Are you thinking about quitting smoking but you are not sure if you can do it? Well, the truth is that everybody can quit smoking. You just need to find a good reason that will motivate you and then turn your focus from craving for a cigarette to getting excited about being free from cigarettes.
Sounds too easy? Are you interested in learning more about quitting? Would you like to know how to quit smoking now?
What was the reason you started smoking?
Try to remember the time when you started smoking. If you’re like the majority, then you probably didn’t like the taste either the smell of your first cigarette. So why did you light up your second and every other cigarette then?
Did you try to impress others? Did you feel more adult or more important? Did you just want to fit into but you didn’t know a better way? Did you seek an acceptance? Was that a need for belonging or fear of rejection? Or maybe a need for an attention or excitement? Were you just curious? Did you want to test yourself how long would it take you to become addicted or maybe you thought that you’re in control and won’t become addicted?
Whatever reason it was, I would say that in the core of every reason is always one or more of the emotional gaps, particularly insecurity, lack of confidence, anxiety or self-doubt.
So let’s go back to the time when you started smoking. You lit that cigarette and suddenly you started to feel more relaxed, more self-assured or more confident. Then you lit up another one, and then another one and so on, and you started to associate cigarette with that feeling of relaxation, pleasure or confidence, or whatever feeling it was at that moment. And every time you felt insecure or tense and you wanted to relax and calm down, you reached for another cigarette.
Understand your addiction
Smoking activates areas of your brain that cause you to release dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers). So you continue to smoke again, and again to repeat that pleasure effect of dopamine. Now, if you cannot control your emotional state, you are addicted to it. Therefore, it is not the nicotine that is making smoking so addictive but the instant change in your emotional state.
All addictive behaviors are driven by emotions. People smoke either to intensify good emotional state or to mitigate a bad one. For example, when you are stressed, you smoke to feel better, and when you drink, you smoke to enjoy your drink even more.
So, if you can fulfill the same pleasure without smoking, then quitting will be easy. For example, the process of learning and developing a new skill helps your brain finding new means to release dopamine.
What is this craving all about?
Most smokers think that the only way to quit smoking is to resist cigarettes with willpower until the desire for smoke disappears.
You need to know that every cigarette you light up is followed by your thought and your emotional state. So, if you want to quit smoking you first have to change what you think.
Because of your internal dialogue (I want a cigarette, I cannot have cigarette, Just one cigarette, Maybe I should start tomorrow…), the image that preoccupies your mind is that of a cigarette and all you think about is that you cannot have that cigarette. If you think about you don’t want to smoke, you will actually want to smoke. The most important thing is to find alignment. So what can you do?
Replace the image – Because the thoughts and words we use create images and ultimately define how mind and body will experience the craving, you have to replace the word cigarette with another one. For example, instead of saying “I want a cigarette” you can say, “I want fresh air”. If you use different thought and different word, you picture different image and then you experience your craving in a different way.
Change your focus – You have to be able to see yourself as a non-smoker with all benefits that no smoking brings, and what is most important, you have to believe that is possible for you to quit smoking. Think about you feel frisky, breathing deeply and being in control of your behavior. Pay no attention to the conditions and stop beating up on yourself.
Let that vision be your compass and if you can hold that vision clear in your mind, you will make choices consistent with that vision and you will arrive at the point where you will not have any more cravings.
Everything starts with a decision. Before you stop smoking you have to choose not to smoke and in order to make that choice, you need a reason why are you doing that. Some good reasons could be better health, more energy, more money, length and quality of your life, but in my opinion, the most powerful reason to quit smoking is freedom – to stop being a slave to cigarette and to take over control over your body.
The moment you decide to no longer make the same choice and to no longer behave the same way, it’s going to feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, and you will probably want to return to your same chemical state.
Maybe you have been smoking for so long and you might sabotage yourself by returning to what feels familiar because without cigarette you don’t even know who you are.
The hardest part about quitting is not making the same choices you did the day before.
Don’t let your mind trick you with a thought that you don’t feel like quitting. Because whenever we use feelings as a barometer for change, we always talk ourselves out of possibility.
If you make the decision that you will stop smoking and then you continue, it is not because you choose to smoke but because you failed to quit, and the only reason you failed is that you gave up your power.
Conditioning something you have learned is as important as learning it. In order to do that you have to replace smoking with a new habit that will help you satisfy the same emotional need that you used to meet by smoking.
If you still believe that it is difficult to give up smoking, bear in mind that you are not giving up anything, because cigarettes do nothing for you at all, they simply keep you addicted. The only reason why smokers like cigarettes, is to try to get back to the state of relaxation that non-smokers already enjoy.
*If you are smoking and want to quit, try to avoid people that criticize your smoking because they are not doing any good by making you feel guilty. To facilitate the process of quitting you need something that will help to release your dopamine and fulfill the same pleasure without smoking, and feeling of guilt is surely not, what you need
*The same tips are applicable to alcohol or food addiction