So 2014 is almost upon us and youâre making your New Year's resolutions list and checking it twice, wanting to change your 'naughties' to nice. If one of your resolutions is to kick the smoking habit once and for all, you're going to want to keep reading. Why? Because the simple fact is that quitting cigarettes for more than just a few weeks, a few months or even a few years is a simple formula. A formula which you SHOULD NOT and CANNOT take short cuts on. Having been a smoker myself and having helped more than 1,000 people quit smoking over the last 6 years, I'm now pretty confident that I know what it takes to not only stop smoking, but REMAIN a non-smoker.
Now, I'm going to be totally honest here and tell you something that my hypnotherapist colleagues would probably shot me for telling you, and that is: with the right mindset YOU CAN QUIT SMOKING ON YOUR OWN!! That's right. Although I do help people quit with therapy that combines Hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programing (NLP), all you really need to kick the habit once and for all is the right mindset and then perhaps a few tips and techniques. And guess what? Youâre going to get both of those things in this short article, hence if you are REALLY ready to quit, I think youâll find this a worthwhile read.
Having said that, I'm going to be honest again by telling you that not everything you're going to read below will be completely new to you. You might have heard some of the things I'm going to share, BUT, I'm sure you'll also read a thing or two that you may not have heard before or known about cigarettes, smoking and quitting. If you get even just one tip, idea or technique that makes your next quit attempt more successful, then I'm sure you'd agree that this article will have been worth your time.
Itâs important to know right up front that without the right mental preparation beforehand, no quit aid is going to part the skies for you. Every method will require you to put in some effort and commitment to say no when you're faced with the opportunity (or excuse) to smoke during those inevitable moments when you'll be tested.
So to make this article short, sharp and to the point, Iâm now going to share with you the 7 Steps to PERMANENTLY Quit Cigarettes from January 2014.
Step 1: It's not enough to know you should quit, need to quit or have to quit. You have to WANT to quit! Some smokers want all the obvious benefits of not smoking WITHOUT quitting cigarettes, and this obviously isn't going to happen. One way to create a MASSIVE want to quit is to get COMPLETELY clear on as many reasons to quit as possible. Take out a piece of paper or use your 'notes' section on your smart phone and write at the top of the page: I decided to quit on (day/month/year) for the following reasons'¦ and then write down each and every reason WHY you really really want to quit. The key here is to be as specific as possible. Eg; don't just write 'for my health', but âincreased lung capacity or increased enduranceâ etc. Once you have this list it's up to you to use it by keeping it close to you and looking at it often, morning and night, not only leading up to the day you quit, but also every time after your quit date whenever you are contemplating a cigarette.
Step 2: Increase your belief that smoking is MORE of a psychological habit rather than a drug addiction. You may already have this belief but the more you can reinforce it the more empowered you're going to be able to quit on your own. You see too many smokers have bought into the idea that they are drug addicts addicted to nicotine, so it gives them an excuse and reinforces a disempowering story, which is the exact story the drug companies want you to believe. But if quitting was all about 'nicotine' then the patch would work every time for everyone, but it doesn't! The simple fact is that no replacement therapy is going to give you the mindset needed to quit. The fact that second hand smokers donât feel the need to rush out and start smoking but can get the same illnesses as a smoker is another proof that the cigarette smoke is bad for your body but doesnât get you âhookedâ on cigarettes. And how do you form and maintain a habit? By the repetition of an action. Since it takes about 10 draws to finish a cigarette if you multiply the number of cigarettes youâre having in a day by 10 that's how many times youâre bringing your fingers to your lips a day. Big number isnât it?
But the biggest test if a drug or chemical is truly addictive to the body or not is to notice what happens to the body when you stop taking it all of a sudden. The really addictive drugs out there are heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. If you're a daily user of any of these kinds of drugs and have been for a while and you try to stop all of a sudden, you're going to feel some SERIOUS withdraw symptoms. Things like severe vomiting, shaking, sweating, muscle cramps, insomnia etc. Now who goes through this when they quit cigarettes? Nothing like that. Another indicator is to see the effects of the drug on new born babies. Of course we all know that cigarette smoke is bad for an unborn child, but it only elevates the risk of an effect on them, itâs not a guarantee. But if the mother is addicted to any of the hard drugs mentioned above, that new born is going to be an addicted mess 100% of the time!
The mind body connection is just SO powerful and smokers prove this to themselves every time they walk into an airport and jump on an airplane for 10 to 13 hours. You see the moment you walk into an airport you have the mindset of âsmoking just isnât an optionâ and so your brain produces the corresponding chemicals associated with that kind of mental conviction, it sends these chemicals to your cells and you feel fine. BUT, as soon as that plane starts to descend and your mindset switches from 'it's not possible' to I can have one in 20 minutesâ, your brain now produces those corresponding chemicals, feeds them to your cells and all of a sudden you feel anxious, edgy and irritable. The drug companies will tell you that's nicotine withdraw but if that's true why werenât you experiencing those feelings 1 hr into the flight? Hm . . . So the message here is get a 100% conviction that smoking just isnât an option so your brain can do itâs job and support you with the brain chemistry that will allow you to FEEL like quitting is easy.
Step 3: Prepare for your 'Quit Day' by starting to break your habit and routine of smoking and slowly starting to reduce the cigarettes you're having. There are a few ways to do this. Start by asking yourself how many cigarettes you think you REALLY canât go without (it's probably a LOT less than you're having in a day), and put those cigarettes in a separate container and only bring those ones for the day leaving the rest of the packet at home. This forces you to think about the ones you're having more and eliminates the ones you're smoking literally on automatic pilot which you could have gone without. Itâs no guarantee you won't just go buy more, but it'll make it harder and thatâs the point.
Start trying to delay as many smokes as you can by putting them off by 20 or 30 minutes. During the times that youâre smoking leading up to your quit day start to think of yourself as a non-smoker by contemplating the other things you could (and will) be doing in that moment when youâre not smoking. Be familiar with your triggers and start to mentally prepare a plan of attack as to how and what youâre going to do instead from that day onwards. At least a week or two before your quit day start to use a clear glass jar, at least 1ltr in size for your ash tray and butts. Start to collect them all and slowly top it up with water. Take a look at it often as it builds. This can be used after your quit day as well. Any time you THINK you want a cigarette, just look at this jar or take a smell of it and this should kill your urge pretty quickly. Realise that studies have shown it takes 21 days to break a habit so make this your hump day and give yourself a chance to adapt to a new routine.
Step 4: The day you decide to quit your body is going to be going through a detox process and some may feel this process a little more than others. The good news is that it only takes 3 to 5 days for every chemical in a cigarette to leave your body. There are 2 simple things you can do to support your body during this process and that is having plenty of natural sugars and drink plenty of water. Why natural sugars? Because what a lot of people don't know about cigarettes is that there is a LOT of sugar in cigarettes! Yep, thatâs right, 8 to 18% of one cigarette is sugar. Surprised? Most people are when they hear that. You see when they harvest tobacco from the fields to get rid of the foul, horrible, disgusting, bitter taste of raw tobacco they soak the leaves in large vats of sugar water where all kinds of flavouring and additives called âcasingsâ are then added to the tobacco.
Itâs for this reason that smokers stick to their âsmoothâ brand because they get used to the distinct flavour. Thereâs even sugar in the paper that itâs wrapped in. So what does this mean? It means that when you stop smoking all of a sudden your blood sugar levels are going to drop and then youâll experience the same things that diabetics experience when they have a blood sugar drop. This includes headaches, moodiness, irritability, slight hand shaking, all the things that the drug companies call ânicotine withdrawsâ. The simple solution is to have natural sugars which include fruit juice, fruit and honey. Try to avoid artificial sweets like soft drinks, energy drinks, lollies, chocolates, desserts and sweets. These give you a sugar rush and then a sugar crash, just like kids experience when they have that stuff.
The water is obviously important because our bodies are 75% water but the chemicals in cigarettes prevent your cells from absorbing water. Itâs for this reason that smoking has the aging effect on skin because your cells are literally starved of water. It's also what people are noticing when they might say that you look great after quitting. What they are observing is more water in your eyes and skin. Drinking plenty of water will help your detox process happen a lot faster and will help with circulation and as your circulation improves so will every other system and organ in your body. It also prevents most headaches. I suggest drinking at least 2 litres a day long term and the natural sugar intake for about 2 weeks.
Step 5: Be mindful and prepare yourself for the two most common reasons why people will start smoking again: stress and alcohol! Donât let these scenarios trick you. Start by researching stress management techniques. There are plenty of simple processes one can learn to cope with small and major life stressors. Deep breathing techniques are fast, simple yet effective. Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT is also a fast and simple process which I regularly use and teach my clients. Its roots are in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and It works with the bodyâs meridian lines where the life force or âchiâ is said to flow through. Stress is said to be a sign that these channels are blocked and releasing them through either acupuncture, acupressure massage or even just tapping, as in EFT, it can stimulate the flow of the energy, release the block and bring the body back to its natural state of wellbeing in body mind and spirit. Or you can try exercise, yoga, meditation, reading, walking, hot baths etc. Anything that helps you to unwind and detach is going to help.
After your quit day if you are ever feeling stressed and think you want a cigarette (which is a stimulant) just ask yourself what the FEELING is that you REALLY want. After all, itâs never the cigarette you want, but the feeling you THINK it will give you. Once you have pinpointed the feeling, such as ârelaxationâ for instance, then just think about all the other ways you could get that feeling. You might think a cigarette is a way to get there, but itâs a way youâll regret and you know it!
Beware of alcohol and its ability to reduce your decision making ability which can easily lead to thinking like: âwell, maybe just a puff, one wonât hurt, Iâve gone ages, I deserve itâ etc. You might feel you need to go without a drink for the first week or two. Or use your reasons for quitting list, read it on your way to your party or night out so you can reinforce to yourself the reasons you made the decision to quit.
Step 6: Use your own subconscious mind to become a non-smoker. One easy way to do this is to make use of two naturally occurring hypnotic states during your day. This is the moment just before you fall asleep at night and just when youâve woken up in the morning. It may not be a long time, but you only need a couple of minutes during that half-awake/half-asleep state to send powerful imagery to your unconscious mind. During this state visualise yourself looking at a movie screen and seeing yourself right in the middle of a moment in your day that use to be a trigger but as a NON-SMOKER. Make the picture bright, sharp, vivid, focussed, colourful, hear the sounds you would hear, feel the feelings of being a confident non-smoker in that moment. Shrink the image to the size of a postcard; imagine holding it in front of you, still seeing yourself in the image. Then imagine floating out above a timeline to some unspecified time in the future where youâre going to drop the postcard as it slots into your future timeline. Then imagine floating back to now. Once you know the process it only takes 3 minutes to do.
Step 7: Get help from an expert! If all else fails, get in touch with an expert on quitting who not only understands the mindset needed to quit, but is also equipped to work with you on a subconscious level to help disconnect the deeper connections to the smoking habit. Although I know what I have shared can help you quit, if you come across the right tool which address the smoking problem at its CAUSE, it can feel like such an easier battle to win.
To your health,
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