Even if you’re not ready to quit cold turkey, or have tried and failed to quit with many other methods, you can start a healthier future by learning to replace smoking. Replacement is the easy way to quit. Instead of trying to change your psychology or your daily rhythm so that there’s no desire for what smoking gives you, or no room for smoking in your routine, when you replace smoking with another behavior, you get to keep living and thinking the way you do now. The only change you’ll have to make is learning to substitute a healthier habit instead of sucking down cancer sticks. This is a new take on a tactic that recovering alcoholics have employed for years: first you switch from liquor to coffee, then from coffee to water, and before you know it you’ve replaced a damaging addiction with a healthy behavior that is great for your body. You can replace smoking with a healthier habit just by following these simple steps.
Why Do You Smoke?
Discovering why you smoke is one of the keys to finding a successful way to replace smoking. To make a substitution with staying power, you’ll need one that satisfies the same needs that smoking satisfies- minus the tar, nicotine, and expense! If you smoke primarily to keep your mouth busy, you may want to try chewing gum, carrot sticks, or celery. If none of these sound appealing, treat yourself by eating skittles or m&ms for a week, then weaning to something healthier. After a week, your nicotine cravings will have dwindled so you won’t need your replacement habit to be as appealing. If you smoke to keep your hands busy, take up knitting, or even learn sign language so you’ll always have something to practice when your hands are idle. If you smoke for social reasons, try to find something fun to replace smoking with: blowing bubbles or doing coin tricks are just as good for starting conversations as smoking is, and you won’t be giving your new friends secondhand cancer! Whatever the reason is that keeps you smoking, with a little bit of imagination you can find another, healthier way to satisfy that need.
When Do You Smoke?
Most people smoke when they are tired or worn out, and need a break that will give them a shot of energy so that they can return to the task at hand with greater focus. If this sounds like you, replace smoking with another kind of stimulant. Smoking does give you a jolt, and one of the reasons why it’s hard to quit smoking is that cigarettes get your heart racing and your blood flowing, giving you an instant energy boost. When you quit smoking, your body misses these little kicks throughout the day, and you start to feel listless and tired. Luckily, you can replace smoking with another habit that gives you a blast of energy when you need it most. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, reach for a mint that has a dose of caffeine: caffeinated mint brands like Penguin Mints are rapidly gaining popularity, but if you can’t find them in your area, you can get them online from Amazon (see link at the end of this article). You can also replace smoking with a natural energy boost: exercise. Two or three minutes of cardiovascular, aerobic exercise, or five to ten minutes of gentle stretching will give your system a bolt of energy while improving your health, so try running up a flight of stairs or around the block, dancing to a favorite song, or doing a relaxing, invigorating full-body stretch. When you replace smoking with one of these activities, you’ll combat the fatigue that often goes hand in hand with kicking the butts out of your life, and you’ll build a healthier new body to go with your new smoke-free lifestyle.