7 Ways to Manage Triggers When You Quit Smoking
Many of us are familiar with the warnings about smoking, especially that long-term use can damage the increase our risk of developing cancer, but female smokers deal with unique challenges when attempting to quit the habit. That’s because they often smoke for different reasons than males, and their brain responds differently to nicotine withdrawal triggers.
Pharmacy Times discussed the differences in the effects of smoking on females compared to males. Despite men outnumbering women – 19 percent vs 14.7 percent – and the fact that females are more likely to state a quit attempt than males, females were found to be less successful at quitting the habit. In clinical trials, a pooled analysis discovered that females taking the placebo were 50 percent less likely to curb smoking than males.
Precise reasons for lower quit rates are unclear; however, it is a universal fact that females require less time to become addicted after initial consumption of tobacco. Also, hormonal changes during certain phases of menstruation are said to enhance cravings and deepen withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, women experience different barriers and stressors to quitting, including greater weight gain concerns, increased nonpharmacologic motives for smoking, educational differences, and higher odds of depression.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage these triggers and quit smoking indefinitely. Here’s what you can do to end this vicious circle of addiction.
1. Gradually Reduce Nicotine Intake with Alternatives
Here’s the kicker; the real truth is that stopping smoking isn’t an easy task; it requires dedication and willpower, and alternatives can facilitate that. The best thing about alternatives like e-liquid is that they enable you to minimize your nicotine intake while delivering an experience that closely matches to what you have with traditional cigarettes. Also, exposure to toxic substances from these alternatives is most often lower than from conventional cigarettes. Lastly, e-juices come in a variety of flavors (strawberry, vanilla, tobacco, etc.), so there’s something for every individual’s preference and personality.
2. Get the Right Prescriptions
The most popular version of these function by inhibiting dopamine reuptake or by targeting your brain’s receptors. For instance, Bupropion is a subscription that works to lessen concentration and irritability problems. It could also reduce the urge to binge eat while you make an effort to quit smoking. Those suffering from triggers need to get these from their physicians. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician and remember to keep your smoking log with you. It will not only be useful information for your healthcare provider but will demonstrate that you’re serious about wanting to drop the habit.
3. Surround Yourself with Supportive Individuals
Your ability to stop smoking forever will be a lot easier to sustain if you’re surrounded by a supportive individual who is currently experiencing the same trigger or has gone through the process in the past. Family and friends can be supportive, but they may not fully understand what quitting means to you, especially if they’ve never experienced the triggers or smoked. You can do a Google search for smoking cessation support groups. Or, join ex-smoker groups within your community and online on channels such as Facebook and Reddit.
4. Follow a Well-Balanced Diet
Nicotine withdrawal is uncomfortable for most quitters. You can expect that you’re going to replace the habit of lighting up a cigarette with a substitute, such as snacking. The solution is not to go overboard with the wrong food choices. The body works hard to eliminate toxins during the withdrawal phase, and that requires energy. Select foods that offer high-quality fuel and avoid intake of empty calories in the form of junk food. Additionally, quitters are strictly advised against meal skipping. Skipped dinner usually means more snacks too, something that has to be avoided. Incorporate fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, and organic vegetables into your diet.
5. Start Exercising
Incorporating some exercise into your daily routine will improve both your physical outlook and mental health, especially as you go through nicotine withdrawal. Physical activity helps you manage mood swings and urges that are common during this phase as it instructs your body to release the feel-good hormone endorphin. On top of that, it ensures you’re not stressing about weight gain, a factor that encourages many female smokers to continue with cigarettes. If it’s been a while since you exercised, check with your healthcare provider to ensure there aren’t any hindrances. Think of physical activity as a tool that you’re using to fight back cravings to smoke and battle the temporary weight gain that may follow after smoking cessation.
6. Change Your Perspective
A change in perspective can rejuvenate the mind of ex-smokers. It is the shift in thinking from considering smoking cessation as an activity in deprivation to understanding that it is, in fact, one of the greatest blessings you’ve been showered with. This is a vital step in the process of managing the triggers from nicotine addiction, and it is with this mindset that many begin seeing their quit-related depression symptoms start to lift. Hence, honor that daily effort you’re putting in to be nicotine free by relaxing or pampering yourself with a favorite activity of yours at least once a day.
7. Get a Grip On Your Emotions
You can’t just wake up and hide from a trigger, but there are several things you can do to make your day better. For instance, those trying to divert their mind away from nicotine withdrawal symptoms can go on a mini-vacation. Ideally, it should be a location where you feel safe and calm. For some women, it is near the mountains or by the beach. Or it might be sitting in your own backyard. Shut your eyes for a moment and imagine what would you experience if you’re there: how would you behave, act, etc.
By taking these measures, you’d be in a better position to manage the triggers associated with quitting the habit of smoking. Take out a moment to analyze your own self, you probably have many capabilities already, and you can use them along with these advises when cravings come up.