How to Manage Cravings
The urge to smoke will come and go. There are people, places, things, and situations that may trigger the urge to smoke. How are you going to handle it?
Identify Smoking Triggers
Everyone who smokes has smoking triggers. Knowing your triggers helps you stay in control. At first, you might want to avoid triggers all together. After staying quit for awhile, you may be able to find other ways to handle your triggers. Here are some common smoking triggers:
- Feeling stressed
- Feeling down
- Talking on the phone
- Drinking alcohol
- Watching TV
- Finishing a meal
- Taking a work break
- Going to a bar
- Seeing someone else smoke
- Cooling off after a fight
- Feeling lonely
- After having sex
- Drinking coffee
Plan How to Handle Cravings
You won’t be able to avoid all smoking triggers, so it’s important to make a plan for how to handle cravings. Remember, cravings typically last 5 to 10 minutes. It might be uncomfortable, but try to wait it out. Make a list of things you can do to distract yourself, like:
- Call or text someone. You don’t have to do this alone, lean on the people you trust to distract you. Or call 1-877-44U-QUIT to talk to an expert (for free) about quitting smoking.
- Wait 15 minutes. Challenge yourself to read a magazine, listen to music, or play your favorite game for 15 minutes. Cravings only last a few minutes!
- Take a walk or jog. Don’t have time? Go up and down the stairs a few times. Physical activity, even in short bursts, can help boost your energy and beat a craving.
- Review your reason for quitting. Just one puff will feed your craving and make it stronger. Starve the craving by reminding yourself why you want to be smokefree.
- Go to a smokefree zone. Most public places don’t allow smoking. Go to a movie, a store, or any other smokefree public place where you’re forced not to smoke.
- Calculate your savings. Cigarettes are expensive. Add up all the money you’re saving and decide what you’re going to buy with it.
- Keep your mouth busy. Bum a stick of gum instead of a cigarette, or keep hard candy with you. Drinking water also works!
- Do something else. When a craving hits, stop what you’re doing immediately and do something else. Simply changing your routine can help you shake off a craving.
- Take deep breaths. Breathe through your craving by inhaling (through your nose) and exhaling (through your mouth). Repeat this 10 time or until you’re feeling more relaxed.
Cravings will come and go. Remember, trying something to beat the urge to smoke is always better than not trying anything. Do what works best for you when a craving hits. Just don’t smoke. Not even one puff!
Written information used with permission from SmokeFree.gov
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