Are smoking cigarettes relaxing you, or have you been tricked into thinking that?
Most smokers will gladly admit at some stage to giving a reason or two for not quitting smoking and maintaining the habit. Whether the reason is related to the fear of putting weight on or not having an alternative method to relax when stress arises. Every individual is unique and so will the reasons for staying a smoker.
Cigarette smoking once was prescribed by general practitioners in the early days for relaxation. This period is long gone. Once upon a time, even advertising companies claimed their brands proved less irritating to the throat than any other brand. We know now the adverse impacts of cigarette smoking, whether this is first or second-hand smoking.
The good news is that we can finally say no with great confidence that cigarette smoking is not a relaxant. Of course, history has told us it does relax us, and yes, it can give the illusion of being relaxing. Nicotine is a stimulant, speeding up our bodies’ systems, including the respiratory and vascular systems. This can cause people to feel anxious most of the time, needing the next cigarette and one after, going through this vicious cycle again and again.
When cigarette smoking is your stress relief tool, there are a few essential things to remember.
The confused smoker.
- A smoker will usually spark up a cigarette far away from the stressor. Think about it. Your boss yells at you, you have to deliver a presentation, or the work has piled on, and all you can think about is, “I need a cigarette to calm my nerves”. It is not the cigarette that is calming your nerves; as we confirmed, it is a stimulant; it removes yourself from the situation and redirects your attention onto something else. Even if this means going downstairs, around the corner from your workplace to spark up a cigarette, staring into space, calling a friend or responding to a text message and playing with the lighter. Even more so when you take a colleague outside to smoke and debrief. Talking about your concerns can reduce your stress levels short term; however, it is not the nicotine assisting with this process.
- Smoking mimics traditional deep breathing exercises. Anyone who uses mindfulness, meditates, or attends yoga classes understands that breathing is an essential, fundamental part of its practices. As you inhale the cigarette smoke and then exhale, you create a sense of relaxation. Of course, not long after, your heart and nervous system are activated and working twice as hard to deal with the deadly toxins. But in that very short moment, breathing in and out stabilises your breathing and requires you to focus on that task.
- The smoker makes a connection between smoking and a relaxing and joyful experience. Each experience is layered upon layer until it is encoded deeply in the subconscious mind. Everything is connected one way or the other so that people can make positive relationships with smoking. Perhaps after work, drinks mean hanging out at the local pub in the courtyard with good company, beer in hand, and burning cigarettes. In fact, the person who uses all three methods has connected relaxation with social connections and has steered away from the usual daily stresses.
There is hope of becoming a non-smoker.
Humans are very good at coming up with reasons why we need to smoke or have that one last smoke. However, there is no such thing as one last smoke or puff.
Here is one out of many explanations why smokers continue to rationalise smoking. Our conscious mind has been designed to judge, analyse, rationalise, and delete or store incoming information. It also works on willpower, which is only a short term solution, especially when considering quitting smoking. Even when the information is for our own good, our conscious mind can reject it. Smokers already know that smoking is bad for them. Sometimes or most of the time, it is not enough to quit the habit, knowing that smoking is causing bad health. So you need to go deeper and in saying that through hypnosis to reprogram the brain.
Change is feasible with effective hypnotherapy, the smokers’ motivation and commitment to becoming a non-smoker. The non-smoker can still go for a drink and not smoke. The non-smoker can still be around people who smoke and is more likely to hate the habit even more. You are always in control.
Changing our routines and developing new strategies to deal with stress and hypnotherapy can help you achieve a non-smoker status. Hypnotherapy is an excellent tool for becoming a non-smoker forever. It has been shown to be one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking.
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