It is estimated that between 44 and 46 million people smoke and this is known as one of the most difficult habits to kick. Almost all smokers admit to trying to quit at least once without success and many have attempted to quit two or more times. There are things like nicotine patches and gum that are helpful for some people, but nixing the nicotine completely is preferred by most people trying to kick the habit.
Thankfully, there are many different natural ways to stop smoking that you can try. These do not involve pumping more nicotine into your bloodstream and as an added bonus, these can be combined so you can use as many as necessary to kick the habit for good.
Make a Few Dietary Changes
Some foods make cigarettes taste horrible and others make them taste better. According to research performed at Duke University, coffee, alcohol and red meat all make cigarettes taste better. However, juice, vegetables, vinegar, especially sherry vinegar, fruit, and milk can make them taste bad, so loading up on these foods can be helpful when you are trying to quit. As an added bonus, they also promote optimal health.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
In about 30 percent of cases, when someone feels like they are craving a cigarette, what they are really craving is carbohydrates. Grabbing a small sweet treat can satiate this so you do not want a cigarette. Of course, you do not want to load up on sugar, but a small hard candy or a fun-size candy bar can do the trick with minimal calories.
Move Your Body
Your potential to quit is doubled when you work out regularly, according to Brown University research. The type of exercise should be aerobic and performed at least five days a week. The exercise should be vigorous enough to hit at around 80 percent of your max heart rate.
Try Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a type of ancient martial arts that promotes fitness and relaxation. A study performed at the University of Miami followed smokers for 12 weeks and had them do three one-hour sessions each week.
At the end of the trial period, 60 percent had kicked the habit.
Ditch the Diet
Research shows that quitting smoking should be a focused priority and trying to diet and get in shape at the same time can thwart your efforts. Those who gain weight after quitting smoking generally only gain five to 10 pounds and this amount of weight can easily be lost in one to two months with a healthy diet and regular exercise. It is best to place all of your efforts on kicking the habit because nicotine is an incredibly hard addiction to break.
Consider St. John’s Wort
This natural herb is well-known to have effective antidepressant potential and there are prescription antidepressants, such as Paxil and Chantix, that are prescribed to those trying to quit smoking. This herb works similar to these drugs by inhibiting norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake.
Strength in Numbers
When it comes to quitting smoking and never going back, getting support from other smokers is proven to be helpful. All other addictive substances have support group therapy, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and these work.
There are support groups for those trying to quit smoking, but they are not as publicized. Many hospitals have this type of resource so it is something to consider.
Your doctor can be of more help than you realize and studies show that patients who actively get help from their doctor are more likely to be successful in quitting smoking. Be honest about your struggles and let your doctor give you advice. Doctors understand how nicotine affects the brain and they can give you some tips on how to resist your cravings naturally.
While it sounds cliché, seeing images of what smoking can do to you can help to keep you motivated. Post a photo of smoking-related skin aging or blackened lungs somewhere in your home that you see every morning.
This can help to stop you from lighting up, according to research from the UMDNJ School of Public Health.
The University of California, San Francisco, looked at the relationship between quitting smoking and Twitter and found that Twitter can be a helpful tool. Getting peer-to-peer support on the popular social networking site helps people to stick to their quit date and resist the urge to go back to smoking. Twitter may also make you more accountable if you discuss quitting with your social media followers.
There’s an App for That
There are over 40 apps you can download and use to work toward quitting smoking. These apps give you some structure, record your achievements, track your progress and post your progress to social media. This is a great way to keep yourself accountable and stay motivated by seeing how far you have come.
Hypnotize Your Habit
Hypnosis is commonly touted as an effective way to help people quit smoking and for many people it is effective. How many sessions it takes ultimately depends on the person, but many people notice improvement in controlling their cravings after a single session. Just make sure to choose a skilled practitioner for best results.
Ancient Art of Acupuncture
Acupuncture may help you to reduce your cravings. Research shows that this natural treatment may help to increase serotonin production so you feel happy and satisfied without lighting up. On average, the quit rate is about 30 percent higher in those who have at least six acupuncture treatments.
Self-Massage Away Your Cravings
Many people smoke to keep their hands busy so if you do this in another way that produces pleasure, you can squash your cravings in their tracks. The University of Miami looked at those who performed a two-minute hand or ear massage when they were craving a smoke. Those who performed this type of massage had a lower risk of giving into their cigarette cravings.
The act of meditation is relaxing and it allows you to focus. The University of Wisconsin looked at longtime smokers and how group meditation sessions helped them to quit smoking.
They found that after eight sessions, 56 percent of longtime smokers were able to quit. On average, you should listen to 45 minutes of meditative music and other audio each day.