Many studies have proven that habits die hard. In fact, they are one of the last things to go, even after forgetting one’s own name. That’s because they become hardwired into our brains. However, it doesn’t always have to mean “until death do us part.” You can redesign your old patterns, replacing these habits and behaviours with new ones, which will become just as hardwired as the ones before.¹
Understanding cravings and your brain
Cravings and habits tend to go hand in hand, so it’s important to understand why they are happening and where they are coming from if you want to be successful at controlling them. Much like replacing cigarettes with something healthier, you can replace these negative thought and behaviour patterns with positive ones. One way of doing this is through cognitive brain therapy (CBT).
The main idea behind CBT is that we have the power to rewire our thoughts, emotions and actions, even if we can’t change our situation. Using CBT can help with cravings by changing your feelings and perception behind your addictive behaviour.¹
Two ways CBT can help to overcome addiction
Avoiding your triggers in the first place
Understanding your triggers, habits and cravings will help you to avoid and work through them. Do the work by asking yourself questions to figure out the root causes behind your feelings and behaviours. This will allow you to avoid harmful or triggering situations and replace them with healthier habits. For example, if you have a sudden craving, ask yourself why. Once you understand your craving, change or avoid that triggering situation or environment until you feel stronger again.²
Dealing with cravings emotionally and physically
Sometimes, we will be unable to change our environmental or emotional triggers. This can cause depression, anxiety and intense mental and physical stress. When cravings come from a place of negative thoughts and emotions, they need to be addressed, unlearned and replaced by positive thoughts. Eventually, these positive thoughts should start replacing the negative thoughts, feelings and behavioural patterns.
By learning better ways of coping, you’ll be better equipt to fight off your cravings and triggers. When you experience a craving because of things like stress, habit or your environment, try breaking that old habit. Instead of smoking a cigarette, do something else which makes you feel good. Some examples of healthy coping mechanisms could include going to the gym, getting away from clubs and into nature, having tea instead of coffee, joining support groups, meditating and repeating daily mantras and positive affirmations.²
The more often you break old habits, the less frequently they will occur, and those habits include giving in to your cravings.
The two types of cravings
There are two main types of cravings. The first type is a constant, dull craving that happens during your first few days or weeks of quitting. If you are making use of Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), then you’d use patches for this type of craving.
The other craving type happens suddenly, possibly due to emotional or physical triggers. Sudden cravings might happen when your old habits come up and they are associated with smoking. Some examples include drinking a coffee, going to a party or event, or smoking after a meal. If you are using NRT to help you with sudden cravings, then you might want to use fast-acting nicotine gum.²
How long will cravings last?
Although different for everyone, the good news is that both these craving types will become less and less potent, as well as frequent, as time goes by.³ If you want to stay motivated not to give in to your cravings, watch your lung health improve using a timeline.
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0565. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0566. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0520. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0523. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 2 mg: Reg. No A46/34/0164. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 4 mg: Reg. No A 46/34/0165. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 10 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0952. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 15,75 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 15 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0953. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 23,62 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 25 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0954. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 39,37 mg.