It's All In Your Head? Erase Those Psychological Cues To Smoke

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Anyone who has ever attempted to quit smoking will be able to testify to the fact that it is one of the hardest things they have ever attempted. The failure rate is high, and the road to success is uphill, hard, and fraught with battles of sheet willpower. Studies have shown the addiction to nicotine, as it is delivered via the cigarette smoke, to be comparable to the kind of addiction experienced with heroine and cocaine use. The physical detoxification process begins as soon as eight hours after the last cigarette is smoked, when carbon monoxide levels in the blood normalize. Nicotine remains in the body for the three to four days after the last cigarette is smoked, making this the beginning of the toughest physical withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawals symptoms are generally characterized by an overall moodiness, a flaring up of temper, anxiety, at times sleeplessness, and an overall feeling of frustration. Unfortunately, the withdrawal period may take a few weeks, and it is crucial for any soon to be ex-smoker to remain resolved to see this through to the end. Physical withdrawals may be eased by the use of nicotine patches, gums, and perhaps even sprays or inhalers. The psychological cues that make it so hard to resist the temptation are harder to deal with, and they may actually take much longer than just a few weeks to deal with.

While there are substances available to help you get over the physical withdrawal process a little easier, the psychological withdrawal is tougher to beat. As a matter of fact, it is quite often the deciding factor for a smoker to take up the habit again, even after beating the physical withdrawal symptoms. To successfully erase psychological cues to smoke, here are some tips that may come in handy for anyone wishing to quit:

Prepare yourself for the big day. Yes, it would be great to just wake up and toss out your cigarettes, but if you have been smoking for a while, the preparations you make in anticipation of this step count! Pick a day when you will quit smoking. Gather all your smoking paraphernalia, such as lighters, ashtrays, cigarettes, and have them handy in a big box. Sign up for a Yoga class or maybe a Tai Chi class. Sign up for a smoking cessation class or support group. Even if you decide now you don?t need it, it is nice to have the option available if you later on are desperate for some support.

On the big day, take the box with all your smoking paraphernalia and get rid of them permanently. Stashing them in the back of the closet or garage is not the same as taking to the dumpster and disposing of them once and for all! Similarly, air out your house or apartment, have a carpet cleaner come in to thoroughly wash the carpet to get rid of the lingering cigarette smell. Additionally, this is good time to take the drapes to the cleaner, do some laundry and have your hair done.

Recognize the tempting associations. If you have smoked for any length of time, you have probably come to associate certain activities with smoking. Perhaps in the morning you are facing great temptations because you are accustomed to having a cigarette with your morning coffee. Obviously, you don?t want to give up breakfast or your morning coffee, but you will need to break the association of cigarette smoking with that activity. Thus, if you usually enjoy your breakfast at the kitchen table, consider moving it outside to the balcony and enjoying a breakfast while overlooking the city. Another option would be to buy that book you always wanted to read and read while you are eating. Some may consider this to be a bad mannerism, but since you are fighting an addition, you will most certainly be forgiven for this little lapse in etiquette! You may even consider moving your breakfast table to a different location to give the experience of breakfast a whole new feel.

Avoid tempting situations. Don?t accompany your still-smoking office mates outside for their smoking break. Temptation will soar if you do so. Instead socialize with them over a cup of coffee in the break room or anywhere that smoking is not welcomed.