We were all smokers. Thus, we are all experts at mind games. We had to be, to continue to do something as self-destructive as smoking and still sleep at night! If you allow those old mind games to continue, you are going to be facing a “horrible, difficult, torturous period of penance”, so take the easy way. Make a mental change, and try some new, fresh mind games! Don’t quit smoking because you have to. Rather, embark on a challenging and rewarding adventure of teaching yourself how to be a non-smoker. Go ahead and laugh, but I guarantee the second option is more pleasant and thus easier. That is not to say it won’t be without some effort on your part, but embracing the process instead of head-butting it is the best way to go.
Here are some tricks to get you started:
Never allow yourself to think “I need to smoke.”That’s way too emotional. Change it to something wordy enough to take the passion out of the sentiment, like, “I’m feeling some tension that I would have interpreted in the past as a desire for a cigarette.” Same goes for “I want to smoke.” In addition to being unemotional, analyzing the feeling makes you realize that you are not actually in pain over a craving to smoke.
Never allow yourself to think “I could have just one.” Change it to “I could become a smoker again.” They amount to the same thing, after all.
Never allow yourself to visualize yourself enjoying a cigarette. Instead, change the mental image to a picture of the nastiest, most uncomfortable, unwanted cigarettes you ever smoked.
Often point out the good stuff to yourself. Everyone sees the healing changes at different rates, but even on your first smoke-free day you can find something, even if it’s just your money jar. As you notice them, write them down. You’ll be amazed at how fast you come to take the benefits for granted!
Often tell yourself how good you feel. It’s just as easy to say “I feel great” as it is to say“Oh, am I ever suffering”. Easier, actually — there are fewer syllables. And your subconscious really does come to believe what you tell yourself. Try writing, “I am SO GLAD to be FREE” on a post-it and sticking it to your bathroom mirror so that you are sure to remind yourself of this every morning.
Never deny yourself something good because you quit smoking. Say you associate sitting on your porch with smoking. In the first days of quitting we associate everything with smoking. Deal with the triggers early on and don’t leave yourself feeling deprived. One exception is alcohol. Take it slow and easy on a trigger that also lowers your inhibitions and capacity for rational thought.
Often laugh. Laughter is a much better, more effective, and healthier relaxant than inhaling poisons. Try some Youtube therapy. Or go down to the quit buddies folder and make some new friends.
Never doubt that one cigarette will make you a smoker again. There have been too many stories of people who’d been quit for years and wound up right back at their old level, kicking themselves every puff of the way, for anyone to seriously question the law of addiction. (Which, by the way, is a Law like “gravity,” not a law like the “speed limit”. You might be able to drive too fast without getting caught, but I wouldn’t recommend stepping out of a plane just because nobody’s around to see you.)
Never let your mind fall into the old rut of junkie thinking. Don’t think of quitting as an end. It’s the beginning of a healthy new lifestyle where unforeseen opportunities will open to you. Don’t let your “junkie” tell you that the damage is already done. Yeah, you may have done some damage, but you don’t have to do one bit more. Don’t keep telling yourself that it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort, sure… but so does everything worth doing. You are learning new things and developing new skills every day. You are doing this! You rock!
Never let your mind start to romanticize how great everything was when you “got to” smoke. And don’t envy the smokers who are standing outside furtively getting their fix. Instead, remember what it was really like to need to smoke. If smoking was all that great, you wouldn’t have ever considered quitting, right?! Take a minute now and remember all the lousy stuff about needing to smoke.
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