Here are 5 strategies that will make stopping smoking easier;
1. Become a 'non-smoker' not an 'ex-smoker'. Ex-smokers usually replace smoking with something else, often comfort food. Smoking promotes the release of dopamine and endorphins in the brain. These are 'happy hormones'. Comfort food does the same and this is what leads to weight gain in ex-smokers when they replace smoking with eating. Non-smokers have nothing to replace. Also, ex-smokers often develop a fanatical intolerance to all things related to smoking. They do their very best to convince others to stop as well and so become a real pain in the backside for their friends.
2. Change your daily routine. This helps avoid actions and behaviour linked to smoking. If at 11am you usually take a cup of coffee outside and have a smoke, make a change. Have your coffee at a different time and place. This will cut the link in your subconscious mind between that time, place and action, which is smoking. Creating a smoking diary and log where you are and what you are doing each time you smoke will show where patterns of behaviour are habitual rather than random or spontaneous.
3. Don't tell friends you're "trying to give up". They will only pressure to you to have a smoke. If you doubt this wait until they get their cigarettes out and say loudly "Oh I'm trying to give up so I've left mine at home" or "I'm trying to give up so I've thrown mine away." Then see how long it is before they are insisting you have one.
4. Think in a different way. For many people the first month of quitting is the easiest. They are keen and on guard for any temptation to light up. As the time goes by they often slip back into their old patterns of behaviour and find that they do have a smoke. They then immediately decide that they have failed. Nothing is further from the truth. Just think about it in a different way. If you were a 15 a day smoker and you find yourself having a cigarette don't beat yourself up over the one you have had. Give yourself a pat on the back for the 14 you didn't smoke that day! You experienced a blip in your becoming a non-smoker. It doesn't follow that you won't be able to pick up the reins and continue towards regaining your health.
5. Think of the gains not losses. Many people think becoming a non-smoker deprives them of something. We use the term 'giving up smoking' and this sets up a sense of loss. Research around the world shows that just 8 hours after becoming a non-smoker the carbon-monoxide level in the blood drops to normal. In only 24 hours the risk of heart attack decreases and in 90 days the lung efficiency increases by up to 30%. After 120 days a completely new supply of healthy blood cells are in your system. 1 year after becoming a non-smoker the additional risk of coronary heart disease is 50% less than that of a smoker. These are all fantastic gains and thinking of them promotes a positive train of thought.
Having read through this you can see the way in which I've chosen words to promote positive thinking. By adapting your way of thinking and speaking you can immediately begin to change how you see yourself. It is not 'if I can give up smoking' or even 'I'm going to give up smoking' it is 'I am now a non-smoker'.
Mike Nicolson is a therapist based in Essex who believes that there is no 'one size fits all' technique. We need an individually tailored way to help us quit. The more options the better the chance of finding the right combination for us. To find out more about using a tri-therapy approach for quitting smoking go to http://www.mikenicolson.co.uk