Making positive changes in your life after quitting smoking

Below are some of the most common and helpful strategies people use to get through the tough period of nicotine withdrawal.

  • Find a new hobby.
  • Start some new physical activity. Exercise might help you quit smoking. It doesn't take long after you stop smoking before you will notice that you can breathe more easily when you walk, jog, swim, or ride a bike. For tips on starting an exercise program and eating right, see the topic Fitness.
  • Manage the stress in your life. It's impossible to completely avoid stress, but you can learn to control it or reduce it. This will help you remain strong when you're tempted to start smoking again. To learn ways to manage stress, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Continue to meet or talk weekly, and then monthly, with one of your support people.
  • Reward yourself at special anniversaries of your quit date, such as 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Figure out how much money you have saved by not smoking, and spend that amount, or part of it, on something special for yourself.

Other helpful tips:

  • Watch for your smoking triggers. It is wiser to avoid triggers after you have quit smoking than to tempt yourself too soon. If you cannot avoid them, be cautious when they are present.
  • Identify areas and activities where you are least likely to smoke, and use them when you have the urge to smoke. Add these alternatives to your smoking journal.

Last Updated: July 22, 2009

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry

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