How to Quit Smoking The Mental Way
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.
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.
Cigarette smoke is detrimental to a baby's health!
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
What Best Describes You?
If you want to quit smoking, why?
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