How to overcome cravings to smoke
By Chloe Latouche – Nutritional & Dietetic Medicine
One of the largest causes of illness and death in Australia is preventable — smoking tobacco. It is estimated that 2/3 lifetime smokers will die from a disease caused by their smoking. And it’s no surprise, with cigarettes hosting more than 7,000 chemicals including over 60 known carcinogens.
But despite the strong health evidence against smoking, the habit can often feel impossibly hard to kick. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy to redirect your cravings.
3 important notes about quitting
1. Persistence is important – Scientific research into nicotine addiction shows that quitting can often take several attempts before success is reached.
2. Curb cravings as they come, one by one – Interrupt your thought pattern on the spot by commencing a different activity.
3. Psychological cravings – Yes, your physical body will react to nicotine withdrawal. More interestingly, your psychological cravings may fuel your desire to smoke long after your body has moved through its initial nicotine withdrawal. Therefore, forming new neural pathways to combat psychological cravings may become key to quitting long term.
4 natural ways to stop cravings
1. Acupuncture – Acupuncture can help provide relief from nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness, as well as ‘the jitters’. Read our article about the NADA Protocol — a safe and proven method for overcoming a smoking addiction.
2. Exercise – Physical activity, especially aerobics can reduce the urge to smoke. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings can decrease during exercise and for up to 50 minutes afterwards. It can also distract you from thoughts of smoking, improve your mood, feel more energetic and help you cope with stress.
3. Massage – You can reduce cravings with massage of the hand or the ear! How does it work? Reflexology and Acupuncture philosophies believe that your hands and ears are microsystems that represent the whole body. Why not attend a Tui Na Massage treatment to see how your Acupuncturist uses acupressure points to help calm your mind and eliminate your cravings.
4. Meditation – In the first few weeks of withdrawal, former smokers can go through psychological distress. Mindful meditation is a way for an individual to “access themselves” in a collected and calm place. Why not try Headspace? It’s an app that’s dedicated to teaching people how to be mindful.