Quitting smoking is hard but you’ll see progress fast. You’ll feel like you’re really getting there, but then one day you’ll get blindsided by a hard day or a bout of depression, and then it’s really tempting to reach for a smoke.
Your unpleasant thoughts and feelings are a major trigger that can lead you to break your promise and start smoking again, but there are ways to cope with negative thoughts without smoking.
Identifying Your Negative Thoughts
The first step in dealing with negative thoughts and feelings is to identify them. These nagging thoughts could be related to stress, depression, loneliness, fear or anxiety. When you feel your most intense craving for a cigarette, try to identify what mental pattern is leading you there.
Keep in mind that your addiction keeps bad feelings at bay, but only for a little while. Later, they’ll be back with a vengeance. What you’re actually doing is putting off dealing with these stresses and you never get to the root of the problem.
Learn New Strategies
There are much healthier and more effective methods available to help you fight this negativity. As part of your plan to quit smoking, learn some new strategies and see if they help. Something as simple as taking a deep breath and counting to ten can be enough to stop the cravings (nicotine cravings usually only last about a half a minute). Methods you can practice and employ include light exercise, meditation, sensory relaxation strategies, yoga and creative visualization.
Once you decide on a natural technique and see that it works, it’s much easier to defeat your cravings and battle your negative thoughts without nicotine the next time. When your next craving starts, close your eyes and visualize something positive. After the craving passes and you’ve successfully stopped yourself from smoking, this gives you even more confidence to do it even better next time.
Addicts often fight off negative feelings because they feel like negativity is to be avoided. The fact is that all of us suffer from stress, depression and anxiety. If you’re quitting smoking, you’re sure to experience more than another person. It’s okay to have unpleasant thoughts and feelings. That’s part of the quit smoking routine. Try being present with your negative feelings, accepting them and moving on. When you stop smoking the first 72 hours are the most difficult as this is when your body is still removing nicotine from your system. What made me finally successful was accepting that fact that I was going to be a jerk for that period of time. Once I accepted this, I was able to get past that critical period.
Therapy Can Help
If you have serious negative thoughts and feelings that just won’t go away, a therapist can help. These thoughts may arise from past trauma that a therapist can help you deal with more effectively. If you solve the root cause, you won’t need cigarettes or any other methods of denial or avoidance to deal with them.
Start right now by identifying the negative thoughts and feelings that drive you to smoke. What external events or internal feelings cause you to reach for a cigarette? Observe yourself for a few days and try to identify the thought patterns that make you want to smoke.