Over 68 percent of cigarette smokers report they wish they could quit, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with good reason. Smoking is the main cause of diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is also a risk factor for heart disease, lung cancer and strokes. Even with all the reasons to stop smoking, quitting can be challenging, even for the most self-disciplined person. Although there are medications to help, some people may prefer natural ways to quit smoking including some of the ideas listed below.
Behavior therapy is used to help people change various types of unwanted behavior including smoking. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, participants learn alternative ways to deal with stress and change patterns, which lead to smoking. Those trying this method to stop smoking should be aware it may take several months of therapy to learn new behaviors.
Although additional research is needed to prove the effectiveness of herbs on smoking cessation, certain remedies may be helpful for some people. Herbs, such as valerian and oat straw, are believed to reduce anxiety and nervousness, both of which may occur when you try to stop smoking. By reducing anxiety and tension, it may help you cope better with withdrawals.
Try A 12-Step Program
Similar to other types of 12-step programs, Nicotine Anonymous is a support program, which offers regular meetings, tips and suggestions on how to stop using nicotine including cigarettes. Becoming part of a group, which shares a common goal can be motivating and provide the needed support to deal with the challenges of quitting. Chapters of Nicotine Anonymous can be located through their website.
Changes to your diet may be helpful when trying to quit smoking. Try cutting back on certain foods and beverages, which you associate with smoking, such as fried food, coffee or alcohol. Consider eating foods, which may make cigarettes taste bad, such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Eating healthy carbohydrates may help reduce cigarette cravings. Also, drinking plenty of water may help flush toxins, such as nicotine, out of the body.
Stress Reduction Techniques
Some people smoke cigarettes as a response to stress. When they try to quit, withdrawals can cause more stress, which prevents quitting and the cycle continues. Learning different methods to cope with stress can help reduce your desire to smoke. Less stress may equal less smoking. Stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga and meditation, can also make it easier to deal with side effects from quitting.
Sometimes quitting smoking together with a friend can be helpful in sticking with your program. A friend can offer support, help motivate you and make you accountable. Talking with someone who is going through the same struggles to resist the urge to smoke may increase the odds of breaking the habit.
Acupuncture has been used for several centuries to treat various conditions from anxiety to chronic pain. Needles are inserted into points in the body in order to have a therapeutic effect. The theory behind acupuncture and smoking cessation is, acupuncture may cause a release of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins promote relaxation and improve mood, which may make it easier to manage withdrawals.
Some people are afraid to stop smoking because they believe it will lead to weight gain. Exercise may not only combat weight gain, but it may help reduce cravings for cigarettes. According to the Mayo Clinic, cravings to smoke may go away after 30 minutes of exercise, such as moderate walking, aerobics and biking.
Modern technology can play a role in helping you stop smoking. For example, online support groups and forums can be helpful in providing tips and answering questions about smoking cessation methods. There are also smoking cessation apps for phones, which may help some people reach their goal. Various apps are available, which provide tips to quit, calculate how much money you save on cigarettes and track your progress.
Hypnosis may work as a natural smoking cessation method by helping someone achieve a deep state of relaxation. It is theorized people may be more susceptible to suggestions during deep relaxation. Suggestions may be made to associate smoking with something unpleasant, such as a bad taste or smell. Although some may believe if you are hypnotized you are in a trance and can be made to do anything, that is a misconception. Keep in mind, not everyone is able to be hypnotized, but it may be a viable option for some to reduce the urge to smoke.
Natural methods to quit smoking can be used individually or in combination with other methods, such as medication or nicotine patches. Using more than one natural method may also increase your chances of success. Whichever ways you choose to help you quit smoking, it is important to set a quitting date, commit to the process and remember all the benefits from kicking the habit.