So you’ve finally decided to quit. Congrats! You are now at the ‘determination’ stage of quitting smoking – the part where you are more than committed to take action and change your negative behavior for the better. But the game is not yet over. In fact, it just started.
You probably know that seeking professional help, identifying your reasons to stop smoking, learning about the real dangers of tobacco, and using the right treatment strategy are going to increase your chances of quitting for good. That’s correct. However, you should also be aware of some things that may actually hinder you from hitting your goals.
If this is the first time you are quitting smoking, you may feel that it’s going to be easy and you are going to be cigarette-free within a week or probably, a month. That’s a good mindset but it doesn’t always work that way. You need to understand that quitting is a process, not an event. Eliminating a habit that has been there for years can be challenging. Don’t take this as a discouragement. The message is this: Don’t be impatient! Don’t give up! You may face slips and falls but that’s okay. Just keep trying.
During the first days and weeks of smoking cessation, you are likely to experience mind games about nicotine – that is, you are going to think about cigarettes all the time. For some quitters, it can be paralyzing to imagine not lighting up ever again. It is as if something is missing. That’s just a part of you who is still hooked to cigarettes. The truth is that you are not going to miss a thing when you stop smoking, rather gain lots and lots of rewards. When nicotine games are bugging your mind, beat them by reciting your reasons for quitting aloud, including its benefits.
Research would tell us that humans are hardwired to think about negative things. Scientists call it the ‘negativity bias’. Here’s the thing – back in the days, our ancestors need to think negatively to stay alert of the predators. Now, there are fewer things to be afraid of so we need not be too focused on the ‘dark’ side of life. Pessimism is not going to help you quit. Rather, it will keep you uninspired, discouraged and stressed. When you start to quit, start paying attention to your thoughts and eliminate those that don’t serve your best interests. Look at your failed attempts to quit smoking not as ‘failures’ but experiences to learn from.
Lack of Self-Care
Quitting smoking is the time when you need to be extra caring to yourself. You should make sure that your physical needs are met. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough rest and sleep and drink more water – taking care of your body is a great way to minimize the effects of nicotine withdrawal and to speed up your recovery from the damages caused by smoking.
Too Much Stress
Just as you take care of your physical health, you also want to take care of your emotional well-being. Research shows that stress or burnout triggers people to go back to their old habits. Don’t let yourself reach the highest level of exhaustion. Slow down a little and learn about healthy ways to de-stress.
By being extra patient, overcoming ‘junkie thinking’, paying more attention to your thoughts and getting rid of the negative ones, practicing self-care, and managing your stress levels, you can greatly increase your chance of quitting smoking today and say ‘hello’ to a healthier, brighter and happier future.