Lean on social support for an easier quit.
Developing new and healthy habits is one of the keys to quit smoking. Another key? Social support. We are creatures of habit, but we are also social animals. Having supportive people around you can make a world of difference in your quit success. That’s because supportive relationships allow you to share your successes and challenges, reduce stress, get encouragement and assistance, and avoid smoking triggers and cravings through distractions. With social support, you will feel more motivated through your quit and optimistic about reaching your goal of a smokefree life. So don’t go at it alone… enlist people to help you quit!
Here are some of the ways to get social support:
Family, Friends, Colleagues
Many people turn to family, friends, and/or co-workers to help them quit smoking. These people often know you the best, and you may feel the most comfortable with them to share your quit issues. You also see them often, which means you can get constant feedback and encouragement throughout your quit. Remember, these people are often there for you in both good times and bad.
A quit buddy is someone who also wants to quit smoking and quits with you. Quit buddies hold each other accountable and are there for each other to offer support, especially during particularly trying times. When picking a quit buddy, it’s important to find someone who you can trust and depend on and is just as motivated as you are to quit smoking for good.
In-person and online support groups allow a quitter to connect with other people who share their same goal. Though groups may differ, the common thread is that support groups offer a safe, non-judgmental space where you can learn from other people’s struggles and share stories and tips. There are a variety of support groups available, many of which are free, and you can start your search by checking with your doctor, local hospital, or Nicotine Anonymous. Some online support groups can be found on places like QuitNet, the Ex Community, and on Yahoo! Forums.
Sometimes support is only a call or message away. For those who prefer anonymity or need assistance when others are not available, calling your state quitline may be the best way to go. You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) to connect to your state’s quitline at no charge and talk to a trained counselor. If typing is more your thing, you can use the LiveHelp chat program on smokefree.gov to instant message a counselor.
Are you always on Facebook or Twitter? Then maybe you’ll find groups on social media to be more your speed. Join a Facebook page (like ours!) or follow a Twitter account (again, here is ours!) to connect with others and get some motivation to help you quit.
Although there are certain social support approaches that have been shown to be more effective than others, it may not necessarily be the best one for you. Below are some questions to help you think about which strategy/strategies are most useful in your quit:
- With whom and how do you typically like to share health information? Do you prefer one-on-one conversations? Will you feel comfortable sharing in front of a room of strangers?
- What sort of social support do you think will be helpful? (E.g. someone to listen to you, provide encouragement, act as a distraction, offer advice)
- What’s your schedule like? Would you be able to make an in-person support group?
- Do you want structure (meet once a week) or just someone there to be on hand if you get a particularly bad craving?
- If you’ve had unsuccessful quits in the past, when and how would you have benefited from social support (or more of it)?
- Who are some of the most supportive people in your life?
How has social support helped you in your quit? We want to know!