Health

Three Tips to Taper Off Smoking

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If you’ve been wanting to give up smoking, then you’re not alone, yet often the focus is so much on giving up completely that it can feel like an insurmountable mountain that is too big to tackle.  Therefore, this post is titled “three tips to taper off smoking” as that’s exactly what you need to do.

Whilst some people prefer the approach of going cold turkey, this can have negative effects on the body and is also much harder to handle from an emotional perspective – as going from something you are used to depending on, to not having it at all, creates a psychological pull toward it as we all have a tendency to want what we can’t have… which is the reason, so often, after people detox for a couple of days, you can find them at a fast food joint or chinese takeaway.

The truth is, as with all addictive behaviours, it’s important to realise the underlying dependency issue, rather than focus merely on the action of putting a cigarette into one’s mouth.

It’s helpful to work out why you associate pleasure with smoking, as until you uncover what benefit this gives you, it’s going to be hard to stop this pattern of addictive behaviour.  The reason being, that we do everything we do for one of two reasons – either to avoid pain (e.g. getting to work on time in order to avoid the pain of being fired) or to gain pleasure (e.g. relaxation or enjoyment).

At some point in time, you will have associated pleasure with the act of smoking – it could be that you associate it with the physiological relief of tension or it could be more emotional, as often people first started smoking for social benefits – after all, many smokers say that the smoking area is the most fun and sociable part of any bar, nowadays, so if you have this association it’s going to be hard to let go of it as you associate smoking with social enjoyment.

In that vein, here are three tips on helping you taper off smoking.

  1.  CHANGE THE ASSOCIATION

If you smoke, then it means that on a deep level you must associate some form of pleasure with smoking – as otherwise you wouldn’t do it.  Now, if your brain links more pleasure than pain to a particular behaviour, you will continue to do it.

Therefore, you need to have a mental shift and change the association to the point you link more pain with smoking than pleasure – which is why most people only truly quit after a significant life event, such as having a baby or receiving a negative diagnosis.

  1. SUBSTITUTE THE ADDICTION

It can be helpful to substitute smoking cigarettes for a less damaging alternative, such as vaping or nicotine patches.  Indeed, there are all sorts of vapes to choose from, ranging from the fruity to the more hard core sounded “tiger blood e-juice”.  The point being that it can often be much easier to wean yourself off of cigarettes by substituting them for a less damaging alternative.

  1. KEEP BUSY

When giving up any addiction, it’s imperative you keep yourself busy – as the cravings will tend to hit the hardest when your mind is free to wander.  A great way to distract yourself from the cravings is to do something healthy in order to replace the behaviour – such as drinking a glass of water, or going to the gym.  Admittedly, it doesn’t sound fun but in addition to the traditional ways of keeping busy such as going to the cinema and hanging out with your friends, there are going to be times when you are alone, and that’s when the cravings tend to hit the hardest so busy yourself with something as simple as sipping water.

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