I think it's quite safe to say that everyone either has or knows someone who has tried to stop smoking. Smoking is such a standard behaviour which people have learned to relate with fun times and belonging but also as a quick fix stress relief. The truth is that nobody actually enjoys smoking, even if they claim otherwise. Allen Carr in his book Stop Smoking Now likens it to enjoying the sensation of suffocation and he is not wrong. Inhaling the cigarette smoke means breathing in about 7000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanides and ammonia. 69 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer, this information is freely available on various websites including Ash.org.uk, Quit.org.uk and NHS Choices. Lack of information on how bad smoking is for health is not the problem, it's the motivation.
Letting go of a 'thing' that has supported you through thick and thin is obviously not easy. Think of a toddler who is being weened off a pacifier. It can take numerous tantrums and screams of bloody murder but the change will happen. This metaphor is actually quite interesting... from sucking on a pacifier to dragging on a cigarette, one form of oral gratification for another.
Kids learn by proxy, they don't need to actually do something to imagine it working. If a child grows up with smoking parents who smoke under stress they will learn that a cigarette is a safe way to deal with stress. When they get older and encounter a stressful situation in school or wherever their brain will search for the best perceived way to reduce that stress and bang! a good trusty method used by the parents will pop to mind. It works the same with overeating, and it's easy t o see why. Cigarette lit, homeostasis achieved, if only for a moment. The vicious circle is born as from that moment on the cravings fro nicotine will continue recreating that stress, complete with shaking of hands. Smoking is the cause and the effect.
So how do you stop? Well, it takes practice. On average it takes about 7-8 tries to change a behaviour for the change to be final. The truth is, you will get really good at quitting - you will know what symptoms to expect: anger, sadness, hunger, even rage and resentment towards everyone, especially towards other smokers. You'll have heightened awareness of every smoking cigarette out there. Cravings for sugar (another stimulant). And you will know these feelings will pass. You will have figured out the best coping mechanisms for stress: music, relaxation, reading, physical activity and so on. Moving from the victim mindset ("Stuff is happening to me and i have no control over it!") to an adult mindset ("I'm making things happen in my life.") is vital for the lasting change to take place.
Change takes effort and time. There is no magic pill or a potion or therapy style that will make you stop smoking, although some governing bodies suggest prescription medication (FDA.gov). I believe that in general drugs are not necessary to stop smoking. The part that wants to believe that magic solutions exist is the victim in us refusing to take responsibility. Meditation will help you increase awareness of that part of yourself that is holding on to fear. Through contemplation and self reflection you will learn that it 's safe to let go of old useless self-defeating behaviours.
Another reason why a lot of people fail is because they feel that they have to go at it alone. Asking for help might be the best thing you've done for yourself.
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