Addiction Nicotine Use How to Quit Smoking How Daily Rewards Can Help You Quit Smoking for Good By Terry Martin Terry Martin Facebook Twitter Terry Martin quit smoking after 26 years and is now an advocate for those seeking freedom from nicotine addiction. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 10, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Armeen Poor, MD Medically reviewed by Armeen Poor, MD Armeen Poor, MD, is a board-certified pulmonologist and intensivist. He specializes in pulmonary health, critical care, and sleep medicine. Learn about our Medical Review Board Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Aaron Johnson Fact checked by Aaron Johnson Aaron Johnson is a fact checker and expert on qualitative research design and methodology. Learn about our editorial process Print Morsa Images / Digital Vision / Getty Images The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be overwhelming. You may feel depressed, anxious, and irritable. You might be missing the ritual of smoking as well as the release of dopamine, the "feel-good" hormone, in your brain. The good news: These discomforts are temporary as long as you stay smoke-free. In the meantime, celebrate yourself and your accomplishment of quitting! There are natural ways to increase dopamine in the body and start feeling good. Plus, rewarding yourself with something each day reinforces your positive behavior—not smoking—and can help manage uncomfortable symptoms of quitting and get you motivated to keep going. Treat Yourself to Relaxation In the long run, quitting smoking can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, but initially, quitting tobacco tends to increase stress. Counteract this stress by rewarding yourself with activities that relax you and boost your overall sense of well-being. You might try: Getting a massage Taking a long bath Watching your favorite movie Day-to-day stressors have been shown to decrease dopamine production in the brain. Managing these stressors and your reactions to them can keep you feeling better during withdrawal. Pay attention to your feelings. Are you overwhelmed? Are you making enough time for yourself throughout the day? Even a few minutes of meditation a day can improve your well-being, and it's been shown to help reduce cigarette cravings. Find a quiet place to sit or lay down. Inhale and exhale deeply, focusing on your breath. The Icky Threes of Smoking Cessation Get Daily Encouragement We all need to hear that we're doing well and that the task we're working so hard to accomplish is worth it. It inspires us to keep going until we've overcome the temptation to smoke. If you're connected to a support group, make it a habit of reaching out to them every day. If you have a friend who is also quitting smoking, text each other daily words of encouragement or inspirational quotes. Studies show that the more support you have from the people around you in your journey to quit smoking, the more motivated you are to keep going. Getting support from people who care about you can help boost your mood. It's a quick and easy way to feel good that doesn't involve a cigarette. The Best Online Resources for Smoking Cessation Buy Yourself Something Special Don't forget about the money you are saving by quitting smoking. It's estimated that you can save between $2,000 to $4,110 annually when you quit smoking. So why not use some of the money you save to treat yourself? Maybe you've been wanting to spruce up your wardrobe or buy yourself a ticket to a live concert. It'll feel good to reward yourself with something you really want; you can even remind yourself that this purchase is made possible by the fact that you're now making healthier lifestyle choices. While making a purchase might not be plausible a daily reward, treating yourself with even a small purchase—like your favorite specialty coffee—can go a long way. You could also keep a money jar or a savings account to put a little money into over time until you're ready to treat yourself with a larger purchase. Enjoy Time With Loved Ones Let your family and friends know that you celebrating your journey of quitting smoking. Consider inviting them over for a dinner party to honor your achievements and to thank those who have encouraged you along the way for playing a part in your success. One study found that positive social interactions helped people who used to smoke manage obstacles throughout quitting. Even exchanging text messages with a loved one, especially when you're going through the challenges of withdrawal, can serve as positive reinforcement of your new smoke-free lifestyle. Get Active A great way to reward yourself is with physical activity. Exercise is proven to improve mental health, boost your mood, and increase your energy. For a boost in positive mental health effects, try taking a walk outside. Being in nature can soothe anxious feelings, lower stress levels, and improve concentration. When you reward yourself with exercise, you might even notice you're able to breathe better than you used to when you smoked cigarettes. Try a New Hobby Think about something you've always wanted to try, but haven't yet. There's no better time to treat yourself to a new hobby than after you've quit smoking. Maybe you take up a pottery class or you start volunteering at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Connecting with others, getting out into your community, and having fun will also help distract you from any withdrawal symptoms or cravings you are experiencing. Break Up Your Routine You might notice that a lot of the same places you go or the same activities you do can trigger a craving. That's completely normal; while you can't avoid everything that reminds you of smoking, you can manage those cravings. By going to new places and trying new things after you quit, you'll start to form new associations that don't involve lighting up a cigarette. Try taking an alternate route home from work, or buying lunch from a restaurant you haven't tried. It could be waking up earlier and meditating before you eat breakfast, or it could mean taking a spontaneous day trip to a place you've always wanted to go. A Word From Verywell Make a list of simple rewards for yourself that will help motivate you to stay smoke-free. Make sure the reward means something special to you. Quitting smoking is worth the work, and it can be easier to accomplish with a few well-deserved rewards along the way. 10 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. McLaughlin I, Dani JA, De Biasi M. Nicotine withdrawal. The Neuropharmacology of Nicotine Dependence. Published online 2015:99-123. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-13482-6_4 Taylor G, McNeill A, Girling A, Farley A, Lindson-Hawley N, Aveyard P. Change in mental health after smoking cessation: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2014;348:g1151. doi:10.1136/bmj.g1151 Bloomfield MA, McCutcheon RA, Kempton M, Freeman TP, Howes O. The effects of psychosocial stress on dopaminergic function and the acute stress response. Elife. 2019;8. doi:10.7554/eLife.46797 Tang YY, Tang R, Posner MI. Brief meditation training induces smoking reduction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(34):13971-13975. doi:10.1073/pnas.1311887110 Soulakova JN, Tang CY, Leonardo SA, Taliaferro LA. Motivational benefits of social support and behavioural interventions for smoking cessation. J Smok Cessat. 2018;13(4):216-226. doi:10.1017/jsc.2017.26 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Immediate smoker savings from quitting in each state. Kahler CW, Surace A, Gordon REF, et al. Positive psychotherapy for smoking cessation enhanced with text messaging: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2018;71:146-153. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2018.06.013 Bell SL, Audrey S, Gunnell D, Cooper A, Campbell R. The relationship between physical activity, mental wellbeing and symptoms of mental health disorder in adolescents: A cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2019;16(1). doi:10.1186/s12966-019-0901-7 Brymer E, Davids K, Mallabon L. Understanding the psychological health and well-being benefits of physical activity in nature: An ecological dynamics analysis. Ecopsychology. 2014;6(3). doi:10.1089/eco.2013.0110 Abo-Tabik M, Costen N, Darby J, Benn Y. Towards a smart smoking cessation app: A 1D-CNN model predicting smoking events. Sensors. 2020;20(4):1099. doi:10.3390/s20041099 Additional Reading National Institutes of Health. Celebrate Successes. By Terry Martin Terry Martin quit smoking after 26 years and is now an advocate for those seeking freedom from nicotine addiction. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Get Treatment for Addiction Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.