Getting Through Cravings

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Nov 5, 2008
One of the biggest obstacles many people experience when stopping smoking is managing their cravings to smoke. Whether in response to a stressful event, feeling emotional, or perhaps a long standing behavioral trigger such as the morning cup of coffee, cravings can be very powerful.

One way to manage cravings is to decide what you are going to DO when they occur. Sometimes people plan to “just not smoke”, which can be quite difficult. However having a concrete plan or list of options of what things you will do, can be much more helpful. For instance, have your coffee on your drive to work instead of at home, or going for a morning walk instead of sitting at home with coffee and a cigarette are examples of what you can do instead of just trying to not smoke. Some people even find making a list of options to carry with them to be helpful. You can pull it out any time a craving occurs and have an automatic plan on what to do.

In summary, it’s easier for most of us to have something to actively focus on and to do than it is to try to not do something. Identify the causes of your most common daily cravings, make a list of alternative actions you can take, and give it a go. You can do it! Click here to go to BecomeAnEX.org to help you identify what those daily cravings are.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org