I'm addicted to smoking. How can I stop?

I'm planning to have baby, so I have to quit smoking - but it's hard. Sometimes it's not a physical need, it's mental.

I cannot help myself from thinking about smoking. What can I do to get rid of this addiction?

Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

Quitting smoking can be difficult. It's also true that there is part that is sometimes a physical need and a part that is often connected to emotions in some way. From the way that you wrote this, it sounds like you may have been able to stop smoking physically, but still have cravings.

One thing you can do is talk with your primary care physician or OB/GYN about whether there is anything that you can take to help with the cravings. Sometimes that can very helpful.

As far as the more emotional or mental piece, these things come to mind:

  • Sometimes a crucial part is looking at the habit of smoking and seeing what else you can do to keep your mind and hands busy. There are sometimes toys, like those available at Office Playground, that may help to keep you physically occupied.
  • There can also be changes or additions to your routine because I imagine that smoking took up a great deal of your time. Maybe when you have the temptation to get up and go to have a cigarette, you could have several other things that you can get up and do instead. The list is endless, but a few examples could be doing some physical exercise (with the permission of your doctor) just for a couple minutes because that could help with the craving as well, completing a puzzle, learning a new activity that requires using your hands (painting or knitting, perhaps).
  • Another piece of quitting smoking is often linked to anxiety or other emotional changes, perhaps irritability. Depending on what it is that you may be feeling,  learning other strategies to use can be helpful as well.
  • This can all be quite overwhelming and a very big life change. I would recommend that if things do not become easier for you, consider talking with a therapist. Then you could not only have some more strategies or ideas directly related to you, but you could have very direct support for what you are trying to do.

I give you a lot of credit!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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