The longer that someone has smoked, the harder it is for them to quit. And while the physical addiction to nicotine, also known as nicotine dependence, and other chemicals in cigarettes can explain much of this problem, there is also another issue at play. Smokers create a variety of habits or rituals that surround and support their smoking addiction. In addition to the addictive nature of cigarettes, these behaviors become part of the smoker’s life and become very difficult to change.
Recognizing and Breaking the Habit
Unfortunately, most attempts to quit smoking are unsuccessful, largely because they only address the physical addiction to cigarettes and how to manage cravings. By addressing the other habits formed to support smoking, quitters can increase the chances of a successful cessation program.
If you ask most people why they smoke, they will say that it helps them relax. Many of them reach for a cigarette the moment things get hectic. But since nicotine actually excites the body and increases heart rate, how does this relax anyone? Smoking is a ritual and the comfort found in ritual can be extremely settling. Not to mention, the deep breathing and the change of scenery that often accompanies smoking. Fortunately, you can find the same stress relief without experiencing the negative effects of smoking by puffing on a cancer stick.
Deep breathing is one reason that smokers feel as if their habit relaxes them. According to NaturalNews, smokers take between 9 and 14 drags off of one cigarette. And each drag is a deep inhalation, held for a moment in the lungs and then completely dispelled on the exhale. How often do you breathe this deeply without a cigarette in hand? Deep breathing is a known relaxation technique. Recreate this feeling without cigarettes by taking a few moments throughout the day to take long, relaxing breaths. Give yourself permission to slow down and relax just as you would give yourself permission to light up.
Another relaxing benefit of smoking is the change in scenery. When people take a moment to smoke, they often go into another room or go outside to fresh air. Walking away from the stress-inducer for a few moments can give you perspective. The fresh air can only make relaxation easier. The good news is that you don’t need a cigarette to step outside and take a few deep breaths.
You smoke because you are addicted. But you likely also smoke because it gives you a moment of peace, a way to relax and an excuse to stop what you’re doing and spend some time on you. Of course there are other things to take into consideration, but try replacing the bad habit of smoking with deep breathing, getting outside, and other healthy habits to help you conquer nicotine once and for all.
Check out some related posts below for more helpful tips and information on quitting.