Why stopping smoking seems so difficult

Top reasons our clients give us:

1. The first is the obvious one – the belief that stopping is difficult. This becomes a self-fulfilling idea. If we believe something is going to be difficult, it usually turns out that way;

2. There is a deep belief that nicotine is a very difficult drug to get away from;

3. There’s a poor understanding of how habits work. Unfortunately this poor understanding often extends to our medical practices. Modern medicine – diagnosis, surgery, pharmacology – often lacks all wisdom when it comes to habitual, emotionally-driven behaviours. Real people, with their behaviours and their moods, are more than what can be analysed in a science lab;

4. The expectation of unpleasant withdrawal effects — irritability, short-temper, anxiety, mood swings, etc;

5. The poor advice you often get! Advice like “try to distract yourself” or “keep your hands busy” is misguided and insufficient;

6. Fear of loss: loss of enjoyment, loss of comfort, loss of stress relief: “If I don’t have my stress-relieving thing available then I will be more stressed”, and similar assumptions;

7. Fear of putting on weight. A lot of people turn to food as a substitute when they stop smoking, and put on weight. This is an outcome of the way the person stops. This is a smoker trying not to smoke, it’s not freedom. Being free means being free of any substitution or unhelpful compensatory behaviours.

Successful quitting means resolving the conflict in your mind about smoking.

The reasons you have for quitting – the things that have motivated you to make the decision – are conscious. The behaviour, the actual “doing” of smoking, is at a different level of your mind: your subconscious. Struggling with quitting happens when these things are in conflict – part of you wants to stop, and another part of you wants to do the habit. People who don’t smoke often don’t understand this. There’s an assumption that knowing why you should quit is enough. Or the assumption that the person is somehow weak. Attitudes like this are based on the idea that our actions are controlled by our knowledge.

What really drives the behaviours are our emotional responses, and those emotional responses are organised mostly subconsciously.     When there is a change at that emotional level, your actions and your habits are more easily changed. You have in your mind the capability and emotional intelligence to bring harmony between your knowledge and your choices.

By going about things in the right way, quitting smoking doesn’t need to be such a difficult thing. You have everything you need within you to make it happen.

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