Does smoking really relax you? Or is it that we only think it’s relaxing us but it isn’t?
That’s exactly what I’ll be digging into, because a lot of people who want to stop smoking cold turkey, don’t, because they believe that smoking is the only way they can relax or handle stress.
Why do we think smoking relaxes us? Let me begin by discussing why smoking does not relax us. What smoking actually does is it agitates your mind. And so, when we expect a cigarette at a certain time, our mind becomes agitated. Most people smoke on a schedule or in a set pattern. For example, at certain times in their morning, or during breaks at work. When you can’t have that cigarette at that specific time, you become stressed and agitated. This applies to vaping as well. So if you’re trying to stop smoking by vaping, the same applies to you.
That agitated feeling comes from the reward neurotransmitter dopamine. Like a small child tugging at you, the reward brain will agitate you and say, “smoke, it will take care of you”. The brain perceives that cigarette as a reward. So even if you want to stop smoking cold turkey, it will bug you. It will actually bug you for a cigarette. So if you’re already feeling stressed, now your brain’s want and need for a cigarette will stress you out further because it expects you to smoke when you’re experiencing stress, so you experience agitation on top of stress.
When we smoke, it relieves that agitation, but it doesn't really relieve the stress. You are the one who relieves your stress not smoking. Before you smoked you managed your stress just fine as a non-smoker. In fact, childhood and the teenage years are some of the most stressful times of your life and you managed without cigarettes. But the minute you started smoking, your brain began to expect that cigarette and started agitating you until it got it. “Give me that cigarette, give me that cigarette.” It is constantly nagging you. Right? The part of our brain that smokes is very agitating.
The other thing is that smoking elevates our heart rate, and it stimulates our central nervous system. So it actually does a lot of things that do not relax us, but that actually create stimulation, anxiety and agitation.
Often we go outside and smoke a cigarette. Which means that we’re getting away from the stressor. Maybe it’s a bad phone call, a fight with a loved one, a co-worker who is driving you crazy. But either way, when you go outside, you’re physically removing yourself from the stressor.
Typically you go outside, have ten or fifteen minutes alone and smoke one or two cigarettes. You might pace. You’ll have a few minutes of peace, and possibly have a conversation with yourself. All of that calms you down, it’s not the cigarette itself. We calm ourselves down. We change the way that we're thinking about the things that are stressing us out because our thoughts create our internal feelings.
The other thing that we are doing when we're stepping outside and smoking a cigarette is we’re taking deep breaths of fresh, clean air. Yes, you are inhaling toxins from the cigarettes, but even so, you’re getting a nice, deep breath of fresh air. That fills our lungs with oxygen, and our brain with oxygen. That relaxes us.
So if you want to stop smoking cold turkey, I want to encourage you to believe in yourself and your ability to become a non-smoker. I believe in you and know you’re capable of it, because I’ve helped over 10,000 people to stop smoking and become free! And I know that the key factor in quitting smoking, is to believe in yourself and your ability to stop.
Part of that is to believe you can manage your stress. I absolutely know you can manage your stress as a non-smoker. It's up to you to believe that you can do it and start today.
If you want to get ready to stop smoking cold turkey or if you're ready to stop smoking now, I have a freebie that has some really awesome mental techniques stop smoking that help you remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. It's a great introduction to my stop smoking hypnotherapy program. Check that out by clicking here.