Smoking Helps you Relax?

By: Patrick Glancy

I've helped a lot of people quit smoking. While doing this, I've been told a lot of reasons why it is good to smoke.

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 completely believe these reasons, or why know you should quit smoking. I also know a part of you DOES believe these things, and more.

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.

Almost all of the reasons you continue smoking can easily be proven wrong. Example: Maybe smoking helps you relax during work breaks because you get away and go outside to do it.

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.

It all comes down to two things. The belief that smoking will make you feel better and what you're trying to feel better than. That's it.

If you're thirsty you crave something to drink. If you're hungry you crave food. If you feel bad (tired, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, lonely, whatever...) you want to feel good. And, whatever your mind has been taught feels good, you will crave.

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 needs to be helped. If it's about stress, get it managed, if it's a difficult situation, do what you can to take care of it or get some help. If it's a bad feeling you get that is beyond what the situation deserves, behavior modification might be what you need.

Second, the 'looking to feel better' side of things needs to be updated. (it's common that this is about mistaken beliefs, formed when young, that smoking is about being an adult, in control, strong willed, independent, etc...) Of course, a cigarette is only leaf and chemicals wrapped in paper. The good feeling is the emotions your mind has attached to this action. It could just as easily be ice cream or cookies that your mind has attached good feelings with.

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.

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Patrick Glancy, NGH Board Certified Hypnotist
Quit Smoking Hypnosis
Quick Hypnosis - Self-Help Hypnosis on CD and MP3 Download

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