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Smoking Helps You Relax?

Feb 9, 2008
I've worked with a lot of people to quit smoking. In doing this, I have heard all kinds of reasons that it might be better if they kept smoking.

I've been told smoking sharpens your mind, relaxes you, calms you, keeps you from yelling at the kids (or spouse), tastes good with coffee, tastes better after a meal. In short, makes you feel "better". (I always ask "better than what"?)

I know you don't really believe these reasons, or why would you be trying to stop smoking. Still, a part of you DOES believe these reasons.

You do have a strong reason to keep smoking or you would have quit by now. Just so you know, there are not any laws stating your reason to keep smoking needs to make any sense. It rarely does.

In fact, 99% of the reasons you continue can easily be proven incorrect. Maybe smoking keeps you from blowing up and yelling at your spouse because you're mouth is full of smoke, or even better, you have to go outside to smoke.

Even when you know the reason doesn't make sense that knowledge doesn't always help you stop. It might just add to your frustration in the struggle to stop. Just one more reason to stop that doesn't out-weigh the craving to continue.

There are two important sides to this. The feeling that smoking will make you feel better and, the feeling you want to feel better than. That's what needs to be changed.

If you're too hot, you look for ways to cool off. If you're leg hurts you look for pain relief. If you feel bad (tired, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, lonely, whatever...) you look to feel good. If you have held the belief that smoking makes you feel good, that's where your mind takes you.

This is an only slightly simplified explanation of a craving. Most smokers have more than one type of craving like, the 'first thing in the morning' craving feels different than the 'after lunch' craving. But the same model applies.

So how to help this situation? I can spend a few articles explaining it (and I have, look for them) But, it comes down to changing the feelings, motivations and beliefs involved.

First, the 'bad feeling' side of things needs to be addressed. If it's too much stress, get it managed, if it's a situation that makes you lonely, do what you can to fix it, or look for help.

Second, you belief that smoking helps you feel good (it's probably the innocent mistake that smoking equals being an adult, in control, strong, capable, etc...) In truth, a cigarette is a plant leaf and chemicals wrapped in paper. The good feeling you're anticipating from smoking is created by your mind. YOU make yourself feel better when you smoke. So it only makes sense that you can make yourself feel good by doing something that is healthy. If, your mind believes it makes you feel good.

And that's the trick. Quit smoking is mainly about modifying behavior. That's why the success rate of medication and nicotine replacement alone is so poor. The only current exception is Chantix and even Pfizer, the makers of Chantix, recommend behavior modification along with the medication.
About the Author
Quit Smoking in Portland Oregon with the help of Glancy Hypnosis
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