When you’re trying to quit smoking, other smokers are a threat to you. Seeing them light up, inhale, and exhale can immediately trigger that craving for a cigarette. This is the most challenging thing to withstand for a soon-to-be-ex-smoker. When you see others smoking, and you’re trying hard not to, it is difficult, and even more so when it is all that’s on your mind.
Everywhere you look, it seems like everyone is smoking doesn’t it? Even though there are more restrictions, higher taxes, and the stigma that goes with smoking, you still see people puffing away, and that isn’t helping you and your cravings.
You have co-workers that are smoking, you have family members smoking, your friends are smoking. Go to the movies or watch television and you see actors smoking. And when you see actors smoking, it just glorifies it, making you crave it even more.
Understand Your Craving
You can’t simply hide for the weeks or months that it takes to get through this period. With knowledge comes understanding and with understanding comes power. And when it we’re talking about quitting smoking, this couldn’t be a better statement regarding the things that triggers your cravings. Having that understanding will help you prepare yourself when it happens.
Experts that have studied people that are trying to quit noted that when you see the repetitious motions that are associated with cigarette smoking from the perspective of a second person, it triggered the desire for a cigarette. There are repetitive motions by a smoker every day, over and over, and the brain learns those motions. This tells us that smoking is more than just a physical craving, it is a behavior of rituals performed while smoking too.
So, when a person that trying to quit sees others following those same rituals, their brain processes those rituals with smoking. Activity then starts to heighten in the parietal lobe because the brain activity associated with the same rituals.
You Can Beat The Cravings
One method you could use to beat this is to turn off the TV, never leave your house again, and avoid all contact with the outside world. However, that is a bit extreme and could cause your family and friends to have concerns for your mental state.
The better option is to cope with the things that trigger your cravings and continue living life. It is hard to believe you’ll get to that point, but within 30 to 60 days (for most people), you will get past these cravings and even be able to talk to smokers again.
Find Coping Strategies
Keep chewing gum and hard candy on hand, especially if your hands are idle, like while watching television. Drink a lot of water – that will drown your cravings, but avoid alcohol which weakens any inhibitions.
Create your safe list of movies or television shows that do not have people smoking in them. The less you see glamorized smoking, the better.
Opt for going to musicals and plays because public venues do not permit smoking and the show will engage and entertain your mind, which will keep you from thinking about cigarettes. Skip going to the bars for now until you have mastered your cravings.
Find activities that will keep your hands busy such as art and crafts, sewing, woodworking, etc. Keep your guard up and when you see somebody smoking, turn the other way. You’ll only have to do this for a short time, and it will keep your cravings to a minimum.