‘Stoptober’ is the NHS supported scheme that aims to make the month of October a time to quite smoking.
The NHS website, where you’ll find plenty of support for your effort, says: “Stop smoking for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to quit for good.”
There’s a wealth of information found on the NHS website – from a downloadable app to advice on the range of tools available, as well as face-to-face advice and a social media chat room – all geared up to make one of the most challenging tasks a smoker faces into one where success is achievable.
Of course there is no single way to approach quitting smoking: every smoker has a personal ‘relationship’ with the addictive habit, and this needs to be taken into account when planning your escape from smoking.
Let me tell you a little about my experience before I go on to look at the top tips from ‘stop smoking’ experts:
1. My experience with hypnotherapy
I used hypnotherapy and it worked very effectively for me.
Perhaps that’s because I believe in hypnotherapy and have used it effectively for other things.
What I found to be the most helpful tool was that the therapist asked me to keep a smoking journal for two weeks before my first session.
In it I wrote down how I felt about every cigarette I smoked. When I had finished the journal, it was clear that only about one or two cigarettes of the day were actually a pleasure to smoke.
That knowledge, combined with three hypnotherapy sessions, did the trick.
I realise that hypnotherapy may not be the solution for everyone. So, let’s look at other approaches and tips that are known to bring success.
2. Make a plan
Planning for success is very important.
Think through and write down how you want to take the challenge, what tools you will use and when, and how you might cope with those situations that trigger the need to smoke.
For example, if you’re invited out for dinner and drinks in the first week of stopping, how will you deal with it? Most smokers know that alcohol and cigarettes tend to go together.
The American Lung Association has eight excellent tips to incorporate into your plan, including reorganising your daily routine to avoid your usual smoke breaks.
3. Read books or attend a workshop
Many people have benefitted from Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.
His method is available in book format, online seminar and face-to-face workshops.
According to the website, over 30 million people worldwide have stopped using his system.
4. Find a support group or ‘quit buddy’
Having others to talk to, whether it is a group meeting, or one person, can give you the much-needed inspiration you need to keep going.
You can find a group at this NHS website for local stop smoking services.
5. Try something new
I took up crochet again during the first few weeks of quitting.
It gave me something to do with my hands. A creative project, or a new exercise routine will help you feel even better and improve your health beyond Stoptober.
Quitting is also a good time to clear out all your smoking paraphernalia and clean out the smell of smoke from your home furnishings.
Above all, be patient with yourself and don’t give in to self-blame or feelings of guilt while you’re on this mission.
If you slip-up, don’t see it as a failure; pick yourself up and start stopping again!
I wish you a successful Stoptober and a healthier future.