I'm addicted to smoking. How can I stop?

I'm planning to have baby, so I have to quit smoking - but it's hard. Sometimes it's not a physical need, it's mental.

I cannot help myself from thinking about smoking. What can I do to get rid of this addiction?

Charles  Lucas
Charles Lucas
HealthFit Counseling: Solutions for Change

It's very admirable that you are trying to stop smoking for the sake of your health and your child's health.  The mental aspect of quitting a drug can and usually is the hardest part.  First, it can be helpful to change the focus of your thinking so you are focusing on the healthy behaviors you will start/improve rather than only focusing on the behavior that you are trying to stop.  The reason for this is that our brains hear the main topic of our thoughts.  That is, when you tell yourself "quit smoking, quit smoking, quit smoking", your brain hears "smoking, smoking, smoking".  So we need to put together a self-care plan that addresses your thinking, emotions, and behaviors (nutrition, physical activity, and other stress reducing activities).  The idea is to have an effective plan in place to both prevent yourself from feeling intense stress (which increases cravings) and to have a well-placed plan for when the intense cravings inevitably present themselves.  And lastly, and possibly the most important; You have to believe you deserve to be the healthiest version of yourself.  Think about the times when you are most vulnerable to smoke (stressful situations, after meals, when drinking, social situations, etc.).  The use of affirmations is also an important resource as what we say to ourselves effects our mood.  Repeatedly telling yourself "i am healthy, "i am getting healthier, "my lungs are becoming clear and healthy" or other affirmations like this.  Even if you don't believe them at first, continue saying them.  This step is important to improve cognitive flexibility which trains your brain to be open to change.  Think about activities that you like to do or that you would like to try and replace smoking with those activities.  Any activity that can make you laugh (time with friends, watching comedies, etc.) will evoke a calming response because when we feel happy, we typically don't feel stressed out simultaneously. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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