Is it important to avoid boredom if I'm trying to quit smoking?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Ask yourself this: How did you handle boredom before you quit smoking? For many smokers, idle moments are a trigger to light up. In the days and weeks after you quit, keep your mind busy and your body active. Pick up an engrossing mystery novel or rent exciting movies that have you on the edge of your seat. Plan outings with friends, preferably nonsmokers. Start exercising. You don't have to become a super jock -- taking a long walk every day is a great workout.

In short, don't let your mind wander during this critical stage. It may drift to thoughts about smoking, which could lead to powerful cravings for tobacco.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
How often have you lit up a cigarette just because you were bored or didn't have anything else to do? All too often, probably. When boredom strikes while you're quitting, find something to do. Go for a little stroll, make yourself a cup of coffee, check your email, read a magazine, call a friend - anything that keeps you busy and takes your mind off your urge for a cigarette.
If you are trying to quit smoking, it is a good idea to avoid boredom. If you are bored, you may find yourself focusing too much on cigarettes and what they used to do for you, which may trigger an urge to smoke.

Smokers who are trying to quit smoking should be ready with diversions, especially on your quit day. Diversions can be anything from an activity that takes 5 minutes to full-blown weekend plans. Sometimes you may find yourself with nothing to do for a short pocket of time, and instead of picking up a cigarette, you will want to be ready with those short-term diversions, like a crossword puzzle or cleaning out that desk drawer.

You may find that the longer hours after work or on the weekend are when you are the most bored. If this is the case, you may want to consider picking up a new hobby, like joining the gym (always check with your doctor first) or taking an art class, or start on those big projects you may have been putting off, like cleaning out the garage or painting the bedroom.

The key here is to brainstorm diversions ahead of time and have your plan in place. This way, if you find that you are bored and thinking about cigarettes, you will have activities readily available to you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.