Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies
How You Can Stop Smoking
By George A. Boyd ©1989
Cigarette smoking is one of the most powerful addictions known to man. Its health risks have been widely documented. For example, it is known that cigarette smoking contributes to an increased incidence of cancer of the lungs, mouth and throat, heart disease, hypertension, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and stroke.
Nicotine, the primary addicting chemical in cigarettes, contributes to these negative effects on the heart and circulatory system by vasoconstriction. A variety of hydrocarbons in the tar produced by the burning of tobacco contribute to the increased risk of cancer and damage to the lungs.
As powerful an addiction as cigarette smoking is, it can be broken. Millions of people have stopped smoking for good in the last five years in the United States. This means that this addiction can be beaten, and that if you are a smoker, and you want to stop smoking, you can.
Here are some ways that you can use to help you stop smoking:
Make the decision to stop smoking – commitment, a clear plan of what you will do, and perseverance are key to overcoming this habit.
Build your self-esteem – even if you have tried before to stop smoking and failed, resolve this time is going to be different. Remember, you are worth it! You deserve to be free of cigarette addiction!
Build enthusiasm and hope – millions of people have quit smoking cigarettes for good, and you can too! Tell yourself that this time you are going to be successful!
Visualize being a non-smoker – see yourself in your mind's eye as being a non-smoker, having no desire for cigarettes, refusing cigarettes when they are offered, and sitting in non-smoking sections. See yourself telling friends and family, "you know, it's hard to believe I ever used to smoke." Think about how it will improve your health, and the other benefits you will enjoy by being a non-smoker.
Inventory the negative consequences of cigarette smoking – make a list of all of the negative consequences of cigarette smoking on a sheet of paper. For example, how it affects your health, how it is messy and dirty and makes your clothes and environment smell bad, how people don't like you if you smoke, and so on. Put this list in a place where you will see it often.
Believe in yourself – you've been successful in other areas of your life: the same power of your Subconscious mind, and your Superconscious mind that links you with the universe, that made you succeed in those areas of your life will enable you to overcome cigarette smoking, too. Program your success machine to win over cigarettes!
Set a date and do it – procrastination is enemy number one! Write a date on your calendar, and act on your decision! Utilize the positive energy of your determination and motivation to carry you through!
Be willing to go through mild discomfort – yes, your body will undergo withdrawal symptoms, but this is normal, natural, and good. It means your body is freeing itself from the toxins that have been stored in your tissues from smoking, and it is restoring the normal levels of the neurotransmitters artificially interfered with by nicotine. After this period of discomfort, you will feel better than you have felt in years. Isn't that worth minor discomfort?
Don't substitute – don't substitute pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco or nicotine chewing gum for cigarettes! You are still ingesting the same poisonous substances that cause the health problems in cigarettes, and still deriving the same negative consequences as you do from smoking.
Realize you've been seduced – cigarette companies spend millions of dollars on deceptive advertising to make you believe cigarette smoking means pleasure, self confidence and sophistication, when it really means addiction, loss of self control, defilement of your clothes and environment, waste of your money and damage to your health! Use your justified outrage against the cigarette companies to stop smoking. The best revenge is being a non-smoker!
Let your Higher Power help you – the power of prayer accomplishes miracles every day. Let the unseen forces of Spirit help you overcome cigarette addiction, for "when God is with you, who can be against you?"
Follow a behavioral plan to support your decision, and carry it out – the following methods have helped many people overcome their cigarette smoking, and you may find many of these ways useful for you:
1) Chew chewing gum, eat low calorie snacks, or suck lozenges to control your oral cravings.
2) Have a key chain, a watch fob, or a pen or pencil to have something to do with your hands; take up doodling or drawing on a scratch pad.
3) Remind yourself of the bad smells and tastes of cigarette smoking to create disgust and aversion. Try smelling an ashtray some time.
4) Destroy your cigarette packages. Don't have any cigarettes around the house, in your car, or at work for "just in case..."
5) Reward yourself by saving the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself something special you've long desired.
6) Address any temporary weight gain by going on a physical detox regimen or a diet program.
7) Exercise regularly to help lose any weight you may put on, and also, so that you sweat and breathe deeply to speed up the body's process of ridding itself of the accumulated poisons of nicotine and tar.
8) Do relaxation and calming exercises, or take up meditation or hatha yoga, to help you relieve the nervousness you feel and help you cope with stress.
9) Listen to self-help hypnotic or subliminal tapes to reinforce the vision of your self as a successful non-smoker.
10) Role-play situations where you might be offered a cigarette. You can visualize refusing cigarettes in your mind's eye, or enlist a supportive friend or family member. Practice saying, "no thank you, I don't smoke."
11) Have people share with you how proud and happy they are that you are now a non-smoker.
12) Place inspirational messages that will remind you how important it is for you to not smoke on cards in places where you are sure to see them. Place them on your desk blotter, in your purse or makeup container, on your steering wheel or rear view mirror, in your desk drawer, on your bathroom mirror, on your typewriter or computer screen. A simple message like "I'm worth it, I don't need to smoke" or "I can do it!" or any other saying that helps you keep your spirits up can be written on your cards.
13) Have a non-smoking friend you can talk to about what you are going through, 24 hours a day if needed, to discuss your feelings, fears and temptations. If you talk about your feelings, stresses and discomforts, you won't smoke over them.
14) Take the task of quitting smoking in bite-sized pieces. Just for today, don't smoke. Recommit yourself each morning to be a non-smoker today.
15) Take a prayer or meditation break to have your Higher Power help you during times of stress or discomfort. If you're in a work setting, hectic family situation, or a public place, you can always excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, and use this time away from people to commune with your Higher Power.
16) Keep your mind occupied with fun, creative and interesting things. That way, your boredom won't be an excuse for you to smoke.
17) Be willing to grieve the loss of the cigarette habit. Anything that has become a part of your life you will miss if it is gone. Replace it by a new ritual to reward yourself that fulfills you and is good for you: try a refreshing and delightful long stretch; a nourishing, vitamin-rich, low-calorie shake or smoothie; or a dip in the jacuzzi or hot tub.
18) Be willing and determined to be done with cigarette smoking once and for all. Keep this purpose at the back of your mind at all times. Do whatever it takes to stop smoking, and to never go back!
When you succeedand you will succeedthere are some special things you can do to acknowledge yourself for your victory over smoking:
Set celebration dates – commemorate your six-month, one year, two year, and five year anniversaries of being a non-smoker by doing something special for yourself. Take yourself out for a movie, a nice meal, do your hair, or treat yourself to something you've wanted to do. Reward yourself"you've done good" and you deserve it!
Gratitude – thank your Higher Power daily for the blessing of being a non-smoker.
Support others who also want to quit smoking – help those who want to quit by lending your experience, strength and hope. Be there for them by listening and offering encouragement, and by sharing the way you became successful over cigarettes, and giving them hope.
If you want to stop smoking, you can. If you set a date, have a plan, and take action, you will.