8 ways to stop nicotine cravings
When you are quitting smoking it is important to remember that cravings only last a short time—sometimes a minute or less—but they can be extremely powerful. The next time a craving hits, work your way through this list of activities until it passes, and know that there is always support available to you on 13 78 48 or www.quitlinesa.org.au.
- Drink a glass of water
Drinking a glass of water is also a really helpful way to substitute the habit of smoking: every time you feel like smoking, drink a glass of water instead. Not only will this help to change your habit into something healthier, but it can also help to rehydrate the body and counteract that nicotine craving.
- Practise calming exercises
Withdrawal of nicotine can make you feel restless, stressed, or even panicked, and breathing exercises can alleviate these feelings as you take back control of how your body is responding. You may like to try these different techniques, repeating or continuing until you feel the craving leave you.
- Inhale through the nose for three seconds. Exhale through the mouth for three seconds.
- Close your eyes and focus on one thing—something you can hear, or something you can feel on your skin.
- Close your eyes and visualise a favourite place.
- Distract yourself
If you have a favourite hobby, this can be a good way to focus your mind on something other than smoking. If not, you can always walk around the block, go for a drive, or play a game. www.quitlinesa.org.au has some great distractions.
- Call Quitline
Quitline counsellors know how to help you get through a craving, whether you’re looking for a distraction, a practical strategy, or just someone to vent to. Pick up the phone and call 13 78 48 next time you feel a craving coming on. Alternatively you can visit www.quitlinesa.org.au anytime for distractions or to register for a callback.
- Go for a walk
Exercise is an amazing way to manage any cravings for a number of reasons. Firstly, it physically removes you from the temptation of the nearest cigarette. Secondly, physical activity releases endorphins (your body’s feel-good hormones) that can help to calm you and make you feel better as you ride out your craving. And finally, a change of scenery can be all it takes to help change your train of thought away from smoking and toward other things.
- Message a friend
Reach out to a trusted friend if you’re feeling tempted. Perhaps you’ve discussed with them that you will message when you’re going through a craving, or just call them and say you need to have a chat to distract yourself. If they don’t answer, give Quitline a call.
- Listen to music
It doesn’t matter what music you listen to, the type of music you have on hand is up to you and how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling tense, listen to something soothing. If you’re restless, it might help to listen to something more upbeat as you move around.
- Go to a smoke free space
Whether you’re at home on the couch, or you’re in an area around other smokers, going to a smoke free space can be a big help when you’re going through a craving. Is there a library or a cinema nearby that you can go to? Meet a friend for a coffee or head to the beach or a park.