My biggest and only trigger is stress. How does one cope with stress without smoking?
Welcome to our community!
When you complete the reading I will recommend, you will come to understand that a LOT of the stress you are feeling is the sensors in your brain demanding their next jolt of nicotine ! Thus, the last cigarette you smoked is the cause of a great deal of the stress you start to feel! While smoking does give you momentary relief, your brain starts to stress out for more almost as soon as you finish that one. Ever notice how extreme stress causes you to chain smoke? That's because each cigarette creates a demand for the next. When you add MORE stress, you can never get enough for those sensors to quiet..
The most important thing you can do right now is to educate yourself on what nicotine does to your body and mind. To that end, I highly recommend Allen Carr's “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” This is an easy and entertaining read. Here is a link to a free PDF version of it:
You should also read the posts here and perhaps go the the pages of folks who you think might be helpful. You might visit whyquit.com, quitsmokingonline.com and livewell.com for the good information contained there. @https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/best-of-ex has lots of blogs written by members of this site with their experiences and guidance. You should also do the tracking and separation exercises suggested in My Quit Plan http://www.becomeanex.org/my-quit-plan.php
After you have completed the recommended reading, it will be time to make an informed choice of the quit aid, if any, you will use. If you go that route, I personally recommend the aids that don't let the addict control the dose such as the available prescription drugs or the patch. If used properly, gum, lozenges and inhalers are fine, but they need to be used only as a last resort. I have seen folks become addicted to them if they substitute them for every cigarette they used to smoke - just trading one addiction for another. I do not recommend the e-cigarette for three reasons: 1) the vapor has been compared to the polluted air in Bejing on a bad day, 2) they just provide another nicotine delivery system while continuing the hand to mouth smoking motion, and 3) the batteries can spontaneously catch on fire. . But – any method that you think will work well for you will be best for you.
The idea is to change up your routines so the smoking associations are reduced. Drink your coffee with your OTHER hand. If you always had that first smoke with your coffee, try putting your tennies on right out of bed, going for a quick walk, then taking your shower and THEN your coffee! Rearrange the furniture in the areas you used to smoke so the view is different. Buy your gas at a different station. Take a different route to work. Take a quick walk at break time where the smokers AREN'T.
You need to distract yourself through any craves. You can take a bite out of a lemon (yup - rind and all), put your head in the freezer and take a deep breath of cold air, do a few jumping jacks, go for a brisk walk or march in place, play a computer game. Don't let that smoking thought rattle around in your brain unchallenged. Sometimes you need to quit a minute or an hour at a time. You will need to be disciplined in the early days to distract yourself when a crave hits. Get busy! Here is a link to a list of things to do instead of smoke if you need some fresh ideas:
The conversation in your head in response to the "I want a cigarette" thought needs to be, "Well, since I have decided not to do that anymore, what shall I do instead for the three minutes this crave will last?" Then DO it. You will need to put some effort into this in the early days, but it gets easier and easier to do.
Stay close to us here and ask questions when you have them and for support when you need it. We will be with you every step of the way!
Thank you so much for the support and the material.
venusflytrap1 PLEASE pay attention to Youngatheart.7.4.12. Recovery from this addiction...and it IS an addiction, is based upon education, planning, support and williningness to go through whatever it takes. Smoking does NOT help with stress, it feeds it. Track your cigarettes and your triggers (I'll bet they are not all stress) and then plan for what to do instead of smoking. You CAN do this.
Welcome to EX.
Thank you so much for the support.
Not having cigarettes at hand is a start. If you're able to remove yourself from the stressful situation, take a break. Take several deep breaths. Hold your breath as long as you can and slowly let it out. Remind yourself that you don't smoke, even if you're stressed. Put a negative image on the cigarette you're craving: it is a loaded revolver and you're playing Russian Roulette. You never know which one will be 'the' one. Ask yourself if you really want to burn $0.35 - $0.50 in a matter of minutes, and then do it again next hour, and the next, and the next, and the next. Imagine the face of a starving child, ask yourself what that money might provide for him/her, and ask yourself if you really have that much over which to stress.
We all have problems. Smoking solves none of them.
Oh. You're so welcome. I'm rooting for you. Stay close and keep us posted on your success!
I will and thank you again. I'm looking so forward to quitting smoking that I'm calling myself a non smoker
Awesome. Remember though, non-smokers don't smoke. = O
Smoking is an addiction. Relearning life without a smoke (whether smoking seems to be driven by stress, distress, perceived enjoyment or for some other reason) is a one day at a time journey. And it is possible to completely unlearn the smoking habit, undo the active addiction. It is really is 100% doable--but only one day at a time.
Nicotine addiction is a sneaky addiction for once one is trapped, the addiction does not appear to be anything other than a bad habit. However, once one tries to let go, suddenly distress takes over...that is the addiction. That is the problem. Addressing how to get out of the addiction means making a plan, preparing. It means considering options--such as-- do you want to use nicotine replacement therapy, or, what things can you do to keep your self more occupied while first quitting?
I quit 3.5 years ago at the age of 54. I felt unsure of myself, but I did stick with it. Today I've come around to understanding that however much I thought I liked smoking, I do not miss the addiction. I had little choice but to smoke. Being relieved of the addiction (in time by making a one day at a time effort to change) has been the greatest gift. But, I'll take the 11,000 bucks I've saved, too!!!!! Keep working it and you will find the answers you are looking for. :>)
Smoking, Smoking Cessation and Stress
Quitting is temporarily stressful but the rewards are long term happiness!
When you're stressed the nicotine level in your system is used more quickly which increases the need to smoke. So in that regard smoking causes stress.10 Ways to Cope with Stress When You Stop Smoking
All good advice given above me. What you learn is that stress is caused by the need for the next cigarette as much as it is by the "events" in your life. When the nicotine starts to become depleted in our bodies, we begin to stress for our next "hit." Here's a link that may help you: THE STRESS TRAP
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