Stoptober is here again and for many of you your minds will lie to you in order to get you smoking again after a few hours or days of trying to say goodbye to cigarettes. The reason it will do this is because of “better the devil you know,” in other words the habit feels better than the risks of cravings, failing, gaining weight or any other negatives it’s predicting. The illusion is being safer keeping the habit, when you know deep down that it’s not safer at all.
Here is a quick list of points which can help carry on through the month of October and towards release from the slavery of cigarettes.
1. Wagon. If you do give in and start again this does not mean you have failed! You can start again at any point during the same day. The lie is that once you started you might as well carry on smoking when in reality you can stop again at any time.
2. Lies! Know your mind will lie to you, it has to and will do so as it wants you to be safer keeping the habit. Become aware of the voice and thoughts which try to convince you to start again. Rehearse what it does to trick you into smoking and just watch with curiosity. Let the voice be there don’t try to get rid of it or distract yourself as it will make it stronger because you fear or judge it. It’s just a series of thoughts and thoughts are just creations from the imagination, they do not have to be obeyed or acted upon unless useful. Look at mindfulness tools to help further with this.
3. Control. Allow yourself to feel any cravings you may experience, don’t try to use distraction as this can make them stronger. Take control and your power back by sitting with the craving and explore it using the below questions:
Where in the body or head do feel the craving?
How much room does the craving take in your head or body?
How strong is the craving on a scale of 1 being the weakest and 10 being the strongest?
Does the craving move around at all?
If you picture it does it have a colour?
If you breathe into the craving does it get bigger or smaller?
If you allow the craving to be there and just breathe into it, what happens after a while?
4. Exercise during this period is shown to help make it easier to keep going and let smoking go. Choose something which is fun and challenging or go with friends and support each other.
5. Values. Remind yourself why you are stopping every time you think about giving in. Who will you be saying goodbye to when you are given that news which 1 in 2 smokers will get about their health? How will they look when they find out they are losing you? Think about why you want to stop, if it’s not your health then who pays for your indulgence? Do you really want the cigarette companies to profit from you until your last dying breath? What will you gain from stopping? Who benefits? Click here for more information on values.
6. Alternatives. There is no shame in swapping to an E Cigarette, patches or using Nicotine Gum to help you cut down and stop. Many do very successfully but bear in mind that many also just stop and make it happen. It’s your choice how you do it, just make it work for you.
7. Resources. Use the resources available at the Stoptober site, there are apps available to help you with your progress, take it one day at a time and remember you are more powerful than you think.
8. Body. Check out this fab list of what happens to your body when you stop smoking.
9. Rewards. Something which has helped some clients is to do a forfeit which you would hate if you do fail and also create a reward system for a few times this month to keep you going. As reward based mammals, they work very well and the mind loves them!
You can do this, even if you didn’t start today then you can start now or later, millions stop smoking each year and live healthier happier lives because of it. If you need extra help using hypnosis or other therapies, you know where I am.