Most smokers recognise that they use cigarettes to manage stress. Unfortunately nicotine isn’t actually very useful for this but smoking does distract your thoughts for a few moments.
After you quit it is important to have a plan in place to deal with any big upsets which come your way.
A recent client who was very nervous about quitting did very well for 5 days, no desire for a cigarette and reported that she felt really excited about how her new life as a non-smoker would pan out, especially as she would have a lot more money in her purse each week.
But she had a big upset with a family member and went outside to her car, where against my advice she still had some cigarettes. She smoked and quickly regretted it. An important point is that if she had discarded her smokes, it would have been a big effort to get more and she would have given herself a buffer zone to calm down.
When she came in for her follow up session 8 days after quitting she said that she had only had one smoke that day, and when I had her hold her cigarettes to her nose and inhale she had almost no interest.
If she hadn’t come back in she would have crept back to smoking over 25 per day within a week or so.
What this meant to me was that she had been successful in quitting but didn’t put my advice into play in the event of strong stress.
In that session we barely mentioned smoking, but instead we worked on reducing the stress she felt with her family member and designed a future strategy when this problem surfaced again, which was about 100% certain. She left feeling calm and confident and was successful as a non-smoker.
For everyone who quits smoking, there is a thing called life which is going to bite you sooner or later. To not have a plan to manage such situations will surely lead to disaster.
I recommend you treat it like a fire drill. Actually create and write down what you will do if a big stress lands in your lap. It’s an if, then strategy.
Simply put if problem X happens then I will do Y. Without such a strategy then you will slip into reactive stress mode and it’s possible that there will be a cigarette close at hand.
So what is your plan to manage the next life challenge?