At this time of the year people are thinking of how they can improve their overall health and one of the biggest ways that you can do this, if you are a smoker, is by trying to stop smoking.
Dr. Chris Steele has done some extensive and ground-breaking work on smoking cessation over the years, and it all started when a patient of his, came to him and asked for help:
“Doctor as you know I’ve recently had a heart attack and the cardiologist told me… I must give up smoking. I’ve tried and tried but I just can’t give up cigarettes for more than a couple of days. Is there anything you can do to help me?”
Most of his medical colleagues, though aware that smoking was causing a lot of illness, were simply telling their patients to give up smoking, but not offering any more practical help in doing so. Smoking is clearly more than a habit, it is an addiction and people were expected to stop smoking on the advice from their doctors, yet they experienced severe withdrawal effects when they tried to stop.
Here are a few tips that could help you take the huge step to a healthier future:
- Start a diary to track how you feel at each stage. This will help you figure out what triggers your need for a cigarette in your daily life – a stressful situation at work; a glass of wine out with friends; or sitting at home watching the television can all trigger your desire to smoke. By identifying these trigger situations & noting them down, you can try to find other ways to satisfy the feelings.
- Change your daily routine. If you find that you always go for a smoke when you pop out for lunch at work, take a sandwich instead so that you are not tempted when you go out. Try replacing your morning coffee and cigarette with a glass of fresh orange juice.
- Involve your family & friends in the journey. It is important for your loved ones to know what you are going through and to ensure they are supportive of your journey. Let them know your goals so they can help when you are struggling & congratulate you along the way.
- Choose a quit date to stop smoking. This will help you mentally prepare for the first day of your new regime. Also set yourself a realistic timeline and maybe, rather than stopping all at once, start by reducing the amount you smoke for example.
- Speak to your GP, pharmacist or healthcare professional for some help. You may also find online resources helpful such as NHS Choices Smoke-free page.
- Don’t take on too much. It can be tempting to try a whole-scale “Get Fit” regime but you really should focus on stopping smoking as your only resolution and concentrate solely on it.
Finally, if you do lapse, don’t worry, just see it as a little hurdle and carry on going.
To read more about stopping smoking, click on the link to our earlier article: