Many smokers learn, “If I smoke, my mood gets better.” While smoking in the short-term improves mood, it produces a decline in mood, long-term. How do you take care of your mood while trying to quit smoking? Have you heard the phrase, “Fake it till you make it?” It is important when quitting smoking to develop a new plan for self-care to help boost your mood. One way to do this is through Behavioral Activation (BA). The premise of BA is to increase your contact with “feel good” rewarding activities that are aligned with a goal, such as quitting smoking. So while you may not feel like doing the distracting activity in your quit plan because of low mood, “fake it” and do it anyway. If you force yourself, for example, to go for a walk when a craving hits, your thoughts will brighten and your mood will lift, preventing increased depression and keeping you on track with quitting. The next time, you are feeling blue, force yourself to do an activity that you know in the end will bring you joy and help keep you on track with your goals.
Steps for behavioral activation:
- Choose specific, positive actions you can take each day to improve your mood
- Notice when you feel resistance to engaging in a behavior you know will help you (e.g., "I don't feel like going for a walk," etc.)
- Acknowledge that the resistance may be due to existing stress or depression.
- Decide to do it anyway (fake it till you make it!)
- Notice how it improved your thoughts and feelings