Yes, while it may be a total cliché to call willpower the vital ingredient and a most critical tool to employ in a smoker’s quest to quit smoking, it is completely true, time for some methods to prevent smoking. People may question whether or not willpower is a real thing, or just a mental construct that lacks practical meaning outside of philosophical discussions of human qualities.
However, existing and especially emergent research suggests that willpower is very real, and can often be the difference between our ability to accomplish our goals or fail to achieve them. How is willpower defined? One workable definition is that willpower is the exercise of self-control and self-restraint towards the realization of some intended behavior or desired behavioral modification.
Everyone can cite from personal experience or accounts in the media of individuals displaying great and sometimes seemingly unbelievable feats of willpower that allowed them to accomplish incredibly difficult tasks. You may think that willpower is an innate characteristic that people are essentially born with or born without. It is now very clear that willpower not only exists, but, it can be modified.
We can strengthen our willpower and protect and nurture the willpower we possess to last longer and be available when we really need to use it. People can use their rational deliberate intent, supplemented and infused by our emotional subconscious, to bolster our willpower.
While willpower can be enhanced, it can also be depleted and “used-up” by physical and/or mental stress, e.g., the constant vigilance needed to thwart a temptation, control a habit or counter a behavioral tendency leads to a diminishment of our brain’s mental energy and this action simultaneously depletes sour willpower. When our willpower is diminished it becomes much more likely that we will give in to a temptation, or engage in a behavior that we might otherwise wish to avoid.
When we are stressed and our willpower is challenged, it can be recharged by various tactics. The most effective, in the short-run and the quickest route, is to consume a food with a high glycemic index that will be converted to glucose in the body very rapidly and help to refuel the brain and re-energize the brain’s pool of mental energy. When this mental energy is re-charged, our willpower is re-energized as well.
Over the long-run, an individual can employ certain recognized means to boost their mental energy and thereby maintain and/or boost their willpower as well. These mental energy boosters include:
* getting adequate sleep (7-8 hours form most people)
* getting adequate exercise (a regular routine of 150 minutes or more per week)
* maintaining a fairly steady level of sugar in the blood to avoid a blood sugar spike and the subsequent blood sugar crash that follows
* reduce or avoid stressors you know affect you and be better prepared to handle the stress that you cannot avoid
*minimize unnecessary drains on our mental energy reservoir by use of the following:
* use check-lists and other automatic reminder systems to remove unnecessary thoughts from your brain that drain your attention
* concentrate on single tasks, not multi-tasks that diffuse ones attention and stress the brain
* take regular “breaks” and distractions from intense thinking and concentration
Remind yourself daily of the reasons why you want to change or modify a behavior, or eliminate a habitual response
Directly linked to quitting smoking
While you might find the previous list interesting, you might also wonder how this is directly linked to quitting smoking. It is very clear that smoking is a habit based on the twin physical and psychological dependencies formed by the smoking habit. These dependencies bond us to the habitual behavior, in this case smoking, by the power of our brains, and, it is only using the power of the brain that we can disrupt, break and sever that dependency for good.
Our brains intent to quit smoking is manifested by our will and resolve to quit, and, everything the smoker can do to sustain and increase that will and resolve will materially aid him/her in the process of quitting smoking. It is only via our self-control as evidenced by our willpower and resolve to stop smoking that we can accomplish this goal and make it last a lifetime.
We all give willpower at least some “lip-service” as to its role in facilitating behavioral change, but few of us really fully understand or appreciate the critical role it plays in translating our intentions into actions. If willpower is the key to being able to quit smoking, a fair question is how we can use some of the information in this posting to provide practical tips or advice on helping the smoker to quit. What follows will speak to some practical implications.
For example, it is clear that the best and most effective use of willpower is to not rely on it for too long or too often, lest it become depleted and no longer optimally effective. For the smoker this means taking whatever actions you can to limited accessibility to smoking or relapsing after you have initially quit. This means doing all of the obvious things like having no cigarettes, no ashtrays, and no lighters in the house, car or office. It also means avoiding or minimizing situations where you typically smoke, or used to smoke. So, for the first few weeks, at least, it would be beneficial to avoid the social situations where smoking is almost automatic, like a party, dinner out with friends, or any situation where you are consuming alcohol.
It also means trying to avoid those psychosocial cues that so frequently trigger the “lighting-up” process. If you are a smoker you know what these are for you, but, for many smokers these include: drinking coffee, talking on the phone, going to the bathroom, driving a car, after sex and so forth.
No, you can obviously not avoid all of these activities all of the time, nor would you want to, but, you must be aware that they are semi-automatic events that often trigger your smoking, and, being aware of that, will lessen their ability to “cause” you to smoke.
The smoker can also reinforce their willpower and resolve to quit by focusing, daily, on the higher purposes for which you want to quit. This higher purpose may be to sustain your health and vitality for your children, or your partner, or any significant other. Focus on the core drives motivating you to quit.
If you have quit initially, or are trying for a while to just cut-back, you can also try a little mental “trick” that may help you to get through a rough patch where your willpower and resolve are waning.
Do not dwell on the thought that you are giving up smoking forever, that is, for life. Think about simply not smoking for the next hour, or for this very day. Such re-framing of your thinking seems to make the “loss” a little bit easier to accept and allow the brain to focus more completely only on the moment at hand.
Finally, if you do succumb and light-up when you are trying to quit you can do the following. First, do not smoke the whole cigarette, take a puff or two and extinguish it. You do not have to smoke the whole thing.
Keep in mind, that a relapse is very common and very human; do not use it as an excuse to tell yourself that you have failed so you may as well give-up on this particular quit smoking attempt. You can close your eyes, breathe deeply, count to ten, and, remember you are resolved to quit smoking, even if, you do not succeed without any set-backs.
Using the willpower your brain creates through rational thoughts and via your emotional subconscious can allow you to thwart the urges and cravings you may have to smoke. Willpower is very real, it can be used up, but, it can also be nourished and increased. Using your willpower will allow you, the smoker, to translate your intent into actions that will greatly facilitate your quitting smoking for life.
23 other tips to quit smoking
Try one of these 23 methods to prevent smoking and begin your course towards a healthier, smoke-free life.
Make an honest list of All of the things you like about smoking.
Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and then write them on one side; on the other side create a list of all the things you dislike, like how it may interfere with your health, work, family, etc., indicates Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D., director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Think about the list over time, and create modifications. If you’re courageous enough, get opinions from family and friends about matters they don’t like about your use of smokes. If the negative side impacts the positive side, you’re ready to quit.
Then make another list of why stopping will not be easy.
Be thorough, even if the list becomes long and discouraging. Here is the key part: Next to each entry, listing one or more options for overcoming that challenge. For instance, 1 item might be: “Nicotine is an addictive drug.” Your choice might be: “Attempt a nicotine replacement substitute.” Another reason might be: “Smoking helps me deal with stress.” Your option could be: “Take five-minute walks rather.” The more you anticipate the challenges to quitting, and their answers, the better your odds of succeeding.
listing one or more options for overcoming that challenge. For instance, 1 item might be: “Nicotine is an addictive drug.” Your choice might be: “Attempt a nicotine replacement substitute.” Another reason might be: “Smoking helps me deal with stress.” Your option could be: “Take five-minute walks rather.” The more you anticipate the challenges to quitting, and their answers, the better your odds of succeeding.
You might like this:
Set a quit date.
Write a “stop date contract” which includes your signature and that of a supportive note.
Write all of your reasons for stopping on an index card.
Here are some to get you started: “My daughter, my granddaughter, my spouse, my spouse…” You get the idea. Keep it near you at all times.
Rather, only buy a bunch at a time, and just carry three or two with you in some time (try placing them in an Altoids tin). Eventually, you will find that, when you need a smoke, then you won’t have any immediately accessible. That will slowly wean you down to fewer cigarettes.
Also notice what you are doing at the time and just how awful the craving would be to see if specific times of the afternoon or actions increase your cravings, indicates Gaylene Mooney, chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues.
Tips include: take a stroll, drink a glass of water, kiss your spouse or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car, wash out a cabinet or closet, have intercourse, chew a piece of gum, clean your face, brush your teeth, and have a nap, get a cup of tea or coffee, practice your deep breathing, light a candle. Make copies of this list and keep one with you at all times so when the craving strikes, you are able to whip out the listing and quickly do something out of it.
Studies find that you’re less likely to become a successful quitter if you quit when you’re miserable or under a lot of anxiety.
Including all smoking paraphernalia — leftover cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays, cigarette holders, even the milder in your vehicle.
You wish to physically see how much you have been spending. Earmark that cash for something you have always dreamed of doing, but never thought you could afford, make it a cruise to Alaska or a first-class ticket to visit an old school buddy.
Too much caffeine while quitting can cause the jitters.
Ask people who know you well to remind one of the challenges you have successfully conquer, ” says Dr. Lieberman. This will give you the essential self-confidence to stay with your pledge to not smoke.
You may even change your cigarette habit for a nut habit, also eat four nuts inside their shell for each and every cigarette you would like to smoke. In this manner, you are using your hands and your mouth, getting the identical physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.
The action of brewing the tea and slowing sipping it as it cools will offer the same strain relief as a hit of nicotine. Or carry cinnamon-flavored toothpicks and suck on one whenever a cig craving hits.
It takes about precisely the exact same time and is much more fun (although, like cigarettes, it could get addictive). If your organization prohibits games like this, find another five-minute diversion: a telephone call, a stroll, or eating a piece of fruit outdoors (although not where smokers congregate).
British researchers found volunteers hoping to stop smoking were better able to dismiss their urges to smoke when they were advised to envision a baseball match.
Do not allow anybody to use tobacco at your house, vehicle, or even while sitting alongside you in a restaurant. Make real “No Smoking” signs and hang them all around your house and in your car.
Methods to prevent smoking
Whenever you are tempted to light up, take a look at each of the ways smoking can damage your health: • Increases risk of lung, bladder, pancreatic, mouth, esophageal, and other cancers, such as leukemia
• Increases risk of Cardiovascular Disease, stroke, high blood pressure
• Increases risk of diabetes • Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease
• Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease
• Affects mental memory and capacity • Contributes to lean bones• Increases probability of impotence
• Reduces fertility
• increases capacity to smell and flavor • consequences in low-birth-weight, premature infants
• Increases risk of depression in adolescents
• bettering your child’s risk of obesity and diabetes later in life if you smoked while pregnant
Sit in a different chair at breakfast or choose another route to work. If you usually have a smoke and drink after work, change this into a walk.
1 study found that shot 1 milliliters four times daily, it aided habitual tobacco smokers considerably reduce a number of cigarettes they smoked.
Tell friends, family, co-workers, boss, spouse, and kids how you feel.
If something makes you mad, express it rather than smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you are bored, acknowledge to yourself that you are tired and find something lively to do instead of lighting up.
You can also do it yourself by taping “seeds” (little beads) onto the acupuncture points and squeezing them whenever cravings appear.
You haven’t failed. Some individuals must stop as many as eight days before they’re effective.
Related article: What Happens When You Stop Smoking