While many have tried to quit smoking, only a few have managed to continue doing so for a longer period of time. Many therefore focus on the wrong principle when quitting smoking; Nicotine addiction seems to be the biggest problem when quitting smoking, but it is precisely the habit that is the most difficult to break. Breaking a habit that is as ingrained in daily life as lighting a cigarette with a smoker is difficult, but by adopting an alternative habit this becomes much easier to do.
Nicotine addiction and smoking cessation
The many advertisements promoting products that should make it easier to quit smoking largely focus on the nicotine addiction that smoking entails. Yet this nicotine addiction for the body is already broken after about three days without cigarettes. There will not be many smokers who do not last three days when they try to quit, and yet the majority of quit smokers start smoking again after a certain time. This mainly has to do with the habit, the routine that has settled in the brain.
Quit smoking; the habit
A habit such as smoking can be compared to a military drill; When a certain trigger arises, a certain behavior is performed that is no longer thought about. In a military drill the trigger could be an enemy shot, in a smoker the trigger could be getting up in the morning or driving to work. The trigger then ensures the execution of the habit, in this case smoking, which then provides a certain reward. For the soldier this is “winning” over the opponent, for the smoker this can be, for example, the break from a boring moment or the feeling of completion of a certain task.
Alternative habit instead of smoking
In order to quit smoking, it is important not to give up too much at once; After all, the only thing we want to stop is the habit between the trigger and the reward; smoking. The trigger will always want to evoke a response; That is also the reason that many former smokers still feel the urge to smoke in certain places or at certain times. At that moment, they experience the power of the trigger, which still triggers the habit. The best way to quit smoking is to replace the habit of smoking with another habit that can respond to the trigger; an alternative . For example, when the trigger occurs, you can chew gum, drink peppermint or coffee/tea. Any habit that can provide a reward is a good substitute for smoking (for example, with chewing gum or peppermint this experience is the fresh feeling in the mouth, with coffee the caffeine). If possible, certain triggers can also be avoided so as not to unnecessarily tie the cat to the bacon.
Training mental perseverance
Once the habit is replaced, it still requires a certain drive to actually stay quit. It often turns out that difficult situations can cause smoking to return. Any situation in which mental strength is weakened can play a role in this; for example, an emotional setback due to a death in the family or, for example, drinking a lot of alcohol. When such a situation arises, it requires the strength of mind to remain stopped; the belief in the method, the replacement of the habit, often works wonders. For those for whom mental strength seems like something others primarily possess, it is important to know that mental strength can be trained; mental perseverance has the same characteristics as a muscle. Both muscles and mental perseverance must be trained with a certain regularity in order to grow; With little training, both muscles and mental perseverance can even weaken. The level in which mental perseverance is trained does not matter; For example, taking a cold shower regularly (the mental strength to deny the luxury that is within reach) can ensure that the mental strength to continue to quit smoking is trained. Another similarity with muscles is that mental perseverance can also be exhausted if it is used too much within too short a period. This “muscle pain” may be recognizable to many; In mentally difficult moments, moments when mental perseverance is called upon too much, everything quickly becomes too much and the smallest thing is too much to bear. The moment at which this “muscle pain” occurs during mental perseverance can be trained in the same way as with normal muscles, by regularly addressing the muscle to train it.
Quit smoking; the steps
In summary, it can be said that quitting smoking has the greatest chance of success if the following steps are taken:
- The triggers are identified;
- The habit (smoking) is replaced by a new habit that also contains a “reward”.
- Triggers that can be avoided are avoided
To stay stopped , it is also important to train our most important muscle; our mental strength. We can train this in all kinds of ways, but without training this mental strength becomes less and less. Ways to train our mental perseverance can be found in all kinds of areas, which can best be combined. Build up these “trainings” slowly and keep pushing boundaries. In addition to quitting smoking, good mental perseverance offers many more possibilities and opportunities! Options to strengthen our mental strength include:
- Taking a cold shower every day (denying the luxury that is within reach);
- Pushing boundaries in sports (continuing even when physically exhausted);
- Don’t watch TV in the evening, but take up a study (denial of “reward” after hard work);
Now it seems as if the many alternatives that commercial companies offer us to quit smoking do not work, but this does not have to be true. After all, nicotine gum can also replace the habit if used correctly. An e-cigarette can also replace the habit of smoking (note; in that case, an e-smoker will have to be used as an intermediate step to another habit, since continued use of an e-smoker is the step back to smoking). too small).