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How to Quit Smoking The Mental Way

Updated on September 17, 2013

Disclaimer:I am not a health professional. Please seek the advice of your doctor before you change your diet, exercise program, or make any other lifestyle change.

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Its all About Mind Over Matter; Prepare Your Mind

Hello my readers! After several failed attempts throughout my 20 year smoking spree, I am proud to say I am a recovering smoker who stopped smoking January 30, 2003. It was the most difficult task I have ever taken on! With some psychological help and a little physical help (the patch) I was able to kick the stinking habit for good. IF YOU ARE READY to give up this nasty vice, perhaps I can help. We all know about the horrific diseases smoking causes. My intention isn't to manipulate you to get you to quit, but to simply offer advice on how to quit if you WANT to. This is how I did it:

Like any goal worth obtaining, hard work, commitment and preparation are a must. Begin preparing about 3-6 months in advance. Choose a specific date that you are going to stop smoking cigarettes completely. It is recommended that you start breaking some of the easier habits first. For example, If you usually have a smoke right after eating, DON'T! Wait 10-15 minutes (maybe after the dishes are done), then go have your cigarette. If you are accustomed to smoking while having an adult beverage or a cup of coffee, DON'T! Smoke 10 minutes before, or 10 minutes after you have finished your drink. If you normally light up as soon as you get in your vehicle, DON'T! Wait another 5 minutes, then go ahead. Always try to cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day, or smoke only half of the cigarette (I realize they are expensive, but you can't AFFORD to fail, so in actuality, you are saving money).

You will also need to mentally prepare yourself. Get used to looking in the mirror and saying to yourself, "I'm a non-smoker, and I choose not to smoke TODAY." Its never too early to start that exercise, even if you are still smoking. After all, we are dealing with an addiction. Your brain is telling your body that you are going to suffer or possibly die without this drug, nicotine. Therefore, start programming your brain to think differently.

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Cigarette smoke is detrimental to a baby's health!

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10 Helpful Hints

So now you have a quit date. You are preparing by changing habits and convincing yourself that you are NOT a smoker. Eventually, that quit date is going to arrive. Now what? Well, there are tools you can use that will get you through the cravings. The following list of ideas may help:

1. Promise someone you love that you will quit (even if its you) or do this with a partner so that you can hold each other accountable - I promised my children

2. Ask for help if you need it. Its ok to wean yourself off of the nicotine with gum, patch, or prescription drugs provided by your medical professional. - I used the patch

3. Keep sugar-free gum, hard candy, or toothpicks, to help you deal with your "hand to mouth" habit - I had cinnamon sticks everywhere so I could hold them between my fingers and occasionally put them in my mouth (and it tasted so much better than a cigarette)

4. Make bright colored cards with at least 5 reasons why you WANT to quit smoking, and place them all over the areas you occupy most frequently (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, vehicle dash board, work station, computer, on the bottom of the tv screen, or maybe even take a pic and make it the wallpaper on your phone). - see photo for example

5. Take cigarette breaks!!! But don't smoke. We tend to believe that when we are upset, a cigarette calms us down. In fact, the nicotine is a stimulant, not a depressant and it is the oxygen from deep breathing that calms us. Unfortunately, when that oxygen is tainted with cigarette smoke, the calming effect is hindered. So, whether you are stressed or not, go outside when you need a break, and take several slow deep breaths. When you go back inside, you will feel satisfied. -To be honest, I would go outside and cry because I wanted a cigarette so badly, but I always felt better when I returned indoors

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6. Keep yourself busy. Take a walk, watch an intense movie, read a great book, adopt a new, hand focused, hobby like needle point or bedazzling, watch or play sports. - I plunged into genealogy research, keeping both hands on the computer. I also took more walks and went swimming to keep my mind off of smoking

7. Seek out local support groups for former smokers, whether it is through your local hospital, church, or community center. - I had an entire family of non smoking supporters (thank y'all...I love you!)

8. YOU are stronger than this addiction. When you think you may fail, talk yourself out of it. And if you fail, try again...and again...and again, until you succeed. Although relapse is part of recovery from an addiction, it isn't an excuse. If you succeed on the first attempt, KUDOS to you, my friend! - Over a period of approximately 10 years, I attempted to quit at least 4 times before I succeeded

9. Know that with each passing day, it will get easier and easier. However, it is recommended that you tackle this obstacle ONE DAY AT A TIME. - Sometimes I had to promise myself I wouldn't smoke for the next hour. Then, again, the hour after that, until the craving passed...and they always do

10. PRAY! With God, all things are possible! - I know you can do it; I believe in you. Comments and Questions are always welcome.

Embrace and enjoy this baby step toward your new lifestyle!

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Congrats on quitting, dahoglund! And thanks so much for your input.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It has been a long time since I quit.Nicotine gum helped a lot but you could only get it by prescription then. My doctor would not not the prescription. I chewed a lot of regular gum. The psychological thing I discovered though is to re identify yourself as a non smoking person. One reason we smoke is that we think of ourselves as smokers. It is a matter of self identity.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you so much, B.Leekley! I appreciate your kind words, and sharing my hub. Congratulations on quitting!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Your hub is good advice. My experience was similar when I quit. I shared this hub with my followers and on Twitter and Facebook.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      That's another great idea, Dick! Thanks so much for sharing, and God Bless you for helping so many people!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I'm happy to help anyone who wants to quit. That is the first step. If you don't want to quit, you won't. Its that simple.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, algarveview!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks so much, Beata!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      That is wonderful, Danette! My Dad did the same thing. When I did smoke, he would say to me, "just put 'em down!"

      Unfortunately, It wasn't that easy for me. But, I made it and I know others can too.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Best of luck to you, ChinaDoll. I know you can do it!

    • profile image

      Dick Rowland 5 years ago

      There's another way that's even easier. Contact a Certified Clinical Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist. I happen to be one, and I can tell you that Hypnotherapy has a fantastic success rate on smoking cessation. Many times, with only one visit, the long time smoker walks away, never to EVEN WANT to smoke again, and will never even have nicotine withdrawals. I suggest looking through the yellow pages in your area, or perhaps contact your physician to see if he/she supports hypnotherapy. (Some don't) I personally will not work with a client who is seeing a physician for the same symptom or treatment, unless the client brings written permission from the MD.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 5 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      I was having a smoke while reading this Hub, but it's true, I really want to stop and you have some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing them.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you Margie for a great advice, will be very useful for my friend:)

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Great hub, very useful for my friend:)...thank you and all the best with hubbing...

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      I quit cold turkey when I was 32 after smoking for 16 years. That was 23 years ago and it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be - I guess I was ready. But quitting my sugar addiction -- that's proving to be much harder because while cigarettes are purchased, they aren't EVERYWHERE like sugar is.

    • ChinaDoll32BX profile image

      ChinaDoll32BX 5 years ago from Bronx, New York

      Thank u so much i am trying so hard but it has been so difficult, i will try your tips

    • paxildepression profile image

      paxildepression 5 years ago

      Every addiction is hard to overcome. For some people drug dependence can be a struggle. In my case, if I had not read the "black" box warning on Paxil, I would not have known about Paxil Side Effects.

      http://www.paxilbirthdefectlaw.com/paxil-side-effe...

      At first, I asked my doctor to give me another prescription which poses less serious side effects. But after years of fighting with antidepressants and depression, going to the gym eventually saved me from it.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Congratulations to Rhonda and Carolyn! They are on the right track! I hope Challks and his wife are on the same path!

      Be healthy, my friends! You are loved and we want you to have the best quality of life possible...and to stick around for a while!

      Keep up the AWESOME work!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Happy to help, TotalHealth. The whole purpose for writing this hub was to help others. This is what worked for me. I wish you all the best. Thanks for the comment :)

    • TotalHealth profile image

      TotalHealth 5 years ago from Hermosa Beach, CA

      Nice post. Having smoked off and on for the last 10 years I can honestly attest to the difficulties experienced when trying to quit. Good luck and I plan to implement a few of the aforementioned suggestions as well!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I wish you both great success. I smoked for 20 years as well. It is NOT easy, but you certainly can do it. Please let me know if I can encourage you in any way.

    • challks profile image

      challks 5 years ago from USA

      my wife and I have talked about quiting smoking several times - im going to show her this guide and perhaps we can both get rid of this horrible addiction - ive been smoking over 20 years and i know if i dont quit soon , it will be to late

      thanks for this hub

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      That's a GREAT idea, CW Bob! I will have to remember that when others have questions or need support.

      And thank you kindly for the vote!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you so much, ripplemaker! I wish your friend all the best. It is one of the most difficult things she will ever do. But she'll do it, and be proud of herself.

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 5 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Good hub...you've got my vote. Oh, I particularly like #6, keeping busy as a substitute. I kept a pocket New Testament with me and memorized verses when I felt like a smoke and quit. Wanting to quit, as you say, is the real 'first step.'

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      A good friend of mine still smokes even after she tried quitting. But she is working now on loving herself more so she could decide to quit. Thank you for writing about this as I continue to see that people who choose to quit, can!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! This way to read and vote http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hub/A-HubNugg... Enjoy!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I know you can do it! It is literally "mind over matter" ...keep up the good work!

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      Rhonda 5 years ago

      The habits yes thank you for reminding me to tell myself I'm not a smoker thanks for checking up on me I can do this!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      How are you doing, Rhonda? Are you changing some habits and telling yourself you are NOT a smoker?

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I am so proud of you, Rhonda! That gives you plenty of time to prepare for the change. It is really difficult...but you can do it (and it does get easier)!

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      Rhonda65 5 years ago

      Thanks Margie :) my quite date is May 3 my grandsons first birthday :)

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
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      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, Rhonda! I look forward to your updates. I know you can do it. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

      Margie

    • profile image

      Rhonda 5 years ago

      I love this you really make me believe in myself and that I can do it this time you're advice is great. I have the tools thanks so much will update with my progress I'm excited!