Help to Stop Smoking

Getting Ready to Quit

Set a date for quitting. If possible, have a friend quit smoking with you.

Notice when and why you smoke. Try to find the things in your daily life that you often
do while smoking (such as drinking your morning cup of coffee or driving a car).

Change your smoking routines: Keep your cigarettes in a different place.

Smoke with your other hand. Don’t do anything else when smoking. Think about how you feel when you smoke.

Smoke only in certain places, such as outdoors.

When you want a cigarette, wait a few minutes. Try to think of something to do instead of smoking; you might chew gum or drink a glass of water.

Buy one pack of cigarettes at a time. Switch to a brand of cigarettes you don’t like.

On the Day You Quit

Get rid of all your cigarettes. Put away your ashtrays.

Change your morning routine. When you eat breakfast, don’t sit in the same place at the kitchen table. Stay busy.

When you get the urge to smoke, do something else instead.

Carry other things to put in your mouth, such as gum, hard candy, or a toothpick.

Reward yourself at the end of the day for not smoking. See a movie or go out and enjoy your favorite meal.

Staying Quit

Don’t worry if you are sleepier or more short-tempered than usual; these feelings will pass.

Try to exercise – take walks or ride a bike.

Consider the positive things about quitting, such as how much you like yourself as a non-smoker, health benefits for you and your family, and the example you set for others around you. A positive attitude will help you through the tough times.

When you feel tense, try to keep busy, think about ways to solve the problem, tell yourself that smoking won’t make it any better, and go do something else.

Eat regular meals. Feeling hungry is sometimes mistaken for the desire to smoke.

Start a Gratitude Jar with the money you save by not buying cigarettes.

Let others know that you have quit smoking – most people will support you. Many of your smoking friends may want to know how you quit. It’s good to talk to others about your quitting.

Tips That Will Make Sure You Quit Smoking

Focused smoking where one smokes while imagining negative consequences such as physical or mental health problems, causing harm to others, encountering social disapproval, labeling oneself an addict or slave, thinking of smoking as a suicide equivalent.

Contingency contracting: make a contract with yourself to reach a goal of short term abstinence and if not money gets sent to your most hated politician!!!

Focus on the goal. Identify and write down your personal incentives for quitting, focus and dwell on them as often as possible!!

Focus on the personal rewards. Plan out the rewards one will have with cost savings, imagine what you may be able to do with all that money…think about all the benefits of quitting, being able to live longer, breath easier , etc…

Focus on the social rewards. Imagine yourself telling people you are a nonsmoker, asking for a nonsmoking table in a restaurant, giving tips to a friend about how to quit smoking, daydreaming about people coming to you saying WOW! how did you do it?

Irrational Thought Patterns To Avoid

ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality become darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or another. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

    a. Mind Reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.

    b. The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already established fact.

MAGNIFICATION ( CATASTROPHIZING ) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement) or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”

EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions
necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and
shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself:
“I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a goddam louse.”
Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

Irrational Thought Pattern Solution

Cognitions ( thought patterns ) can be re-engineered and reconstructed…first one has to carefully analyze current beliefs, thought patterns then look at the feelings and behaviors that accompany those thoughts… the second step
is replace the thought by another, drawing on examples from your
own life experience preferably.

For example someone who says I always fail… if challenged about the word always will undoubtedly have at least one success story in their life somewhere ….thus the thought can be replaced by I sometimes fail or better yet, I have had plenty of successes in my life!!

Homework assignments

Write these down and carry them around with you to read at times of craving.

List 5 reasons why you want to stop smoking
List 5 reasons why you want to smoke
Make a list of all the things you will do when craving a cigarette

Prior to your quit date, write down every cigarette you smoke and track the time and the circumstances, stress relief or desire for pleasure…
Using a 1-10 scale … write down a number from 1 to 10 reflecting how much in control you feel, how much mastery or how much pleasure you are experiencing….
this can help you focus your thoughts on these themes, and you can identify times of greater and lesser vulnerability which can be invaluable information ….chart this stuff daily or weekly starting prior to your quit date until several weeks after quitting.

Practicing dealing with high risk relapse situations. For example you could rehearse what you will say when offered a cigarette at a social gathering…”no thanks I am a non smoker!!”

Solutions To Common Misbeliefs And Barriers

“I’ll get fat . . . ” A study of 20,000 quitters showed that 80% do gain weight versus 56% of continuing smokers. The average gain was only 4.6 Lbs. 20% will gain 10 lbs. And 4% will gain 20+ lbs. With care to watch diet and exercise,
weight gain can be controlled.

“I have to die of something . . . ” no one deserves a premature death, smokers are 1 1/2 times more likely to die in the next year as an ex-smoker of the same age and sex.

“I can’t enjoy life without smoking”…fewer coughs, less shortness of breath, stronger immune function, longer life . . . won’t that help you enjoy your life more?

“I’ll cut down”… if you can do it, it will help but why have your risk be any higher than it needs to be?

“Not all smokers die young”…true enough, there are some lucky individuals, and its up to you to choose to have the odds stacked in your favor or to have them against you.

“I’ve failed in the past . . . ” most long term abstainers fail 4 to 5 times before succeeding.

“Its too late, I’m already sick . . . ” there are benefits in stopping at all ages.

After a heart attack, continuing smokers have a 10-fold greater mortality than do ex-smokers.

” I’ll quit later if I get symptoms”…the risk is cumulative and it takes years for it to develop and to decrease after cessation.

“I’m only hurting myself”…WRONG!!! Passive smoking harms those exposed to it and costs them their health and well-being.

Solutions To Factors That Influence Relapse

Knowledge of these can help you come up with a relapse prevention program… planning ahead and giving some thought on how to deal with these situations and lessons learned from the past can help you negotiate these difficult passages on your path to success!!!

Look ahead at what could be stressful in your life… develop ways to cope using the above cognitive behavioral strategies, drawing upon your past successes in dealing with stress and knowing what works best for you.

Anticipate that you may have periods of sadness, anger, frustration, irritability, a “who cares” attitude at times…these high risk times are transient, temporary,
and if you find ways to get through them without a slip or relapse you will feel a sense of mastery and pleasure…

Urges and cravings can intensify at certain times and under certain circumstances…
if you did the tracking sheets noting when and where you smoke
and how strongly you desired that particular cigarette you will most likely have identified these situations… for some its upon awakening, or after a meal, or when angry or when around certain people… work on avoiding these situations and/or keeping busy with other things during them…

If at all possible try to quit at the same time as your spouse, and avoid situations initially where the social pressures will be hard to resist… rehearse your polite refusal when offered cigarettes, enlist your smoking friends to be considerate of your efforts and to support and encourage you.

Drinking is one of the most frequent causes for relapse…there are many reasons why this is so, but the bottom line is that you would be well advised to not drink alcohol for the first several months after your quit date…

Applying all these tactics will give you weapons you need to quit smoking for good!!!

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