I’ve helped a lot of people quit smoking. While doing this, I’ve been told a lot of reasons why it is good to smoke.
I’ve been told smoking sharpens your mind, relaxes you, calms you, keeps you from yelling at the kids (or spouse), tastes good with coffee, tastes better after a meal. In short, makes you feel “better”. (I always ask “better than what”?)
I know you don’t completely believe these reasons, or why know you should quit smoking. I also know a part of you DOES believe these things, and more.
You do have a strong reason to keep smoking or you would have quit by now. Just so you know, there are not any laws stating your reason to keep smoking needs to make any sense. It rarely does.
Almost all of the reasons you continue smoking can easily be proven wrong. Example: Maybe smoking helps you relax during work breaks because you get away and go outside to do it.
Even when you know the reason doesn’t make sense, that knowledge doesn’t always help you stop. It might just add to your frustration in the struggle to stop. Just one more reason to stop that doesn’t out-weigh the craving to continue.
It all comes down to two things. The belief that smoking will make you feel better and what you’re trying to feel better than. That’s it.
If you’re too hot, you look for ways to cool off. If you’re leg hurts you look for pain relief. If you feel bad (tired, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, lonely, whatever…) you look to feel good. If you have held the belief that smoking makes you feel good, that’s where your mind takes you.
This feeling to do something is what you probably call a craving. Many smokers have more than one type of craving going on. The ‘after you wake up’ craving might feel different than the ‘after a meal’ craving. The same principles apply.
SO, how do you change these things? I can write on and on about this (and I have on my web site) It will come down to changing the feelings, motivations and beliefs involved.
First, the bad feeling needs to be helped. If it’s about stress, get it managed, if it’s a difficult situation, do what you can to take care of it or get some help. If it’s a bad feeling you get that is beyond what the situation deserves, behavior modification might be what you need.
Second, the belief that smoking makes you feel good (it is often the mistaken, and understandable, belief that smoking equals being an adult, in control, strong, capable, etc…) The fact is, smoking is some plant leaf and chemicals wrapped in paper. The good feeling you’re looking for, and sometimes experience, is created by YOU. YOU make yourself feel better when you smoke. You can make yourself feel just as good when drinking a glass of water. If, your mind believes it.
And there’s the trick for most people. Successfully quitting smoking is much easier after changing these emotional connections. People don’t often think of this. That is why the success rate of medication and nicotine replacement alone is so poor. The only current exception is Chantix and even Pfizer, the makers of Chantix, recommend behavior modification along with their medication.
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