If you’re looking to give up smoking, you’re not alone, as this is one of the most common addictions people are craving to give up – yet, it’s also one of the toughest.
The truth is, many people suffer from addictive behaviour patterns, and when you think about what an addiction is, it’s mostly a repetitive (i.e. habitual) pattern of behaviour that we associate with feeling “better”. It’s what we turn to when craving relief; for instance, some people turn to sugar, some people turn to shopping, and others turn to exercise.
Anything in excess can be bad for us, even work and exercise, that we tend to consider as being “good” for us.
Unfortunately, the majority of addictive behaviour patterns tend to distract rather than resolve the underlying issue; meaning it masks our true challenge, providing temporary relief, but often causing long-term pain (e.g. health conditions).
When we think about addictions, such as smoking, we need to understand that the reason a person engages in this behaviour is to get away from pain; it’s to derive comfort. They aren’t doing it because they “have to” they are doing it because they “choose to” – whilst there are many counter-arguments to this, particularly with regard to the physiological effects of addiction (e.g nicotine) it is generally agreed that the human mind can overcome most challenges… meaning, you are not a prisoner to your addiction, it’s a choice.
The choice all comes down to the positive association you have with picking up a cigarette – you wouldn’t pick it up and pop it on your mouth if you viewed it as a ‘cancer stick’ even though, on an intellectual level you’re aware of the harm that it can cause.
The first step, to give up smoking, therefore, is to change the association
- CHANGE THE ASSOCIATION
You currently link pleasure to smoking, otherwise, you wouldn’t do it – on an emotional level, you associate the act of smoking as something that produces an emotional benefit to you. If your brain links more pleasure than pain to a particular behaviour, you will continue to do it.
Therefore, you need to find a way to link more pain to the behaviour, than pleasure. In this sense, many people tend to give up smoking after receiving a diagnosis of a serious condition such as cancer; or, when having a child, and seeing their baby cough due to their parents smoke.
Something needs to happen to change the association from being a pleasurable experience to linking it with pain.
- SUBSTITUTE THE ADDICTION
It can be helpful to substitute smoking cigarettes for a less damaging alternative, such a nicotine patches or vaping. Indeed, many people are looking for the best vaporizer in order to wean themselves off traditional cigarettes and provide a healthier alternative, that doesn’t involve going cold turkey.
- KEEP BUSY
When giving up any addiction, you must keep yourself busy – as the cravings are going to come and it can be a tough journey. The best way to get through it is to keep yourself as busy as possible, with activities that distract you from your cravings and nourish you in a different way… for instance, exercise is a great option for this, particular adventure activities that thoroughly engage you and provide a physiological hit of adrenaline and dopamine.