f you are participating in Stoptober this year you have almost reached the finish line, well done!

By now, your system is clean of nicotine, and your internal organs are beginning to repair and rejuvenate themselves. You have probably noticed that you no longer get out of breath as quickly when you walk up the stairs, or maybe you have found your morning run a more pleasant experience.

As you begin to feel the health and wellbeing benefits of being a non-smoker you may wonder why you ever started smoking in the first place. However, for some people this crucial 3-4 week period after quitting can become the most difficult, as the subconscious smoking habit lingers and they fight emotional and psychological cravings, more so than physical symptoms. If you are struggling to resist the urge to pick up a cigarette, read on for our top tips to beat cigarette cravings and stay strong!

  1. Take some time to breathe deeply and relax

For many people the chance to have a cigarette does not have a whole lot to do with enjoying the smoking, but rather enjoying the time you have whilst smoking. When you are feeling stressed and need a minute to relax, for smokers this means going outside and taking some deep breaths (only those deep breaths are taken through a cigarette). However, you could get the same relaxing effect by spending a little time outside, mindfully breathing deeply to quiet your racing thoughts, and give you a chance to calm yourself before returning to your everyday routine. When a craving for a cigarette comes on, realise you are probably craving a little fresh air and a moment to yourself.

  • Try some exercise

If you find yourself reaching for snacks and sweets when you give up smoking, fear not, this is a completely normal subconscious reaction when giving up a habit. Your subconscious mind finds replacing one habit with another the easiest method when it comes to quitting on willpower alone. However, a great and healthy way to replace your cigarette habit with another habit is by taking up some light exercise. If you find yourself always wanting a smoke in the morning, why not put on your trainers and go for a jog? Furthermore the happy hormones released during exercise will help you to relax, and feeling your body become fitter and stronger will motivate you to stay smoke-free.

  • Why not call a ‘quitting buddy’?

If you know someone else who is also quitting this Stoptober, why not become ‘quitting buddies’? If either of you gets a niggling craving to have a smoke you can call or text each other for support. Having someone who understands what you are experiencing, but who will also provide you with some accountability, will help you to stick to your goals and push yourself through the temptation.

  • Chew a stick of gum

A lot of people swear by this old trick, stating that chewing some gum when a craving arises will help you to beat the cravings. Because smoking is a type of ‘oral fixation’ the reason chewing gum might help is that it replaces your usual oral habit with another one, providing a relief to your mind’s troublesome desire to have something in your mouth. Although many people turn to nicotine gum when they have cravings, because you are already almost a month smoke-free there’s no need to reintroduce nicotine into your system, so stick to a minty stick of sugar-free.

  • Why not try hypnosis?

If you have tried everything and you still find yourself fighting cravings left, right and centre, then why not try coming to the Harley Street Stop Smoking Clinic for stop smoking hypnotherapy? As has become clear, the cravings you have for smoking after 3 weeks are caused by your subconscious mind’s desire to redevelop your smoking habit as it struggles to form a new, healthier mindset instead. You can beat this pull through willpower and time or by replacing the habit with another. However, many people choose to target the subconscious habit directly via hypnotherapy, which accesses your subconscious mind and uses powerful techniques and suggestions to remove your desire to smoke. Because the subconscious habit has been dealt with, you are far less likely to experience cravings as a result.