The only variable to prospectively predict success was degree of perceived stress. Successful abstainers used self-reward strategies and positive self-statements. American Psychological Association 1985.
Behavior modification techniques (relaxation, rewards and punishment, avoiding "trigger" situations, etc), in group or individual sessions led by a psychologist, have an effect that is statistically significant. Internal Medicine 1995.
Who runs your life, is it you? Is it your friends? Or is it an inanimate object that you can not get enough of?
When we were smaller we had to say yes to everything, if we didn’t we were told off. Saying yes to everything puts stresses onto use because we really want to say no, but we couldn’t, so now we have more work than we should have.
Saying no is not against the rules and it is not wrong. If you don’t want something, say no. If you do not feel like doing something, say no. It is a comfort challenge that affects many people on this planet, smokers and non-smokers alike. Saying no is a relief and a release of freedom. Should we worry about what other people think? As long as saying no doesn’t get you fired or in jail, then it is the other persons problem. Saying no to people or saying no to a cigarette is a hugely important step that you must follow because it will mark the first time in this addiction relationship where you have actually stood up for yourself and said no.
If someone offers you a cigarette, say no. They do not need a reason and you tend to find that they are smoking because they can not say no. They need other people in their circle to make themselves feel better about smoking- bringing other people down with them. Just saying no is huge. If the people you are with persist, walk away. It will be hard but it will be uplifting. You do not need these people. If they were looking after your best interests would they nag at you to slowly kill yourself?
No. It’s a powerful word that is the cornerstone of habit breaking.
Do you know about that mental attitude power stuff? It works as well if you see yourself as that person. Mental changing is most powerful when you assign a sight to your words. Looking in the mirror and seeing a non-smoker is powerful. In Reservoir Dogs, Mr Orange look into the mirror and sees himself as the criminal, he sees himself as untouchable. Even though it is a movie, it perfectly replicates the image of what someone has to go through to become dedicated to the cause. Sometimes looking at yourself in the mirror, just like Steve Jobs as before, just brings down all those barriers, all those BS moments and lays them clear for yourself to see. If you don’t like the image change it…imagine what you are going to be and strive for it.
Stop the stupid comments “I have been smoking for ages”, “I have known a 99 year old person who stopped smoking and died”, “I have done it for this long, why should I quit now”? All these comments are selfish- you are only thinking of yourself. They are undermining- they are barriers that you are putting up, without even trying, you are being defeatist. They must stop and your mind needs to be reminded that these are wrong comments. Not one of these comment show any control…they all show a loss of control and a feeling of powerlessness…which are awful feeling to have.
See yourself as something else, usually an infant. It may sound odd and strange, but an infant is something that we all want to protect and cherish. Imagining your lungs, heart and health as an infant is an image in what is used to treat addictions. Again, it is training the mind to see smoking as something that is harmful rather than giving an obscure pleasure or relief from a situation. You are more likely to protect an infant who is not affected from smoking than someone who is.
Increasing your self esteem and confidence is a huge milestone that needs to pass. It may take some time to realize that you can actually do this but study upon study have shown that positive feelings and a confident mindset increases the chances of quitting dramatically. If you have no confidence in yourself…which many smokers have- they tend to have those negative images of failing. Then the chances of quitting are far less. But self confidence spreads through the rest of your life. Confident natures, not “big headed people” tend to be better at other aspects of life, not just quitting their addiction. It comes back to mind training…if you have no confidence in yourself then why should you achieve better things? Focusing on thought ideas and mind training will help: “I can do this” “I am better than nicotine” “I do not need that cigarette because I am in control”.
Don’t beat yourself up. Smoking is very hard to give up but it is also immensely easy to start because of subliminal advertisement, peer pressure and in the olden days the complete lack of knowledge of smoking but the increased amount of glamour attached to smoking. At heart we are still children. Deep down we still need reassurance, we still need to be loved and we still need to be in a community surrounding we people we know and with people that make us feel good.
Therefore sometimes we have to remind ourselves that yesterday was yesterday and we can’t change that. We can not dwell upon the past because we only hurt ourselves in doing so. Does worrying about what you did change the result? No, it is impossible, but it is also extremely hard to get out of that mindset. We started smoking…OK, we deal with it. We can’t say “what a stupid kid I was back then” as we are telling ourselves off…we are punishing ourselves and that just makes our self-esteem and confidence plummet. “We did our best” and “it’s not our fault” are good phrases because it teaches us to let go of that chain that keeps on dragging us back.
Did you know that you are technically married to the cigarette? You are dependant upon it and it upon you. Many smokers then say No No No!...then they still smoke. Or the “I can give up tomorrow” excuse is a common one. Smokers have many excuses to reasons with themselves and with others on why they can not quit. They feel justified and to a point some have even started up saying “we should be able to smoke where we like, it is our choice!” Do you know how weird that sounds.
It is justifying a habit and a relationship that makes no sense. What excuse do you have for not giving up? Go on, find the best one and you will realize that it is an excuse and one that has been used for a long time by other smokers to justify their habit. Some smokers will even state “I don’t have to justify anything, I can do what I want when I want and in a free county”. Sure…that is an excuse, that is a habit and that is an addiction talking back. And as we have seen before they didn’t smoke when they were babies, so something has caused them to smoke. And remember that smoking gives no pleasure- it is the mindless nature which is taking over- doing something because something else is occurring.
Are you going to set up a shield? Again this comes down to making sure that your barriers to resist smoking are present. Someone with low self esteem and low confidence will agree to attend situations that make them uncomfortable and they will follow where they know they shouldn’t. By saying no, I will not go to the smokers room, no I will not receive a cigarette from a co-worker, no I will not go outside to smoke- I will not smoke, no I will not accept things that make me stressful to cause me to smoke. Again no comes up more often than many other words because in some ways it is not a negative word, it is actually an empowerment word that protects you from external forces that make you uncomfortable, that make you uneasy and stressed.
If you go to the smokers room because you were asked, or even because you have always done it, then your shield is not present. If you say no to yourself, you are not going, you may be in turmoil but it is a battle that can be won especially when you don’t go for the first time. You will realize that you didn’t actually miss out on anything, in fact you did that little bit more work, you answered a phone without it going to message and you might have caught a message that office staff heard- which they might have forgot to tell you.
Remember that sometimes you might not be the life of the party. Low self-esteem people actually become excessively outgoing to hide their insecurities- bouncing around the parties they love the attention that groups bring them- especially when they smoke. The life of the party will be found elsewhere and smoking or having a cigarette in your hand is not a super weapon. A cigarette has not got super powers- it does not create you, it does not make you.
Now you can go outside, but do something else. Engage with other co-workers in conversation, just walk around admiring what you have missed and just admire creation. You don’t need to smoke to converse with people, you never have.
Shield building is also a kind of assertiveness which is needed within self-confidence. Being assertive is just being able to be yourself and to be more in charge of what you actually want rather than what other people want of you (which usually is too much). It gives us our lives back and helps us attain our self-respect which a lot of us are missing nowadays.
If one of your friends taunts you that you are not smoking, then they are not your friend or they do not understand the importance that it has on your life. If after you talk to them about how you want to change your life and they still taunt…well they are not your friend. You know, you do not have to have negative influences within your life. If something is giving you negative elements what is the point of it being in your life? If someone phones you nightly, every night for no reason and then depress you…ask them not to phone unless a real concern is needed.
Negative influences have a terrible effect on people’s confidence because negativity breeds negativity. Negative news issue on TV promote negative emotions to the people who watch it. I stopped watching the news because there was so much negativity. And do you know what? The news still went on, people told me the major issues in the world, but for 99% of the time I actually felt better. I couldn’t influence the news apart from not watching it. And oddly enough I feel better for it. I actually was apprehensive in reading the news because I knew that some weird person would have done some weird thing. It didn’t occur to me that I should just stop watching it.
Never hold onto emotions. As we have stated before, you can not go back and change the past. But holding onto grudges or thoughts is just plain wrong. If nothing was said at the time, leave it and forget it. Stating emotions at the time, without getting angry is the key to good mental health which in turn is key to good body health. If you feel annoyed at the time, say it without shouting or being offensive- there is no need. Some people are usually upset because they just didn’t expect a situation or they had no idea that it caused an issue. However digging up stuff from the past is equally as destructive and has no room in any argument because…it occurred in the past. If it wasn’t said then, forget it and move on.
I had a patient that said I was fat- out of thin air just said it. So I replied that “I am sorry I can not see you now as I do not like the conversation that you just started, it has no place around me and I found it offensive. I will only see you again when you have decided to change your view and find out why you said such things. I hope you have a good day”. I have said what I needed to say, it was polite and it expressed my feelings which can not be argued with. It also states that I have boundaries. It should not now stay with me. If I loose the patient, who cares, I have lost a stressful patient and if they can not see the error of their ways then they are not the right person for me.
This has occurred before with other situations with patients and with other professionals. People just can not say anything they want to you and stating that to them in a professional manner is such a relief. Most people mend their ways. If they don’t, forget them, you do not need negativity around yourself.
How are you going to cope with adversity? If something does go wrong, which inevitably it does. Or how are you going to cope with stress? How are you going to cope with the issues that trigger your smoking? If you don’t have a plan or even a strategy that will allow you to cope with the trigger then you will revert back to smoking.
It is all good and well to figure out what causes your smoking habit, but if those issues come back dealing with it is equally important. Unfortunately those triggers and dealing techniques are different from person to person. Some would be easy and some can be much harder. What if it is work that is causing your issues? How about financial situations? Sometimes big swathes in change can’t be changed as quick- but they can be started and sometimes just the thought of starting and the small amounts of change can be hugely impressive.
Remember that point we discussed earlier that your hands, especially the other hand not holding the cigarette, does something? Well it is time to do something with those hands. If you are at a party wash up, if you are around your home clean up, entertain even serve or cook the meal yourself. Hands need to be told that they are OK not doing something and they can be trained away from “asking” for a cigarette. If it is late at night, read a book- not on the computer, but a book you can hold. There are ways to occupy those hands and to get them away from the habit of smoking.1. Its Difficult To Quit Smoking7. So Far...The Best Treatment Methods Around