Strategies to Stop Smoking

overhead-view-of-glass-ashtray-full-of-cigarette-stubs_53990446  citation:

To succeed at anything, you need a plan and consistent action.

In any endeavor, a good strategy makes the difference between success and failure. Smoking cessation is no different. Yet, all too often someone wanting to quit neglects to think about or make one, and then gives up at the slightest difficulty when trying to stop. Why do they give up?

  • First, smoking is a coping device for a wide variety of things.

Bored? Smoke. Upset, irritated, angry? Smoke. Slightly nervous in social settings? Smoke. Bonding with friends who smoke? Alone, lonely, awkward, waiting for someone/something, just passing the time? Smoke. Smokers therefore need to find constructive ways to deal with all of the situations that smoking was used to handle.

  • Second, stress is the major cause of relapse. 

So it is best to learn new, additional stress management tools and practice them daily (even multiple times daily as needed) while quitting.

  • Third, smokers tend to forget their inner strengths and stick-to-it-ness that allowed them to succeed in other endeavors, and have unrealistic ideas of what succeeding in staying off cigarettes will take . 

It is important, therefore, to recall your previous achievements. Remind yourself what you did to accomplish other things that were worth doing. If you could do that, you can stop smoking too.

Anything worth doing, including things you have already accomplished, take applied effort over time.

For example, no one gave you a diploma because you signed up for school, or just because you may have been cute or a nice person. You had to earn your degree by attending class on a regular basis, writing your term papers, studying for and passing your exams. To get a paycheck you also had to earn it–showing up to work on time, learning the job and then completing whatever needed to be done every day. Same thing with raising a child. No infant survives to reach adulthood without someone feeding, washing, clothing, housing, training that child every day, year after year.

Remember what you already did that enabled you to accomplish anything important.

Then apply that same determination and application now to be and remain a fresh-air breather. After all, there is no way for you to really enjoy and get the most out of life without your health and abundant energy. You can protect your health, vitality and lifespan becoming and remaining a nonsmoker right now. Isn’t that reason enough to make it a priority and apply yourself?

Learning and practicing new stress management tools is an essential part of long-term success.

One of two reasons that a smoker will revert back to smoking is as a coping device for stress. So I teach all of my smoking cessation clients self-hypnosis, the Emotional Freedom Technique, Walking Mantras, Glass of Water Technique, and NLP techniques such as anchoring successes, connecting cigarettes/tobacco to something disgusting, and hypnotic interventions such as Parts Therapy. Put together, they make a powerful program. If interested, you can check out my stop smoking books listed at the end and also here

It is only by facing a challenge that a person finds his internal strength and personal power. Becoming a non-smoker will teach you that you have the power to do anything you make up your mind to do.

Remember that if any goal is or ever has been important to you, whether learning to read and write, ride a bicycle, drive a car, use the computer, get a degree, you applied yourself and practiced. That’s no different than learning how to be and remain a nonsmoker now.

Smoking is both a habit and an addiction.

The addictive substance, nicotine, is out of the body within the first week of no longer smoking. However, the psychological addiction to dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter in your brain released by nicotine, is a hook to relapse unless you find other ways to get those good feelings, for example, through exercise and fun activities like sports, singing, dancing, laughter, love and lovemaking, and recognition of achievements.

Make mini goals that are believable.

Dopamine is also a vital part of motivation as well, and people with low levels of dopamine are less likely to work for things. So setting up mini goals whether related to smoking cessation or not, and then acknowledging each achievement releases dopamine into your system.

Some people who quit smoking on their own have succeeded by cutting back by 5 cigarettes per week until they just stop. Because my clients get the super bonus of hypnosis, I have them program themselves before their first appointment, and then quit at their first session. You can focus on the short term goal of getting through the morning as a nonsmoker, then getting through to dinner, then to bedtime, then to morning, etc.

Eat foods rich in tyrosine and are antioxidants. 

Almonds, avocados, bananas, fish, dairy, meat, etc.) enable your body to make dopamine. Antioxidants help reduce free radical damage to the brain that produce dopamine. You can get antioxidants through Beta-carotene and carotenoids from greens, orange fruits and vegetables, asparagus, broccoli and beets, Vitamin C (citrus fruit, strawberries, peppers, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and Vitamin E from nuts, sunflower seeds, greens, broccoli and carrots. Adequate sleep is also very important.

Breaking the habit

As to the habit portion of smoking, the automatic hand to mouth reflexes, for example, and the associations with when, where, how you smoked, it takes about 21 times of doing it as a nonsmoker before it no longer seems awkward. For example, if you used to smoke first thing in the morning, now practice waking up and having a glass of water instead, or jump right into the shower for 21 days. If you used to smoke in the car, now practice driving 21 times as a nonsmoker. Within the month, doing the same things without a cigarette will seem more natural.

Do things differently.

It helps to do the things you will continue to do now without the smoke in a different way. For example, sit in a different chair or location from where you used to smoke. Have your coffee with both hands around your cup. Place a glass of water where the ashtray once was. Avoid your usual smoking places if possible. Change your routine.

Know why you are dumping the habit, and write it down. What do you want MORE than a smoke?

  • What do you hate about smoking?
  • Do you want to get rid of or to avoid something by quitting?

Is it the smell on yourself, your clothes, home and car, the taste in your mouth, your kiss? Is it the ashes, the holes in the carpet, getting burnt? How about the money you could better spend on something really fun or satisfying? Have you ever figured out what smoking costs you in terms of the tobacco plus dry cleaning plus sick days, doctor visits, etc.? How about the loss of energy, health problems or fear of them? Do you hate being controlled, having to go out in the snow, rain, cold or heat just to buy a pack, and worrying about running out, having to carry them everywhere? Do you feel like a social outcast or that people are judging you? Do you hate knowing that you will die 4-8 years sooner and suffer more illnesses (some really painful and totally unnecessary) all because of smoking?

The truth is that smokers spend good money to feel bad!

And that’s just plain stupid like a lot of things you probably did when you were young and didn’t know any better. Smoking is totally inappropriate for someone who loves and respects himself (or wants to), who considers himself as intelligent, as doing what is best for him which includes taking reasonable care of their health, and who wants to live life with joy and energy. So I am not surprised you want to get rid of the filty, dirty habit once and for all. It’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself, and one which will teach you that you can have the power, the inner resources to succeed at other things as well.

  • What positive things do you hope to gain by becoming a nonsmoker?

Write your reasons down and post them where you can see them. Carry around a card or little notepad with “Why I am doing this” or “Why I am becoming a nonsmoker now.” Read and reread it multiple times daily to stay focused, not just to psychologically gear you up to quit, or sustain you through the initial days, but anytime that a craving hits, six months or ten years from now. There will be pop quizzes along the way to see if you really mean to remain a nonsmoker. The card in your wallet can keep you on track.

  • I choose to become a nonsmoker because___________.

Did you ever have to break up with someone who might have been gorgeous, but was ‘bad news’, someone who treated you as an after thought, or even rotten? When you are breaking up a relationship, it is not the time to think about what you liked about your lover or how sexually compelling they might have been. You need to have your wits about you and remember why the relationship was wrong for you, what you hated about it, and know that you are breaking up because you deserve better.

Dwell on your reasons to quit.

Remind yourself that I deserve better health, I deserve abundant energy, I deserve to feel good in my own skin,” and go out after it by becoming a fresh-air breather NOW!

Cigarettes are poison.

There are over 4000 chemicals including arsenic, formaldehyde, cesium, nicotine, nicotinic acid, strontium, titanium, pesticides and much more. So it is no surprise that smoking hurts people and can, or already has, hurt you. For a start, smoking decreases your life span by about 8 years, and 4 years if you are a very light smoker, but increases your illness potential multiple times for the duration of that life.

Cigarettes are not your friend.

 They stink, they drain your energy, make you huff and puff going up a silly staircase or smallest hill. They set up fear that you might have cancer every time you cough. They run your life, preoccupy your mind, and make you worry that you will run out of them. And if you do run out of them, you have to go out in the rain, the snow, the cold, the heat, when you are tired, when you would rather be doing something else or nothing at all, all just to buy another pack! That is stupid! And why do you do that? It is because you enjoy them so much? Probably not so much! You buy them because you don’t like the uncomfortable feeling from not smoking and you don’t trust that you have the power to quit! However, you are now about to find out that you have the power to get them out of your life for good right now!

Becoming a nonsmoker is a decision, not something that you “try.” 

Once you make the decision to stop, and then a thought comes up to smoke, remind yourself

“It’s important that I honor this commitment to myself to be and remain a nonsmoker.”

“This is the most important thing I can do for my health right now, and I am so proud of myself.” 

Eliminate internal conflict with both the Emotional Freedom Technique and refocusing on why you are doing this.

What will sabotage you for sure is thinking “I want to smoke, but I shouldn’t.”  It is fine to admit any cravings, frustration, difficulties and tap them away. Look up the Emotional Freedom Technique online. There are lots of free training. Once you watch the procedure, you can say:

  • Even though I want a cigarette right now, I deeply love and accept myself.
  • Even though I want a cigarette when I ___ (eat/ drive/ talk on the phone/ after dinner/ get stressed or bored/ wake up, etc.), I deeply love and accept myself.
  • Even though a part of me doesn’t want to quit, I deeply love and accept myself. 

Identify yourself as a nonsmoker, and with people who have successfully quit.

You will automatically behave as if it is true. Remember, if other people could do this, why not you? Make your dominant thought one of being a nonsmoker.

Visualize succeeding. See it, feel it, make it real!

Vividly imagine going through your daily routines as a nonsmoker. Imagine going out into the future 30 days, 60, 90, holidays right up to a year from now all as a nonsmoker. Imagine people noticing how good you look, how you have more energy, better health, and you saying, “yes, I am a nonsmoker now and that has made all the difference!”

Breathe deeply.

Three slow, deep breaths anytime you need to relax, relieve stress, or clear away counterproductive thoughts or emotions. Exercise is even better, but not always possible in the moment, but deep breathing always is.

Practice thought stopping and switching.

Watch your thoughts. Thoughts precede emotion, and emotion precede action. Deliberately think thoughts that cause you to feel good and you will instant improve your brain chemistry. The moment you catch yourself with a sabotaging thought, switch to one that helps you.

If at any time you should you think “this is too hard”, focus on one of these:

  • “sooner or later I figure it out.”
  • “if ___ could do it, so can I.” 
  • “this is the most important thing I can do for my health, and I am so proud of myself.” 
  • there’s a part of me that knows how to do this with grace and ease, and that part is helping me now.”

And finally, don’t get cocky. Never have just one.

Having even one cigarette, even a puff will trigger the chemical addiction, and you will have to redo everything all over again. Don’t do it to yourself.

There are so many more tips I have of how you can help yourself become and remain a fresh-air breather. For further information and quitting on your own without outside help, have a look at my book Yes, You Can Stop Smokingd71e288f2c7b306368f39241f67a9898 It includes a hypnotic script, vital stress management tools including self-hypnosis and Emotional Freedom Technique instructions, and much more. 181 pages Just $29.95 to possibly save your life.

If you are a hypnotherapist, you can learn my entire professional program through my 194 page manual, Everything You Need to Help Others Quit! 53de181d7dc6790402835c35794fcc95 


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