activities organised to help with your transition into being a non smoker.

Make sure your days are filled with activities or places that won’t associate you with where you used to smoke.  As the days turn into weeks your cravings will be less frequent and less intense.

Article written by Wen Dee

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