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Mind Tools to Stay Positive When We Quit Smoking

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Updated March 26, 2014

Mind Tools to Stay Positive When We Quit Smoking Leslie
I'd like to introduce you to Leslie. She recently quit smoking and wrote the following post on the About.com Smoking Cessation forum in an effort to keep her priorities in line. There are many pearls of wisdom in it that you can use to help you stay the course as well, if you've quit smoking.

Thanks, Leslie - take your quit one simple day at a time and you'll find your peace faster than you think.

From Leslie:

I'm writing this for myself as I anticipate some difficulty visiting and staying with a smoker this coming Monday. I will be day 6 into my quit and preparation will be key to avoid disaster.

BELIEVE

I can hope, hope is a nice thing to have. But I will try to turn that hope to belief. It holds more conviction. I can't just hope to quit or succeed. I have stopped smoking!

So why not foster my belief in myself? To believe is to have certainty. Certainty is not something that comes easily to new quitters. But why not foster the belief even if the certainty is not at all there?

The mind is a powerful tool. To start actively changing the way we think is to start actively changing who we are. Even if you don't feel it, then do the next best thing, keep telling yourself that you do. That's right - fake it. Your body and mind will catch up eventually.

PRIORITIZE

Find what works for you day-to-day for your quit program and make that the priority. Read articles, research or post on the forum. There is an abundance of knowledge to be gained. Knowledge is power. Find the information you need for yourself. Find what will work for you.

MENTAL & PHYSICAL HEALTH

These are two separate issues that are closely connected - our minds and bodies. We need to do our best for both. If you are newly quit, your mind and body are already doing the work to heal on auto pilot. Amazing, right?!

Your mind is being reconditioned to a new addiction-free life, and your body is quickly purging itself of harmful poisons, toxins and chemicals. Even if physically and mentally we feel a total wreck, the beauty is that it is still happening AUTOMATICALLY! Without us even lifting a feather. Cool, right!

But why not help the process along?

Uplift yourself mentally by practiced positivity. Expect those negative moments and fight for yourself. Don't allow nicotine withdrawal to control you. Don't mope, fantasize or glorify your smoking past. You were not happy as a smoker and you will only feel devastated going back.

Keep looking forward to the day when not smoking will no longer feel a struggle. It will come.

Do things to boost your physical health. Try to rest, sleep, eat better, exercise, drink water, take vitamins, and breathe deeply. It seems like a long list, but you can do it!

VISUALIZE

They say many successful people -- athletes, world business leaders etc., could visualize their ideas into action. They could see their goals, then see themselves attaining that goal. Why not us?

Visualize the long term:

Not only this day of being smoke-free but years of smoke-free living. Imagine that our bodies and minds are completely healed and we no longer have the slightest clue why we wished to smoke to begin with. It is no longer a battle. We won long ago. Maybe some of us have some aftereffects of our smoking history, but we are stronger than we could have ever believed possible. All of us have greatly extended the quality and quantity of our lives. We are peaceful in our hearts, and proud in our minds. Visualize yourself in this place someday.

CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES

Perhaps you just quit and made it through the first hour. CONGRATULATIONS! Maybe this is the first time in 30 years you had a cup of coffee without a cigarette. GOOD JOB! Maybe you made love and didn't reach for a smoke afterward. GOOD FOR YOU. Perhaps it is day 247 and for some reason it felt difficult. You're baffled but you made it through the day. EXCELLENT! Or, maybe you were doing amazing, thought you were in the free and clear but you slipped up and smoked. You immediately felt horrible and started your quit once again. WAY TO GET RIGHT BACK UP ON THE HORSE!

Celebrate your accomplishment as they come to you. Let them fill you with pride and confidence, and know there are more to come. Let them spur you on. Keep them close and look for what you have achieved. List them out for yourself if it helps.

HELP SOMEONE ELSE/GIVE SOMETHING BACK

Support another quitter. Give to a charity. It doesn't have to be money given - give of yourself. De-clutter what you no longer need or use at home, online organizations like Big Brothers and Big sisters will come right to your home for a pickup. Volunteer your time. No time? Call to brighten someone's day, be kind, funny, gregarious, give a genuine compliment. No one to call? Then whomever you may encounter on your daily routine can receive the warmth of your smile or a kind word.

We all rush around and get caught up in ourselves. I have days when I merely mumble my thanks to those who have performed a service for me (tellers, clerks, strangers holding the door open, etc.) as I fiddle and fish in my purse, talk on my cell, return a text.

On a good day I am present in the world around me. Despite my moods I try to extend some kindness to the world with a heartfelt 'thank you' to those who have served me. I once apologized to my server at Dunkin Donuts as I had to take a call during my order. She was baffled by this. But why not take a moment to acknowledge each other. You will be pleasantly surprised by the joy you can bring to the world, and you will be rewarded by having it returned to you.

Leslie's right. When we step outside of ourselves, we often find that the struggle we're having lessens and the load gets lighter.

Take your quit program one simple day at a time and you'll find soon enough that you have moved beyond nicotine withdrawal and are sailing along in smoother waters.

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