|11-07-2006, 02:31 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
How to quit smoking (and the trick to willpower)...
…Can be summed up in this sentence – You don’t have to do what your thoughts and feelings tell you to do!!!
The first time I quit smoking I had a mantra which went like this –
There is no point in smoking when its so easy to quit, all you have to do is deal with each individual craving, it doesn’t effect your life negatively to quit smoking, in fact it enables you to live your life more fully by allowing you to exercise, have more motivation and be in a better mood.
I repeated that to myself over and over for about two weeks and then I quit with absolutely no effort. There was no struggle and no strain at all. This was because the beliefs I had about smoking were totally changed from the repetition of the mantra. The way I saw smoking totally changed and therefore my experience of smoking changed also.
To really understand the changes in belief its important to break apart the mantra.
There is no point in smoking when it is so easy to quit -
It is my belief (and experience) that when you get something, like really get something and know it completely, it becomes effortless and easy to do. The first part of the mantra is about reminding myself that it is easy which helped to motivate me. Most people see quitting smoking as something that will greatly disrupt their life which simply isn’t true and helps to make people give up. Knowing that quitting can be an easy process that doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of life makes it much easier. The next part explains further why it is an easy process which leads me to…
All you have to do is deal with each individual craving –
Most people when they quit smoking think that they are dealing with a long drawn out process when all they are actually dealing with is very short cravings that last from 5 to 30 seconds. At the most I used to get about 20-30 cravings a day. This means, at the very most, I would be dealing with 15 minutes of cravings a day. When you look at it like this you realise that it takes very little effort to actually stop. Your not dealing with days of uncomfortableness, your dealing with minutes which are conveniently split up into 10-30 second cravings throughout the day. When you get used to dealing with cravings they become much less frequent, in fact they drop massively in frequency. I now get about 2 cravings a week on average.
The way you deal with cravings is with what I alluded to at the start of this post – Know that you don’t have to do what your thoughts and feelings tell you to do. This takes awareness. If you can become aware of the thoughts and feelings that precede you actually smoking then you can decide in that moment to accept those thoughts and feeling and stay committed to not smoking. An example from my own experience is where I will actually think to myself “Right!!! I’ve had enough! I’m going to get some cigarettes!” and then I will simply let that thought and the accompanying desire for nicotine pass. It doesn’t matter how determined to smoke your thoughts sound, remember that they are only habitual thought processes that occurr as a result of your experiences. They don’t have to determine what you actually do. Behave in accordance with your commitment to not smoke. You don’t have to do what you thoughts and feelings tell you to do.
It doesn’t affect your life negatively to quit smoking –
This is another reminder that you aren’t creating stress for yourself and that it will be an easy process. Its actually going to be a very positive process which leads me to the next point…
In fact it enables you to live your life more fully by allowing you to exercise, have more motivation and be in a better mood –
This is where I listed some of the positive aspects of quitting that were significant for me. I really enjoy exercise and the constant reminder that I will exercise more effectively was a great motivator to quit. These might be different for you. The reasons to quit are many and varied so I am sure that everyone will have there own personal reasons. Be focused on your reason for quitting and remind yourself of them often.
Other tips –
Quit in the afternoon not first thing in morning. Your willpower is weakest when you first wake up so have a couple of cigarettes and then quit when your energy is at its peak to get the best momentum.
Work up to it and say mantra for a couple of weeks first. Set a date and makea definate committment to stop for good.
Don’t make a big deal out of withdrawals, find a time when you can get past the first few days without stress. The weekend is a good one. I experienced low energy and concentration for a couple of days. Very heavy smokers might even want to take a long weekend to get past them.
Watch out for cravings in new situations. Each different place you visit (at home, in a bar/club, at work etc.) is a new challenge. If you avoid smoky bars for a couple of months you might find that the first time you go to one you get a lot of cravings. Be prepared for this because you will have to get used to not smoking in all the different environments you enter.
Meditate to improve awareness. The better you become at noticing those cravings and catching them before your automatic behaviour takes over and you smoke, the easier it will be.
If its easy to stop it become easy to start because you know how easy it will be stop again. Beware the temptation to just smoke when you go for a drink because it can lead to smoking all the time. The only time you are really tempted to smoke is when you forget how easy it is. Remember the first part of the mantra – THERE IS NO POINT IN SMOKING when its so easy to quit.
Keep trying if you fail – it will get easy when you get it.
The advice I have just given was partly based on an article I read about using hypnosis to quit (from a magazine – I forget which one). That is when I came up with using the repetition of a mantra to change belief instead of a hypnotic trance.
I hope this helps people to quit smoking (or whatever you are addicted to). This kind of awareness and realisation that you don’t have to be a slave to the habitual patterns in your mind is also the root of willpower.
Thanks for reading.
Last edited by demk; 11-07-2006 at 02:39 PM.
|11-07-2006, 03:27 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Paris, France
First of all congratulations to all of you who are trying to quit smoking. Wanting to quit is the first step to be smoke free.
I am replying to this post because I successfully quit smoking about 2 years ago. I took the habit to smoke when I was 16 years old and it took me 9 years to break free. In those 9 years, I think I attempted many times to quit... but it's fair to say that I made 5 serious attempts (more than one month). So it took me a while to succeed. So I would say first: keep trying!
For me, getting rid of the physical craving was always the easiest: it lasts 2 to 3 days MAX, and if you quit in a relaxing setting (like holidays) it's easy to hold for that short period of time.
The most difficult part is the mental addiction. Once the physical crave is out of the way, you still have to struggle with your demons that tell you: you need to light a cigarette. One book in particular helped me quit and enabled me to do it cold turkey. The book is called Easyway to Stop Smoking, by a guy named Allen Carr. I have no shame advertising for it, because I saved so much money and also so many years of my life that it's one of the best non-fiction readings I've ever had.
In a nutshell, Allen Carr explains to you the process of smoking. Why do you smoke? Why are you addicted? Why do you go back to it? the first answer is: because you are addicted. Addictions are really tricky: they trigger real physical cravings, but they also play on your mind. Your mind will make up powerful excuses to justify your addiction... and these excuses are so strong that they hold into your brain, even when the addiction is gone from your body.
Those excuses include:
I smoke because I am hungry
I smoke because I am bored
I smoke because I like it
I smoke because I am tired
I smoke because I am stressed
I smoke because it's cool
Then Allen Carr destroys these excuses, by showing your brain how they are wrong, how they are falsehoods. This book freed my mind and I never missed it after I quit.
Good luck to you everyone!
|11-07-2006, 03:43 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
That sounds like a really good book to check out. The whole idea of reframing is what makes quitting smoking so much easier. Once you change your thoughts about something that thing changes too. With my method I am aware of these thoughts and know that I dont have to do what they tell me. Whatever clever thought/excuse/trick my brain throws up I stay committed to not smoking and I simply dont do what they say.
Allen Carr seems like the authority on quitting smoking though so check those books out. Reading the right books can help implant the right attitude for success in a certain field.
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