How to Quit Smoking: Week 4
The Complete 4-Week Quit Smoking Guide:
You’re now approaching one month without a cigarette - wow That is an amazing feat. If this is your first time making it this far, you must be feeling pretty good right about now.
If not smoking for four weeks in a row is an experience you’re rather familiar with because of repeated relapses, then you should feel great about having made it this far again. It is not an easy thing to do and you should feel very proud of this accomplishment (I know how hard it is because I did it so many times myself).
This week we will cover a few more tips about staying smoke-free as you reach your first full month without a cigarette.
Breathing: You may not have noticed it but you have probably developed the habit of breathing shallowly as you got older. If you study a young child breathing naturally, you will notice they tend to breathe from deep within the belly. The chest rises and falls, but so does the tummy. This kind of breathing helps the body get rid of toxins and pulls oxygen more deeply into the lungs. You can work to consciously breathe more fully to enrich your body and attain a deeper sense of calm. This is also a great way to distract yourself whenever you feel a craving coming on.
Exercise: You’ve given yourself almost 4 weeks without a cigarette - it’s time to start upping the exercise ante. You should be feeling more energetic and you want to take advantage of that by adding a few minutes each day to your exercise regimen. Whether it’s parking a little farther away from your destination, or doing jumping jacks in front of the TV, the more you move your body, the better you will feel. You are also arming yourself against relapse by improving your overall health.
Feeling fidgety?: Do you find yourself fidgeting for the familiar feel of a cigarette between your fingers? Try holding a sandwich pick or a pencil like you used to hold a cigarette. It’s good to find a temporary replacement that will help distract you from the urge to smoke. You might even bring the item up to your lips and take a "drag" - it’s far better to do something that might feel a little silly than to go out and have a real smoke.
End of the week: You’ve made it through your first month! Congratulations. You are accomplishing what may well be the most important thing you will ever do for yourself and those you love. Don’t forget to reward yourself for another week of success and remember to be gentle on yourself.
And if you relapsed, you’re not alone - most people go through many quit attempts before they finally succeed - just start again tomorrow!
Next time, we’ll look at additional ways to keep you smoke-free for life in How to Quit Smoking: Beyond the First Month.
For information about the health benefits of quitting smoking, see Better Health After Quitting.
For inspirational stories that will help you quit, consider Give It Up! Stop Smoking for Life.
Anne wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for COPD.