Saturday, August 30, 2008

Making Smoking a Conscious Choice

Have you ever found a cigarette in your mouth and forgot that you had lite up or had a second one in the ashtray? Smoking becomes an unconscious, automatic habit. Most cigarettes are not conscious choices but a reflex. The brain triggers a want, desire or craving for a cigarette and the smoker automatically reaches for one without consciously thinking about it. The brain reflex continues after an individual decides to quit and these wants, desires or cravings become stronger and build on one another, especially during the first few weeks. Becoming aware of when, where and why you are reaching for a cigarette can help develop a successful plan for quitting. Before you light up, start a log of what time you smoke, what are you doing, and how you are feeling. Many of your triggers you know about, but there are many that you are not aware of and after quitting, it seems that these triggers come from out of the blue but actually it only seems that way since they were unconscious triggers that you just weren't aware of but your brain remembers every trigger. Every want, desire, or craving for a smoke is your brain saying, "I always get my nicotine when this (fill in the blank) happens, so I want my nicotine and I want it now!" By knowing your triggers, you can plan for alternatives for each trigger. Have a whole tool box of different strategies to deal with your different triggers and you are more likely to be successful than having just one strategy that only works with some of your triggers.

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