Getting support from the important people in your life can make a big difference as your quit. In fact, two out of five former smokers felt that support from others mattered a lot in their success. Remember that you are not in this alone. Your friends and family are there for you, in both good times and bad.
Follow these 12 tips to get the support you need:
1. Surround Yourself with People You Trust
Think of the people you trust the most—people you can talk to about anything and who have been there for you when you needed them. They could be friends, significant others, parents, co-workers, or other family members. Whoever they are, spend more time with them.
Tip: Bring friends along for your daily activities. Grab lunch with a friend, get a group together to go shopping, or meet up at a sporting event.
2. Focus on People Who Can Help
If a friendship doesn’t feel right anymore, it might be time to let it go. Don’t be afraid to try a little distance with people who aren’t giving you the support you need. Letting go can be hard, but it is sometimes for the best.
Tip: Focus your energy on spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself and want you to succeed.
3. Invest in Your Relationships
Make a point to invest time and effort in important relationships. People are more willing to provide support when they know you are there for them. You will also feel more comfortable calling on them for support if the relationship is strong.
Tip: Go to that movie your friend really wants to see, even if it’s not your top choice. Or go out of your way to call a friend just to chat and see how things are going.
4. Ask for Help
You might like to solve problems on your own, but the truth is we all need a little help from time to time. Go ahead and ask the people you trust. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. Your true friends will be there, ready and willing to help.
Tip: Not sure how to ask? Send a text or email to get the conversation started (e.g., I want to quit smoking. Can you help me?). Know an ex-smoker? Ask them why and how they quit.
5. Be Specific About Your Wants
Your friends and family won’t always be able to predict what you need during your quit. Be specific about what support you want (and don’t want). Try to be nice about it. They are just trying to do what is best for you.
Tip: Feeling stressed after a long day at work and craving a cigarette? Tell a friend and ask them to help plan a smokefree night out to distract you.
6. Say Thank You
Don’t let acts of kindness go unnoticed. Tell your friends you appreciate them, whether you speak it, text it, or show it with your actions. Saying thanks doesn’t take a lot of time, so do it in the moment before you forget.
Tip: Have a friend who gave up their last piece of gum to help you beat a cigarette craving? Buy some gum and give it to them with a note that says, “Thanks for helping me stay quit!”
7. Avoid Stressful Situations
Steer clear of the things that add unneeded stress to your day and look for more positive things to do.
Tip: Identify what stresses you out and come up with ways to deal with that stress. Stress can make you feel like you want to smoke. Ask friends and family to be aware of your stressors. They can help make your life easier during your quit.
8. Grow Your Social Circle
Give your social circle a boost by connecting with other people who share your interests. Start by thinking about the things you like to do. Then look for ways to get more involved in them. Get talking with the people around you, and chances are, you’ll find you have stuff in common.
Tip: Strike up a conversation with someone new at work, join an intramural sport league, or volunteer. You never know who you will meet!
9. Be Approachable
How you present yourself to others is a big part of branching out and strengthening friendships. Make yourself approachable by making eye contact when talking with others. Smile. Sit and stand straight. Give compliments. People will be drawn to your confidence and positive attitude.
Tip: Say hi and smile to co-workers as you pass them at work, compliment a family member on how great their shirt looks, or tell your friend you like their new haircut.
10. Be Hands-on
Don’t wait around for others to come to you. Create opportunities to spend time with friends by suggesting things to do. Join in conversations and give your opinion.
Tip: Reach out to the people you care about. Have lunch with a co-worker or friend. Invite friends over to your place for a game night.
Listening is a great way to strengthen and build friendships. Get people to open up by asking questions that can’t be answered in just one word, like yes or no. Let them talk. Resist the urge to interrupt with your own comments and stories.
Tip: Are your friend’s eyes glazing over when you talk? Take a breath and give them a chance to say something. Ask what they think of a new song you heard or if they have any plans for the weekend.
12. Support Others
Support is a two-way street. If you want others to be there for you, you have to be there for them, too. Check in with your friends and help them out when you can. Sometimes small favors mean the most.
Tip: Do something small to brighten someone’s day. Make a friend smile by emailing or texting them a joke, get someone a small treat for their birthday, or call a family member to see how they are doing.
Written information used with permission from SmokeFree.gov
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