March, 2007

Stop smoking help

National stop smoking day

The 14th March 2007 is national stop smoking day and this year it’s a big one as later this year England, Wales and Northern Ireland join Scotland and Ireland in banning smoking in public spaces. So how do we stop and what help is there out there for smokers

Many people have tried to stop at some time or other. Then something happened at work or at home significant enough to interrupt your pattern (but was it really significant enough or did you make it significant). Gradually, you get back on track determined not to be thrown again, but the momentum is slower this time and your willpower, although there, is different. You try to prioritise but it becomes increasingly difficult as old habits and thoughts of the past creep in. Finally a few months down the line you give in telling yourself “something got in the way”; “I’m not strong enough”; “I need help”; “I’ll try again next year”.

For those of you that are smokers this is the one that you having been putting off for some time now, always with an excuse as to why you shouldn’t stop. “I’ve got several party’s coming up and I need those cigarettes to help me socialise”, “I’ve got a lot on at work and these cigs are the only thing that calms me down”. These words will no doubt ring a bell for many of you but now is the time you can stop smoking and start afresh.

If your resolution is to breathe clean air, then maybe I can offer a few suggestions that might help you on your chosen path.

Write down two lists, the first list is all the reasons you want to give up smoking: health, money, fitness etc. For each item you write down also write why this reason is important to you, this will help to increase your motivation as you understand why you have written this reason.

On the second list write down all the things you like about smoking and the reasons why you would like to carry on smoking. Once you have this list, go through each item and come up with two reasons as to why you can cope without it and why this item is unhelpful for you in your quest to give up smoking.

Additionally every time the thought of a cigarette comes into your mind say the word “STOP” to that thought and then remind yourself of the reasons you decided to stop that are detailed in the lists above. This will help to bring you back on track and keep you motivation strong.

When you have your last cigarette make sure there are no packets in the house, be pleased with yourself and remind yourself once again of all the reasons why you are giving up. Don’t think of that last cigarette as saying goodbye to an old friend, if you do you are telling yourself that you are going to miss it. Instead think of it as moving on. Look at that list of things you want to achieve, think of your own life when you were growing up - you managed to move on from riding a bike with stabilisers to one without; you moved from crawling to walking as a baby; and you left school to go into the world of work. At the time each of these steps would have seemed impossible, but each time you moved on and achieved them. They are all natural steps; you coped without your friends from school when you went into work, not seeing them as much and making new friends. Your life is frequently changing and each time it does you prove you are able to move on.

Even when you were smoking you still had to deal with stress, upset, anger and any other emotion. The cigarette did not deal with them for you - it is an inanimate object, it cannot possibly deal with emotions. The only way the cigarette helped is in the action of breathing. When you breathe out that stale air from the cigarette you are mimicking the same action of breathing out naturally, except you are taking a longer breath. Science has shown us that by taking deep breaths and through the action of breathing out we can reduce our own anxiety and take control of our feelings. So there is no reason why you can’t go outside for a couple of minutes when you need to and just take some long deep breaths and enjoy them as you are breathing clean air not stale polluted air.

Remember smokers continue to smoke to end the empty feeling left by the last cigarette - this is a drug addiction. They are feeding the demon inside them. You eat food because it tastes good and you need it to live. Smoking doesn’t taste good and it kills you, you do not need it to live. Eating food doesn’t make you hungry, whereas smoking leaves you with pangs as the nicotine leaves your body. Smokers have an empty restless feeling.

Failing any of these suggestions working for you, it may be that you need additional help or support to quit. As a psychologist I have helped a lot of people give up smoking and have spoken to smoking cessation advisors about how I help people.

There are several options open to you:

Find you nearest NHS stop smoking clinic
Allen Carr’s easy way to stop smoking (In my opinion the only good book on stopping smoking)
Hypnotherapy – look for someone who belongs to a recognised organisation such as BSCH, or NCH
Thought Field Therapy -

Good luck with your efforts to stop smoking, if you wish to find out how I can help you stop smoking then please follow the link below.


Nick Adams MSc, BA, D.Hyp, TFTdx