If you want to reduce the effects of smoking on your life, you need to reduce the power triggers hold. Triggers, which make you want to smoke, can be emotional — like anxiety and loneliness – or withdrawal — like smelling cigarette smoke or craving the taste of cigarettes.
Some triggers are social, like spending time at a bar with friends or attending a party. If smoking used to be a common social activity for you, then spending time with friends and family who smoke can hurt your chances of quitting.
However, you can manage people-related triggers to help become healthier without hurting your relationships. Monday is your chance to start anew, and we’re here to help you avoid social smoking triggers and start the week on a healthy track:
- Spend time around the right people: Limit the time you spend around smokers as much as possible. Only go out with friends who are smokers if they somewhere they won’t smoke. Otherwise, keep yourself busy at home with video games, Netflix binging and other forms of entertainment.
- Avoid contact with cigarettes: A friend who smokes may ask you while you’re out to hold their pack of cigarettes while they go to the bathroom or get a drink at the bar. In this case, let them know that you’re trying to quit and that they should ask someone else to hold it or keep it on them. Lighting a cigarette for someone is also a bad move if you want to limit the strength of triggers.
- Decline smoke breaks: The next time co-workers invite you out for a smoke break, decline and avoid the temptation to smoke. Instead, go outside for a walk, and invite another non-smoker to go with you, to take the habit off your mind.
- Avoid cigarettes after meals: Whether you’re out with friends at a local restaurant or at a dinner party with relatives, smoking is a common activity post-meal. You can use mints or gum as a replacement instead. Cleaning the plates and glasses can also keep you busy and not thinking about smoking.
- Find the right bars: Smoke-free bars are a helpful way to cub your tendencies and limit what you consume. If you can’t find one, take your drink outside while your friends are inside smoking and enjoy fresh air.
- Choose different sources of fun: Take your group to a smoke-free zone the next time you go out. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, malls and other public places can come in handy. If your friends decide to go somewhere that allows smoking, use this as an opportunity to practice healthy, smoke-free habits.
- Tell your family and friends: Being open about your situation with loved ones can improve your chances of quitting and avoiding smoke-filled environments. Not only can you ask them to not smoke around you, but they might also know extra techniques to leading a healthier life. Once you successfully quit, you can lend a hand to someone you know who is trying to quit.
With these tactics, you can successfully quit smoking without negatively affecting your relationships with those who do. Try these tips this Monday, overcome triggers, and enjoy a longer, healthier life.