Why You Need More Than Willpower To Quit Smoking

“I can confirm that it is true that giving up smoking makes you fat.”

I instantly became terribly happy the second I saw this on my News Feed on Facebook. It meant my friend had decided to quit. I felt proud of his decision, especially because, as an ex-smoker myself, I could relate to it.

I used to smoke a lot of tobacco. I smoked during the day and chain-smoked when drinking. Always carried extra papers, an extra pack of tobacco at home, and multiple lighters “just in case.” I smoked in places where smoking wasn’t allowed — the challenge was stimulating.

One day, I realized that it was time for me to grow up and I quit. I was tired of being a slave to a substance more toxic than most illegal things that are around, fed up with having to manage my habit (spending money, remembering to buy all the necessary items), tired of feeling awkward around non-smokers. And, most importantly, tired of lying to myself that it was something I needed, even though it didn’t make me happier or enhance my life in any way.

The main difficulty of giving up smoking is the difficulty of coming to the decision itself. We are held up by our fear. We are afraid that life will not feel this good anymore, that it will feel different. Oh no! We are afraid of change. How will we enjoy our time with friends if they smoke but we wouldn’t be able to?

Well, how did you enjoy life before you started?

But a lot of people give up. They think they can’t quit. They rely on sheer willpower to get them through, and that, sadly is not often enough.

Willpower is, contrary to the popular belief, a finite resource, which means that there is a fair possibility that a series of negative events will crush it and your no-smoking story will end in something they call “extinction burst” (look it up).

The willpower method might work on some of us, but it is extremely faulty. But we like smoking. This is actually not true — we get addicted to nicotine, and then our brains fabricate the illusion of pleasure. The truth is, what we “enjoy” is simply nicotine. Smoking does not relieve stress or help concentration — it merely relieves the symptoms of not smoking for a while. Because you’re hooked! Non-smokers have more energy and can concentrate better because they are not addicted — it’s the nicotine that makes you lethargic.

We have been brainwashed that smoking is enjoyable and fashionable, the tobacco industry and by famous folks — humans who are either getting paid for fooling you or genuinely believe the lie, sharing your condition and popularizing it. Remove the lie, and all you have left are silly, stinky sticks that cost you money and health.

And then we think that stopping smoking will make one gain weight. Well, giving up drinking coffee can kill a man if he swaps his daily 20-minute coffee ceremony for playing Russian roulette.

The trick is: stop, don’t swap. Get rid of the addiction, don’t exchange it for a different one.

If you don’t use the willpower method, you might eat a bit more, but only because food will taste a lot better; anyway, it won’t take your appetite long to get back to normal.

How do you give up smoking without using the willpower method?

You work on your frame of mind. What you think is true or untrue is mostly what you think, and ingesting information can change your view of the world. (I have found one book particularly helpful, it’s called “The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently” and is a much better (and longer) version of Allen Carr’s classic. It undoes all the brainwashing that has been imposed on us by offering a detailed explanation of how nicotine works and explaining why all the pros of smoking are false.)

Becoming a non smoker is a lot easier than you believe. You just have to want it, get informed and believe in yourself. (It’s a handy little thing people call a self-fulfilling prophecy.)

I believe that you want it.

You will think better, feel better, have better sex. You will get less colds and your mood swings and depression will decrease. You will have more energy. You will have more life. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Shutterstock

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