Change your life, change your mind
As a smoker, you often thought of smoking as enjoyable somehow; they offered entertainment, company and companionship. You relate stopping smoking to feelings of pain and misery and for most of you, those opposing feelings are being reinforced on a subconscious level.
They’ve been bubbling just beneath the surface, you may have adopted false beliefs and treat them as facts when in reality they are only distorted misconceptions of the truth.
We have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day; and unfortunately most of them are negative – we’re always our own worst critics. In order to successfully cope with the transition stage you must learn how to pay attention to what your inner voice is telling you and then correct these false statements. Stick with it and you will become very good at listening to yourself and correcting the wrongs.
Just like conditioning our bodies with exercise conditioning your mind takes some effort. Work with the messages you are giving yourself, identify those which are not going to help you during transition and that will sabotage you on your journey to freedom from smoking.
Some examples of negative thoughts and suggested reframes are below:
"I won't enjoy the pub, because I can't smoke. I'll be miserable and hate every minute of it."
This type of statement is sabotaging your efforts at a subconscious level – you are giving yourself the message that you are somehow making a sacrifice by stopping smoking. Shift the focus and reframe with something like:
"Going to the pub smoke-free might be a challenge, and yes it might feel strange at first, but it will provide me with the practice I need to learn how to live my life cigarette free. I know this minor discomfort is temporary"
Talking to yourself positively is a crucial step to action. Once you manage the pub or party without smoking, you'll realise the truth in your positive corrections next time around. After all most people enjoy socialising with alcohol without having to smoke cigarettes while doing it and so can you.
"My friends get to smoke; why I can't I?"
Remember your friends must smoke in order to feed their nicotine addiction – no one gets to smoke. Counteract your self-pity with:
"My friends wish they could stop smoking like me. I remember how much I wanted to quit every time I smoked. I’m free of the vicious cycle forever now.”
"I'm bored without cigarettes - I have nothing to do now."
Reframe your thought:
“I used to waste nearly 1.5 hours every day smoking, I used to take 5 minutes to smoke each one. Of course I have more time in my day now. I'll do something productive with the time I used to waste smoking."
Sometimes the transition phase can be challenging, and you can blame stopping cigarettes for how you feel rather that identifying the true root cause.
"I feel irritable without my cigarettes. I'm impatient and angry without them."
Reinforce this way:
"Its the cigarettes that did this to me in the first place, I’m never going be a slave to nicotine again.”
Or if you say:
"I can’t stop thinking about cigarettes all the time.”
Add this statement:
"I know that transition to a nicotine free life is a temporary phase of the recovery process. I am getting stronger every day – I like the feeling of the poison leaving my body.”
Persistently challenge your negative thoughts and you will find the process of stopping smoking enjoyable and empowering – never give up on yourself and don’t sabotage your chances of freedom from addiction.