How to Handle Cravings after You Quit Smoking

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How is your quit coming along?

 

How many days have you gone without a cigarette?

 

And how many cigarette cravings have you survived?

 

Cravings can be physical, mental, or emotional, and they come and go whether you have a cigarette or not. Physical cravings for nicotine are part of losing the addiction, and they tend to go away in about a week if you quit smoking cold turkey.

 

If you use nicotine replacement therapy, it should take care of your physical cravings, giving you a chance to heal the mental and emotional urges.

 

Mental cravings come from the habit of smoking. After rising in the morning, after meals, and while driving are typical times you feel a mental craving.

 

Smoking is as much a habit as an addiction, and what makes quitting so challenging is that you must deal with both the addiction and the habit to be successful.

 

Emotional cravings aren’t always easy to distinguish from mental cravings, but they occur when you’re upset, stressed out, or unhappy. This happens because stress triggers a cigarette craving to help you feel better.

 

You think you’re alleviating the stress, but you cause your body more stress by smoking.

 

Almost every occasion and feeling can trigger a craving, especially for the first year. Shortly, you’ll experience your first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and first New Year’s Eve as a nonsmoker.

 

The cravings will come, but as you move forward in your quit, they will become easier to handle.

 

Remember that cigarette cravings go away if you don’t think about them. They will persist if you focus on them. When you feel a craving, the best thing to do is stop whatever you’re doing and move to another area.

 

It’s best to have a plan ready when cravings hit so you can stop what you’re doing and distract yourself quickly and easily. A simple way to do this is to choose an area in your home you rarely or never smoked in.

 

Plan to move to this spot, and keep a box full of mouth distractions and activities you can do to get through the craving. Try filling the box with sugar-free candy, cinnamon sticks or toothpicks, puzzle books, video games, or whatever you enjoy doing that won’t trigger you to smoke.

 

Don’t forget to keep filtered water on hand to keep your body hydrated.

 

Just be certain that your “goody box” doesn’t have anything in it that reminds you of smoking.

 

Now for a little tough talk about cravings—you may feel that you can have a cigarette “just this once” to get by.

 

You can’t.

 

You’re trying to quit smoking, not merely reduce smoking. When you smoke, your quit ends, and you must start over, which is harder than abstaining—especially if you’ve been smoke-free for a week or more.

 

Most of the people we help to quit smoking try several times before they truly stop cigarettes for good. If they could curb their cravings more quickly and effectively, they might need only a couple of quit attempts before they’re successful.

 

Quitting smoking shouldn’t be taken lightly—it’s one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health. Don’t let yourself think about having cigarettes, because eventually you will.

 

This addiction is tough, but you don’t have to be tough to beat it. If you play smart, you’ll win. Contact us today to find out how.

 

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