Ten things that every new non smoker should refuse to believe
As a new non-smoker, you'll probably be given lots of advice. Some of it may be really good, but here are ten things you should absolutely refuse to believe. There are lots of tips on the Net for those who want to quit but I want to aim this at those who have already quit, whether this is via the NHS #stoptober or #smokefree campaigns, or for other reasons.
1. I've failed before so I'll fail again
Most smokers quit several times before they quit for good. Use each past attempt to learn what works for you and what doesn't. If stress sent you back to it last time, make sure you learn some stress management techniques before quitting again. If being lonely sent you back to it, make sure you have a support network in place. If you used willpower alone last time consider a support method like hypnotherapy this time.
2. Just one won't matter
Actually, it probably will. As a hypnotherapist helping people to quit, I've come across one or two who claim to have quit, then had just one cigarette, discovered how much they hated them and quit forever. Where it's true, these people are few and far between. For the vast majority, cigarettes are like peanuts, you can't have just one.
3. Cravings are a sign you need a cigarette
4. I don't have enough willpower
It can be helpful to think less about willpower and more about determination. Willpower implies a struggle, but determination is just putting your head down and going for it. Think about other times when you have worked hard for something you wanted; studying for exams, driving lessons, even digging your garden. It all took determination and stick-to-it-ness. Keep reminding yourself of these successful times as you quit, and keep reminding yourself of why you are doing it.
5. There's no point in quitting if the damage is already done
Although some benefits of quitting take years to fully materialise, others happen within a few days or even hours. However long you have smoked, you can improve your health and extend your life expectancy by quitting.
6. Some smokers are not affected by their smoking, I might be one of them
Smoking kills one out of every two smokers so, statistically, this is correct. But put it in context. Would you cross a road - or teach your children to do so - when there was a 50% chance of reaching the other side safely?
7. Smoking kept me calm
Smoking doesn't change what's stressing you out, it just distracts you from it for a while, or gives you an excuse for a 'time out' from a stressful situation. As a hypnotherapist, I teach people healthier ways to achieve this and you can learn them too. Quitting itself can be stressful for some people but, in the long term, those who quit are happier, and suffer less anxiety and depression than those who smoke.
8. Smoking kept me slim
When you smoke your body uses a lot of energy to deal with the poisons you are pumping into it. Some of the chemicals in cigarettes are thought to be appetite suppressants. This means when you quit it's usual to gain a bit of weight over the short term. However, in the long-term, successful quitters and non-smokers don't have significant weight differences.
9. I should keep my attempt to quit smoking quiet in case I fail
Having support from friends and colleagues when you quit is important, at least in the short term. Having at least one person to turn to if you feel likely to relapse is particularly useful. Being offered a cigarette by someone else may make it more difficult to stay smoke-free, and friends are more likely to do this if they notice you are not smoking but don't know why. So tell everyone, get the support system in place and accept a bit of help if you need it.
10. I started cold turkey and it's too late to use anything else
Not true, use whatever method or combination of methods you need to quit. I'm happy for my clients to combine hypnotherapy with other methods if they want to, or to come to me when they've quit another way and need a bit of support to remain a non-smoker.
To find out more about how I can help you quit or stay smokefree, click here.
Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and The Hypnotherapist's Companion, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.
For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593.
Researcher & drafter: Rachel Waller.