Staying Smoke-free

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Quitting smoking is easy...
            ... but what about staying quit?

Mark Twain's oft used words, "It's easy to quit smoking, I've done it many times," are a flippant but poor cover-up for the guilt and suffering many smokers go through in their efforts to stay permanently smoke-free.

There's a lot of good material available in the stop smoking market, but how to stay quit and stay sane can loom as a challenge.

As the days pass and maybe turn into weeks, months and even years, there's often a yawning gap that smokers previously filled with all the rituals of smoking.

A good solid method for beating nicotine addiction will teach long term strategies for successfully coping. It should teach smokers how to unlearn the habit they have programmed into their brain. It will show ways to toss out the desire for smoking, rather than just toss out the smokes.

Otherwise, one little trip-up or too high a stress level, and the person is back to their old way of coping, back to their familiar comforting habit again, back to smoking.

But even with the best of stop smoking programs or methods, whereby a smoker quits and feels safely on track with their future, the road to staying smoke-free can be made more comfortable and fun if follow-up strategies are planned and extra quit smoking tips are used.

Actively preparing and taking on board ways to fill up that gap left from smoking, can really get an ex-smoker excited about their new life and the possibilities ahead of them.

So what can smokers replace their old smoking habit with? Firstly they can occupy their hands with whatever interests them, be it knitting, puzzles, a stress ball or dozens of other gizmos and creative crafts.

The important point is to make sure this is handy to grab when necessary.

Simple substitute's work. Use them — for example, common cinnamon sticks that can be bought at a supermarket or health shop are great to suck on. Not only is cinnamon heart healthy, a cinnamon stick is hollow and is a similar size to a ciggie — go suck on that tip! That's just a quickie, and there are many other clever ideas

What about stress? Nothing beats relaxation exercises or learning to meditate to cope with stress, plus exercise is a winner too. Combine the two and learn Tai Chi or yoga.

How to cope with other smokers, old situations? Easy... keep out of the way or lead the way and watch other smokers be envious of you having a healthy snack instead of them puffing and coughing; and for old situations, here again plan ahead and have alternatives — such as what to say, where to go, what to do.

You're talking about your life here, and that's more important that other people.

Doing a bit of research and contemplation about a new hobby to take up, can reward you with confidence as your skill increases, plus the opportunity to meet new people outside of your old smoking sphere.

Nearly all former smokers have used at least one or two tricks they had up their sleeve that personally worked well for them.

There are some fascinating stories using amazing innovation and imagination that some people had utilized to find the best way for each one of them that often proved a personal life-saver.

For those side-swiping instant cravings, most recent ex-smokers have been told to drink water and breathe deeply. Yes, these are good, but there's a mountain of other fun and effective strategies, plus longer term good habits to get into... so remember the key to staying smoke-free... plan ahead and be prepared.

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