Why haven’t you quit smoking yet? There are so many misleading beliefs out there, like urban legends, that you assumed are true. Everyone is prone to believing these myths if they hear them enough. The problem with these myths is that they can scare you out of successfully quitting or out of even trying to stop.
I bet at least a few will sound familiar.
- Quitting smoking is more challenging than quitting heroin.
- Nicotine is as addictive as cocaine.
- People who can’t quit on their own lack enough willpower
- If you quit, you will gain weight.
- Quitting cold turkey causes withdrawal.
- Smokers have an “addictive” personality.
- If you quit smoking, you need to find another vice or practice to calm your nerves.
What if I told you that they are all total BS. I want you to be honest with yourself for a second. You know the truth of why you have not quit, it is because you enjoy smoking! If there were no pleasure in it, then you would have stopped by now.
There is something pleasant, even sexy about smoking. Thanks to media messages and our own experiences, our brains associate smoking with relaxing after a good meal, good sex, a break from a stressful day.
This association and drive to seek pleasure are very appealing to the human brain. Our brains are super tricky when we find something that is accessible and gives us joy. Your brain is saying things like “It is the only thing I have left that I enjoy,” or “it is the only thing that calms me down,” or “I will get mean towards my family if I stop smoking.” The truth is that it is all behavioral and neurochemical. Every time you reward that desire to smoke with a cigarette, you get a dopamine hit. Every time you resist that desire, your brain comes up with all sorts of excuses of why one won’t hurt and you deserve to smoke (which is hilarious). Lots of clients describe getting the dopamine way before the cigarette even hits their lips. Just finding the pack, or lighting up, gives the release or the calming effect they seek.
The other truth is that at one point in your life, perhaps at a very young age, you actually tasted the chemicals, tar, and toxins in the cigarette, coughed your head off, and thought it was disgusting, but persisted in smoking anyway. After you had that harsh, noxious smoking experience, you went out of your way to train your brain to love the cigarette.
Here is the good news, If you can train your brain to enjoy a cigarette, you can also train your brain to stop loving the cigarette. It probably took weeks or months of training to start smoking, but it only takes a few weeks to train yourself out of it. The chemical addiction to nicotine is the easy part of quitting. I am sure you can handle a few days of discomfort or use a patch to get through it. The hard part is the mental connection to the habit of smoking.
Here are the steps to quitting for good.
- Write down all the reasons why you want to quit and make sure you love your reasons. Be very clear on why you decided to stop.
- Drop all the judgment and shame about yourself for not previously quitting. Judgment and shame lead to you hiding from others and yourself. Self-awareness is what helps you change, not hiding.
- Love your body and your health, and gather your thoughts about your determination. You need to write these thoughts down on paper. Do not do this in your head. It works much better on paper, as journaling slows down your thinking so that you can think and look at it. Write down “I am committed to quit smoking because…” and finish the sentence.
- Create a plan. If you want to quit cold turkey, plan a date, and write it in your calendar. If you plan to wean yourself off, then write down how many cigarettes you will smoke each day, and stick to it. You can set aside baggies with the cigarettes and place the butts back in there to keep yourself accountable.
- If you want to do all of this quickly and easily, consider hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy works because it teaches your subconscious brain to reject the cigarettes. This unique form of therapy breaks that emotional attachment to smoking.
Curious to find out more? Click here to set up a free discovery call, and see if Inner Freedom Therapy’s hypnotherapy/life coaching quitting program is right for you.