Smoking is more than a comfortable routine. For many, it’s a social crutch that helps you cope with emotionally charged interactions, arguments, celebrations, and even the crippling weight of loneliness.
If you want to quit smoking, you have to recognize the triggers that entice you to light up. Where are you when the urge strikes? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are you thinking about? How do you feel?
Hiding: Parties can be awkward, especially if you’re alone or not particularly outgoing by nature. It’s difficult to start up conversations with complete strangers. As a smoker, you have an out, a diversion, a way to fill time until someone comes in with a clever conversation starter. It’s an escape, a hideout, and a sometimes welcome reprieve from the bustle of a party. In fact, cigarettes sometimes are the conversation starter! Asking for a lighter or a cigarette, or being asked, creates an automatic connection, a commonality, that can break the ice in an otherwise weird situation.
Loneliness: A cigarette is can be a welcomed companion when your friends aren’t around. This is more common than people realize. Smoking can take your mind off the absence of others, but it’s important to recognize that distractions aren’t solutions. 4 social
Arguments: Verbal confrontations can be emotionally jarring. Anger, frustration, and disappointment are all easy excuses for you to grab a cigarette.
Feeling Content: Smoking is as much a celebratory event as it is a coping mechanism for negative stress. While your own daily routine will determine when and where you experience the urge to smoke, your brain and body’s addiction to nicotine is not so exclusive. In good times or bad, you’re conditioned to think (subconsciously) that cigarettes make it better.
People don’t smoke 20 cigarettes at once. They smoke each cigarette one at a time. They make a choice to pull one out, put it to their lips, flick the lighter, and take a deep breath.
This is a conscious decision, but it is heavily influenced by subconscious triggers. Noticing the patterns that lead to picking up a cigarette will allow you to identify the individual moments that comprise your daily routine. By pinpointing those triggers, you’re able to look the temptress in the eye, to analyze the reasons why this situation is pulling you toward smoking, and to hold onto that realization for next time. From here, you can start to re-wire your brain, to reroute your thoughts and feelings in response to those triggers, thus changing the unconscious influences that drive unhealthy behavior.
If you find yourself at a party wanting to escape, recognize that. Instead of lighting up, get a drink, head to the dance floor, or look for someone friendly and say hello. If you’re in an argument, take deep breaths without the toxins, and if you’re feeling down, concentrate on why you feel that way rather than how you can escape it.
Instead of smoking, drink a bottle of water, chew a piece of gum, take ten long, slow breaths and appreciate the willpower that is fueling your resistance. Pat yourself on the back! You’re one step closer to being tobacco free. Your social triggers can hook you up for quite some time if you don’t act now!
Contact us today to learn more tools for getting on the path to a smoke-free lifestyle, and more info on the hidden triggers that influence our urges to smoke.