The 4 Ds
The 4 Ds are a simple and effective way that you can manage cravings when they strike. Try them and see which ones work for you. Whilst smoking is about addiction, a large part of it is about habit as well. Breaking the cycle of those habits that accompany your smoking will help.
You may think that a craving to smoke will just grow and grow until it becomes too much however the science shows that cravings last for a few minutes and then subside. When you first start your quit attempt, the cravings will come back regularly. Usually, you’d light up but when quitting you just need to Delay lighting up, you’ll then find the cravings subsides. To help with the delay, use your nicotine replacement therapy or vape. Also, you need to make it harder to smoke so get rid of any cigarettes, tobacco, lighters, ash trays and anything that reminds you of smoking. If you get a craving, without cigarettes or lighters it will make it much harder to light up and easier to stay stopped.
Deep breathing helps to relax your mind and tensed muscles. Remember, cigarettes do not de-stress you, they distress you by keeping you hooked into the cycle of craving and addiction. When your brain can’t have the nicotine it craves, it becomes a bit stressed by this but you can overcome this stress with techniques like deep breathing and meditation or mindfulness. As a smoker, you already use this technique. When you are stressed, you go light a cigarette and inhale it deeply. You can still practice this when quitting smoking just without the cigarette in your mouth.
This sounds too simple to be effective but it certainly works for some people. Drinking will keep your mouth occupied whilst providing you with the essential ingredient that helps to lubricate joints, keep you energised and ensure your kidneys are functioning well. Most of us don’t get enough water, so increasing your water intake is a positive step towards better health which in turn can help you to feel better about stopping smoking. You could set an alarm on your phone to take a few sips every half an hour until it becomes a habit.
Do something else
If a craving arises, change what you’re doing. If you’re sat watching telly and get a craving, get up and go for a walk, wash the dishes, do a puzzle, literally anything else that is different to what you were doing when the craving arose. What times or activities do you find lead to cravings. Is it first thing upon waking? If you’d normally light up in bed then get up. Is it when you have a cup of coffee? Swap the coffee for a different drink? Is it when you’re watching telly and the ad breaks come on? Then wash the dishes, or do a puzzle. Stopping smoking is about breaking the cycle of your usual habits. When stopping smoking, smoking isn’t the only thing you will be changing.