Focus and Diffuse: Shifting Perspective

Blog Post created by PirateQueen on May 16, 2017

What a horrid Quit Day! (Aren't they always???) After my roommate skipped out on 2 months rent, utilities and groceries, I found she'd taken nearly all my towels and bedding, too! And ruined two of my new T-Fal pots and pans from a gift set I'd not be able to replace. Then the ATM was broken. Then this happened... then that happened...


But I am proud of myself for not caving in and smoking! Just thinking about the lost items, the ruined items, the rest of the month with no groceries or Dutch Brothers Mochas, standing in the long bank line when I was in a huge hurry to get home and really really had to pee, so many things happened today that made me feel like lighting up. The tightness in my chest, the knot in my stomach, irregular breathing, shaking hands- all of these would have had me rushing for a cigarette just 24 hours ago... Deep breaths, a lozenge, prayers, texts to friends (still waiting for replies), sips of water, a few swear words under my breath, and writing, are keeping me marginally sane.


But i have another coping skill that helps, too... I focus on the exact physical symptoms of withdrawals , and their intensity. I dissect their origin and distract at the same time in a sort of guided sensual dissonance . Yes I am feeling this and that from withdrawal , but also- Take a couple moments. Close my eyes. What else do I sense in my environment that is not associated with withdrawal from nicotine? What do I smell, is it sweet, sour, sharp, pleasant, nasty? Where is it coming from? What do I hear- not listening to voices, but the ambient sounds: the rustle of the breeze, the calls of birds, the chirping of squirrels, the swirling of leaves on the pavement... What do i feel on my skin- the breeze? the rain? Is it warm, cool, soft, hard, swirly?


It is a variation of a technique I've used for years to cope with stressful situations. Yes, this is happening, the distress, the withdrawal from nicotine, and these are its ripples in the world inside me. But here are so many other sensory  ripples in the world around me from so many other causes and events. After just a short period of observations, the sensory ripples from the world around me overcome the ones inside me and still the cravings.My mind gets calmer as well... How important is this one thing about which I am getting so stressed, really, in the general scheme of things? How much does it really impact in my immediate world? Because Here and Now is really all I have to work with at this point in time. Or at any point in time. Before I can prepare for any future, look out for anyone, make any plans, My Here and Now must be centered and safe and secured. And I ensure that by putting things in perspective and doing whatever it takes to ensure I do not smoke right now.

copingskills stressed  skills focus perspective