6 Psychological Techniques to Stop Smoking

October 30, 2016

Smoking can seriously affect our health. Poisoning our bodies, knowing full well that it has an immense ability to harm our health clashes directly with the image that you would like to have of ourselves. However, why don’t we quit?

The one responsible for this brainwashing is and has always been the tobacco industry. With its direct advertising or through literature or films it has managed to associate tobacco with glamour, beauty or assertiveness. In short, qualities that most of us would like to have.

Who doesn’t remember the lovely Marilyn Monroe holding a cigarette between her fingers in an extremely sensual way? Who wouldn’t want to be like her?

But smoking is anything but sensual. The tremendous consequences that it has on our health are well-known. Wrinkles, bad breath, yellowed teeth, bigger risk of heart attack, lung cancer… But even so, human beings are still hooked on this drug, one of the hardest to wean people off of. It is so mainstream that we don’t even realize that it is a drug like any other.

I like to smoke

Liar. Nobody likes to smoke, although many smokers tend to say they do simply because they’re addicts. Within them there is a “bug” that asks to be fed every time it feels hungry. The proof is in the fact that the first time they tried a cigarette, they didn’t like it at all. Nobody likes it, really.

It doesn’t have a pleasant taste or scent, but its addictive power confuses you and makes you believe that you truly love it in order to get you hooked.

man-smoking

It’s good for you to accept this reality and for you to start convincing yourself that it would be very beneficial for you to quit smoking once and for all. Drop the excuses: you don’t like it, it’s not good for you, it is slowly killing you, your quality of life is worse, you bother non-smokers, it is no longer glamorous…

What can I do to stop smoking?

Psychology has developed various cognitive-behavioral techniques to help smokers quit the habit. Nevertheless, these techniques will only work if the person is ready to take action. That is to say, it only works if they are completely determined to quit smoking and are motivated to do so.

Therefore, the first step is wanting to change, and that depends entirely on you. Ready to quit? Here are some techniques to help.

  1. Stimulation control: This consists in eliminating every stimulus that elicits the behavior of smoking. That is to say, everything that makes you want to smoke. That can include coffee, alcohol, seeing ashtrays around the house, going to a smokers club…
  2. In certain cases, it is even recommended that you get some distance from certain relationships for a while. But if this is too complicated for you, you could at least tell your friends that you want to quit smoking. Ask them to not offer you cigarettes or smoke in your presence.

no-written-in-cigarettes3. Change your usual brand of cigarettes. You should progressively change brands, from the one you usually smoke to the brand that has the lowest level of nicotine and tar. This way, your body will start adapting to the reduction of these substances slowly over time.

4. Progressive reduction: You need to reduce the amount of daily cigarettes you smoke 20% each week, until you abandon them completely. You have to write down the amount of cigarettes you smoke daily to see if you have met your goal. Furthermore, you can also reduce the amount of each cigarette you smoke. For example, if you tend to smoke down to the filter, you could start leaving the last 1/3 of the cigarette without smoking. The next week, leave half of it, and so on and so forth…

5. Delaying the act of smoking and tolerating the anxiety: If you tend to smoke as soon as you wake up, you should set the goal of delaying it at least half an hour. By delaying the act, you’ll learn to live with the bothersome anxiety. You’ll notice that it is not as bad as you thought. And also, at the end of the day, you’ll have smoked less. Including relaxation techniques into your routine is also highly recommended.

6. Cognitive exercises: Be aware that tobacco is a drug that controls, harms and steals from us, taking money from our pocket and giving it to the tobacco industry… Where’s the good in that? It is very important that, every time that you feel the compelling urge to smoke, you maintain an inner dialogue. Remind yourself just how harmful tobacco is for you. Besides, don’t hide the truth from yourself: you don’t need tobacco. Your life will be better without it. You truly want to quit, etc.