Have you been afraid of stopping smoking because you're worried about the withdrawals, or crazy cravings, or gaining weight and getting fat? You’re not alone! So many people allow the fears that surround stopping smoking to get in the way of them becoming free of the slavery of smoking. Well I’m about to bust the 17 biggest myths that surround becoming a non-smoker.
I've been a smoking cessation specialist for over 20 years and these are the main fears that most people have that get in their way of becoming a non-smoker.
So number one is I have an addictive personality. Have you heard that one before? Have you been using that one yourself? Here's the thing about saying that you have an addictive personality...it completely takes your power away from you. You can absolutely stop smoking cold turkey when your mind is in the right place.
The addiction to nicotine, that part of smoking is actually mental, it’s the main driver. And it’s very addictive, but it isn’t due to your personality. It doesn’t mean you have an “addictive” personality. The moment that you step out of that identity and say, “I am somebody who’s willing and ready to stop smoking cold turkey”, you take back that power.
Another identity that a lot of us fall into, is thinking we have an oral fixation. A big fear for a lot of people is that once they stop using cigarettes or vaping, that they’ll start eating a lot of food. That absolutely doesn’t happen.
Whether you’re a natural snacker, or you naturally put pens in your mouth or stuff like that, all of those habits are natural patterns. They’re patterns that want to be repeated. You can focus your mind on chewing gum, or putting a pen in your mouth. But it's not a problem that you can’t fix. You don’t have this permanent problem, that’s absolutely not true. And buying into that, again, takes your power away! You can become a non-smoker.
When your mind is in the right place, the actual transition into becoming a non-smoker is relatively easy. I’ve worked with tens of thousands of people who were very heavy smokers, and once their mind was in the right place, it was easy for them and they didn’t feel any physical withdrawal. You do have withdrawal from nicotine.
But the truth is, every single night when you go to sleep, you’re withdrawing from nicotine. The actual physical withdrawal is no big deal. It’s the mental reaction to the idea of withdrawing that freaks us out and creates these horrible physical feelings. That’s why it’s so critical that your mind is ready and in the right place.
I'm a former pack and a half a day smoker and I stopped smoking over 23 years ago. And before I stopped smoking using stop smoking hypnosis, I used cigarettes as a way to manage my weight. Ironically, I was 40 pounds heavier than I am today. Smoking didn't necessarily help me manage my weight. In fact, I am a weight specialist as well with hypnosis and I know the true factors behind long term permanent weight management. And smoking is not a long term permanent weight management tool.
Let me just be really honest with you there. If you are using smoking as a way to manage your weight, the fact of the matter is it is not a long term tool for you. You can manage your weight as a non-smoker. There are ways to stop smoking cold turkey where you won’t gain weight at all. The main reason we start gaining once we quit smoking is because we feel deprived. And once we feel deprived, we start feeding ourselves carbohydrates. And those carbs elevate our blood sugar. Then, our blood sugar crashes. Which makes us feel more hungry, so we eat more. But once you have the mental part right, you won’t feel deprived. And you won’t start using food to fill that void.
If you focus on becoming a non-smoker and getting healthy, you’ll thrive. That’s what happened to me when I used stop smoking hypnosis, and my clients. I started exercising and feeding myself not to fill a void, but to nourish my body. And I lost 40 pounds. And, I’ve kept it off for over 23 years.
Let's set the record straight. Because I get a lot of clients that tell me they’re going to have to switch over to tea. And I always ask why. You don’t have to give up coffee to be a non-smoker! There are millions upon millions of people who don’t smoke and they drink coffee. When you go into Starbucks, the stools are full of non-smokers. At the very least, they’re sitting in that chair enjoying their coffee without smoking a cigarette.
Once you become a non-smoker, you’ll actually enjoy coffee more. Because once your taste buds are back to normal, you’ll be able to truly enjoy the flavor, the taste, the aroma, and the complexity of a cup of coffee, in a way that you never could as a smoker. I love my coffee and I'm a non-smoker.
So many people say the same thing about alcohol that they do about coffee. They think they’ll have to give up drinking. No, not at all. The alcohol industry is doing fantastically and there are less and less people smoking.
As a non-smoker, you can still let your hair down and enjoy the taste of alcohol. You’ll enjoy the taste even more as a non-smoker since your sense of taste will improve once you quit smoking. I live in California, I assure you the wine industry is doing fantastically, regardless of if people are smoking or not.
Here’s an interesting fact for you...my physical practice is in Los Angeles, CA. The land of cars. Makes sense, right? Busy people have busy lives and they need a car to get to and from work, appointments, all of that. But driving is one of the only times in our busy lives today that we don’t have to do anything BUT drive. Driving is a more solitary act, or it should be. We shouldn’t be playing on our phones or being as wired in as we normally are. It can be meditative.
When we smoke, we see everything that we do as an act that should include smoking, like driving in our cars. It’s entirely in our heads. We don’t have to have a cigarette to drive. People buy new cars and forbid themselves from smoking in them, or parents choose never to smoke in a car with children, and they’re able to drive just fine.
All right, let's talk about going number two. A lot of people have a fear that they're going to get really constipated when they stop smoking. There is a tiny bit of truth to this. But I want to walk you through it so that you don’t fear it or use it as an excuse. Ultimately, your body is going to work correctly for you. Nicotine stimulates the bowel wall. So when you smoke, your bowel gets really lazy because basically nicotine is doing the job for the bowel, right? Like the bowel basically says the cigarettes are going to do the work for me, I don’t have to work and push things along.
When we become a non-smoker, there’s going to be a transition time for the bowel to realize that it needs to start doing all the work on its own again. You just have to be patient and help things along with tinctures or teas. Just as smoking is not a long term weight management tool, it is also not a long term bowel regulation tool.
A lot of people use cigarettes to escape people. Life can be really stressful, and we’re busy, and we get inundated with a lot of things over the course of the day. Most smokers use their cigarettes to give themselves permission to escape other people, to gain peace and quiet. When you’re out at a club or a bar, you step outside to smoke, and all of a sudden it’s quiet. You live in a busy household, maybe you have kids, or you live with a lot of other people. And you go outside to sit in the quiet and the peace while you smoke.
We have to recognize that we love our own company, and the human brain actually needs to decompress several times a day with ourselves alone. Once we recognize this, we can take the power away from the cigarettes. Cigarettes are not the reason that you need to escape. And they don’t help you escape. You have to grant yourself permission to seek out that peace and quiet without smoking.
I need cigarettes to hang out with my friends who also smoke. That absolutely is not true either. There are many, many non-smokers who hang out with smokers. And the interesting thing is throughout my 20 years in practice, I’ve seen so many trends when it comes to the ages of people who’ve stopped smoking. The thirties are a big era for people to stop smoking. And then there’s later into the forties and fifties. Those are the two big age ranges for people to stop smoking. So if you’re in your thirties, what will happen naturally is that many of your friends will eventually stop smoking, for a couple of reasons. So you’re eventually going to be hanging out with your friends as non-smokers. Same is true in your late forties, early fifties.
We’re tribal people. And as smokers, we see the cigarette as an entry into hanging out with friends and family. But once you’re clear on the fact that the cigarettes aren’t the reason you’re hanging out with those friends, you’re fine. Once you’re clear that you’re a non-smoker, it’s totally fine. It really is a mental thing. Your friends and family will learn you’re a non-smoker, and that might be the push that they need to become a non-smoker too. I have two friends who smoke. They know what I do for a living, but we just don’t discuss it. I hang out with them, they puff away, and nothing is weird.
This is a big one for a lot of people. They're afraid that their cigarettes give them that rebel edge and without it, they're not going to have that anymore. When you think about it, it's kind of ludicrous that choking yourself with smoke is rebellious. It's rebelling against yourself primarily. I grew up in Seattle, which is a very, very health conscious area. I didn’t start smoking until I moved to New York City. And I thought smoking made me cool and all these New Yorkers around me were smoking.
But when I became a non-smoker, I realized that smoking is actually boring. When you actually light a cigarette and stand there, most people have to get on their phone or do something else while they're smoking because the actual act of smoking is boring in and of itself. And I learned new things to do instead of smoking.
The idea that smoking is exciting or gives you this chic or rebel edge, while you’re choking yourself with smoke, is ludacris. As a non-smoker, you can cultivate a rebellious edge too. There are far more eccentric and cool ways to rebel than smoking.
I will be bored if I don't smoke. Well that goes back to the whole smoking is boring thing. Smoking doesn’t alleviate boredom. It supposedly gives you something to do. But usually what you’re doing is playing on your phone, watching television, driving, or doing something in addition to the act of smoking.
When I became a non-smoker, I actually got into a lot of interesting new things. Becoming a non-smoker actually alleviates boredom because you’re able to get on with your life, and you feel a lot better so you’re able to things you wouldn’t normally have physically been able to do. You will feel better, be healthier, able to be more active, and you'll learn new things to do instead of smoking.
No, you won't. We are adaptable beings. You probably had a teddy bear or a blankie or a pacifier that you were super into as a child. You couldn't be separated from it, it went with you wherever you went when you were a kid. And guess what? You're not thinking about that thing today. And you know, cigarettes are like that pacifier or that teddy bear that we think we need and can’t live without.
But you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t ready. What you really just need is a nudge, a push, to admit that to yourself. You can leave that blankie behind and move forward. Becoming a non-smoker isn’t about not smoking. It’s about evolving into our best self and learning new ways to love and care for ourselves. Smoking takes your power away. Stopping smoking gives you that power back.
The way that the mind works around is we see cigarettes as our friend. And that's because cigarettes are literally in the same place of our brain where we house our friends, our family, and all the people that we love. Isn't that crazy? So when I work with people, we work to move the smoking to a different part of their brain, where smoking is an enemy rather than a friend. You can do that too. You can start to look at smoking and realizing that your “friend” is costing you money, making you go outside even when it’s freezing, making your hair and clothes stink, and more. That “friend” has been linked to cancer and heart disease, just to name a few.
This is a bad relationship. Think about bad relationships you’ve had in the past, either with a partner or a friend. At first, you thought this person was so amazing and cool. And later, you wake up one day and realize that they aren’t. And so you moved on from that relationship. You need to think of smoking in that same way.
We’re afraid to stop smoking. We’re afraid that once we quit, we’ll be anxious and nervous. But the truth is, smoking creates anxiety. It does not alleviate it. Smoking elevates our central nervous system, it agitates and elevates our heart rate.
When we’re smoking, we are often worried and anxious that it will cause us to get sick, or die. We’re trying to hide from people. Trying to figure out when we’ll be able to get that next cigarette. Stressing out over if the store is still open at night when we run out. Stressing out because our lighter ran out of fluid and we can’t go get another one at the time. The part of your brain that loves smoking will lie to you and tell you that smoking relaxes you and takes away anxiety. But it doesn’t. It does the opposite actually.
Last but not least, I love smoking. So this is one of the biggest myths that I see. I get people coming into my office, and they have collapsed lungs or COPD or something really serious and they'll say to me, “Rita, you know, I just love smoking and if I didn't have COPD or if my lung wasn't collapsed, I would just keep right on smoking cause I love it.” And then I ask them to tell me what they love about it. And typically they tell me that they aren’t sure, they’ve never really thought about it. And the reason is, the part of your brain that loves smoking, isn’t really you. But it’s very powerful and that part of your brain tells you that you love smoking, even though it’s not true. You can be coughing, you can be hacking. You could be hiding your habit and stressed to the max. But that part of the brain just keeps on telling you that you love smoking so much.
You don’t love it. It takes your power and your health and your freedom away from you. It keeps you enslaved. The easiest way to break that love affair is to just acknowledge how you really feel about smoking. There may be parts associated with it that you DO love. And then get very honest about it with yourself. Pretty quickly, the myth that you love smoking so much will quickly disappear. You’ll then be able to make the decision to be a non-smoker.
You have every ability to become a non-smoker and the experience can be a happy one. It can be fulfilling. It can be the most amazing experience of your life. I’m lucky, because with what I do, I’m able to see these transformational journeys.
Stopping smoking is not about deprivation, it’s actually about transformation. It’s about you becoming your best self. And that means that you’ll be living your best life. Don’t let the myths take away your power and your opportunity to have that best life. Believe in yourself and know that you can do it, and you can become free. If you’d like to learn more about becoming free and starting that best life now, check out my free online webinar that helps you do exactly that.