A lot has been said about quitting smoking. Here is what I think is important to be successful.
The current smoking rate in Brisbane is 12% of the population. My goal has always been to get this under 10%, by 2020. At present this is still on track to occur.
2/3 of smokers say they would quit, if they didn’t have to deal with cravings and that is what I work with people on.
Most smokers have quit for a few weeks before and started again. After this amount of time, nicotine is no longer the problem. So what is?
I asked 1000 smokers why they started again after quitting. In every case so far, it has only been for 1 of these 3 reasons.
1. Something stressful or emotional happened.
2. They were socialising/drinking and “just had one.”
3. Their partner or close friend was smoking around them.
When you have effective ways to manage your stress levels and are comfortable socialising with anyone, smoker or not, you will quit for good.
It won’t always be easy. There might be days when an urge comes back. When we measure this, a craving lasts for as little 4-5 minutes. Could you use a distraction at this time? Are you in need of stress relief from the kids or your job?
Your previous action when under stress was to smoke again, even though you’d already quit. Satisfy that need in a grown up way and you will stay on track.
On any day you feel stressed, or challenged, retrain your brain by doing these steps:
- Take 15 breaths of fresh air right into your belly.
- Have a glass of water.
- Eat fruit or a healthy snack.
- Go for a walk/ do some exercise.
- Solve a problem or something you love.
If you get through all 5 of these and you still have a craving, I will be shocked. The purpose of using these healthy alternatives, is to give your body what it is really looking for. The part of your brain where you crave cigarettes, is in a similar location, to where you get the signal for hydration and hunger.
You are giving your body what it really needs and there is also a distraction value by doing something else. 5 minutes pass and you’re back on track…
Always easy? No. But it gives you actions to take. Cigarette cravings may occur when stress relief is needed, you aren’t drinking water or aren’t eating regular meals.
The goal when quitting smoking, should always be to quit completely. Cutting back to even 1 cigarette a day, leaves the door open for that to build back up where it was you were before. The “I’ll just have 1 cigarette” thought is not a winning mindset
Jeremy Walker is the owner of Inspire Hypnotherapy and it is his mission to help people become addiction-free, anxiety-free and depression-free. He works with those determined to beat the habit of smoking forever. This service is worldwide.