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Making Positive Changes in Your Life After Quitting Smoking

Topic Overview

Below are some of the most common and helpful strategies people use to get through the tough period of nicotine withdrawal.

  • Make a list of your smoking triggers. It is wiser to avoid triggers after you have quit smoking than to tempt yourself too soon. If you cannot avoid them early on, be cautious when they are present.
  • Identify areas and activities where you are least likely to smoke, and use them when you have the urge to smoke. Add these alternatives to your smoking tracker.
  • Pursue a new hobby, check out a book from the library on a topic that interests you, or take a class at the community college.
  • Start some new physical activity. Exercise might help you quit smoking. It doesn't take long after you stop smoking before you will notice that you can breathe more easily when you walk, jog, swim, or ride a bike. For tips on starting an exercise program and eating right, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.
  • Continue to meet or talk weekly, and then monthly, with one of your support people.
  • Reward yourself at special anniversaries of your quit date, such as 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Figure out how much money you have saved by not smoking, and spend that amount, or part of it, on something special for yourself.

Other helpful tips to stay smoke-free:

  • Manage the stress in your life. It's impossible to completely avoid stress, but you can learn to control it or reduce it. This will help you remain strong when you're tempted to start smoking again. To learn ways to manage stress, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Learn to think of yourself as a non-smoker. Changing how you think may be difficult, but research has shown that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can help. For more information, see the topic Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking.

Credits

Current as of: March 12, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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