Giving up smoking

Quitting Smoking

The Challenge

It’s no secret, quitting smoking is hard, and problems conceiving comes with its unique challenges. I’m not going to harp on about how smoking is dangerous and unhealthy for you or a growing baby, yet you still smoke.

I witnessed a well-educated woman lighting up a cigarette when she was in her 2 week-wait. At the time I thought she was crazy, but now going through my journey, I can see how tough it can be to quit. I didn’t smoke but I had other vices that I couldn’t crack.

Giving up smoking now will help make a big difference to your health and of your future baby and the earlier you give up the better.

I smoked for 20 years and quit just before my first IVF cycle, looking back now, I didn’t take care of my body or have any respect for myself.

What will help me quit?

NHS Quit Smoking Services

It’s really important to get help as you will have a higher chance of succeeding. Your doctor can guide you to your nearest NHS smoking cessation services, where you will receive one to one help.

There is a range of medicated support for quitting smoking:

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) 

You might consider NRT if your cravings are strong and have a range in dosage to ease you off the nicotine. NRT includes patches, chewing gum, tablets, inhalators, spray or E-cigarettes.

Medications such as varenicline and bupropion can help but are not recommended for pregnancy.

By using NRT, I believe you are not kicking the habit, you are replacing it with something else. I do recommend NRT to wean yourself off the nicotine but in my experience, those who chose NRT, are not successful.

I gave up without the use of NRT however, my husband who gave up the same time as me is still on E-cigarettes. The difference in resolving the root cause of your habit.

Psychological Methods

There are psychological methods of quitting smoking such as; Hypnotherapy, NLP, acupuncture and many other holistic approaches that can make rapid powerful changes.

These methods get to the root cause of why you have habitual behaviour and can change your life for good.

How long does it take?

You may experience physical and psychological withdrawal effects as the nicotine (the addictive substance found in tobacco products) leaves the body. These symptoms may feel uncomfortable and may peak around days 1-3 however, they will decrease over the next 3-4 weeks. The body has shed the physical effects but the psychological effects may still occur, usually because this is the habitual actions of smoking.

You may experience confusion because your behaviour pattern is changing, together with your physical-chemical balances in your body. This may affect breathing, moods, appetite and your nervous system.

Cravings and side effects

These side effects may be uncomfortable at the time, they will ease off and you’ll begin to feel amazing and proud of your achievements. It’s a small price to pay for changing your life. After a few weeks, your sense of smell and taste come back and your oxygen in your blood returns to normal. Your lung capacity increases by a third in just 2 or 3 months.

That’s got to be a good incentive.

A craving usually has a duration of about 90 seconds, all you need to do is see this craving out. You can do many things in 90 seconds, can’t you?

Imagine now, the baby you can’t have because you are smoking, you had the chance to change the outcome, you didn’t take the chance. Then imagine a life without children.

You have a choice. Don’t you?

Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office and being told you have not got long left to live due to smoking and you had your chance to change and you didn’t take it. Then imagine having to say goodbye to your loved ones.

You can change the outcome right now. Don’t you?

This may sound harsh, it’s the ground truth though and it’s what needs to be said.

Remind yourself that you sleep without having a cigarette and you’ve been on a flight without having a cigarette. Surely, if you can do this, you’ve cracked the code already. Haven’t you?

What’s behind the habit?

A habit is something you have learned to do which, has been repeated regularly that will now occur unconsciously. You create a neural pathway for this behaviour and the pattern is now cemented and becomes part of you.

I believe that a habit is something you’ve learned to do through learned behaviour or you do your habit because it’s your emotional crutch.

Your parents may have smoked, your friends growing up may have smoked, your workmates may have smoked and now you smoke because everyone around you smoked.

Some people are strong enough not to entertain in such habits, however, if at the time, you see others partaking in smoking for let’s say they are stressed, you see this as a coping mechanism for stress.

If you are also having a challenging time, emotionally or suffering an inner conflict of some form. You may now have learnt that smoking is how you cope with life’s stresses and you may want to feel part of something, you feel intrigued when someone offers you a cigarette and now you smoke along with the others that you have learned from.

Unresolved Issues

A lot of the time, people begin a habit because they were suffering the emotional effects from an event, they had no control over or a crisis they couldn’t cope with at the time. You look for an emotional crutch or coping strategy. The habit will then be associated with that strategy from then onwards.

Perhaps you are harbouring some unresolved issues, think back to the time when you did start smoking. What was happening at that time? Were you going through emotional problems? Was there a big event that was causing you some undue stress or anxiety?

Good intentions 

You wouldn’t believe it but when you do a habit, there is usually a good intention behind it. Think about it, why do you smoke? Because you are stressed. How does smoking make you feel? Calm? There is a positive intention. Now, can you find something healthier to make you feel calm?

Smoking is beginning to sound like a rather stupid idea now, doesn’t it?

What are you gaining?

Most people think the cigarette is their friend and the cigarette has been there when no one else has. You may feel a sense of loss when you quit. This friend is poisoning you right under your nose, what kind of friend does that?

You can quit this friend and regain others that give you a better life, make you feel a sense of self-worth and cares for your wellbeing. That sounds better, does it not?

Can we unlearn a habit?

If you know how to learn something, you can be very sure you know how to unlearn it, although it can be a lot harder to unlearn but achievable.

I started smoking when I was 17, I smoked because I wanted to feel part of the group and it was an excuse to go out and socialise. We were also allowed to smoke indoors back then and smoking was more acceptable. These days, it’s less acceptable and frowned upon.

My guide to giving up smoking

    • Recognise that YOU (no one else) wants to give up and ask yourself how long have you been smoking? How many do you smoke per day? Have you ever tried to give up before? What were the reasons you restarted?
    • Ask yourself why you have decided to give up, what are the benefits of being a non-smoker? To have your dream family perhaps. List them now.
    • Take responsibility for your habit, no one else is going to give up for you.
    • How will you look and feel like a non-smoker?
    • Do you have any idea how much money you will save over a year? Go ahead, work it out NOW. Think about what you will spend that money on now.
    • Be in a positive state to give up, will power alone is not going to help and you’ll need many positive resources to guide you.
    • Get ready to face some unresolved events, this is one of the main causes of habitual behaviours.
    • Are you making any excuses not to give up? I’m too stressed right now seems to be the common theme. When will you not be stressed? ACT NOW.
    • Remind yourself of what you are gaining every time you are experiencing a craving or you are contemplating giving up.
    • Think of healthier ways of coping with your strategy i.e., if you smoke when stressed, what other activities could you be doing instead?
    • Be kinder to yourself, love your body and who you are. Smoking is self-sabotaging behaviour. Would you drink a cup of poison? Would you happily give the cup of poison to the people you love?
    • Turning to NRT has not kicked your habit, you have just replaced it with another. It’s best to get to the root cause of the habit and change for good.
    • Find a POSITIVE intention for you doing your habit. Is it for calmness, to be social or stress relief? Change the bad habit for a healthier way to reach your good intention. Meditate for stress relief. Every time you feel yourself getting stressed and you want to smoke to remain calm, meditate for 2-minutes instead or use a breathing technique. This interrupts the pattern of behaviour.
    • Stay clear from the places or people that cause you to do your habit.
    • Change your routine, it will interrupt your pattern of habitual behaviour. If you have that cigarette with your first cup of tea, change the ritual of having a cup of tea.
    • Have a goal when you want to give up, give yourself a date and then milestones as you go through.
    • Ensure you have the right support from friends, family and work colleagues.
    • Lastly, understand that you have choices and it’s your responsibility to make that choice.

Rapid Change Techniques 

Are you ready to give up NOW?

Do you want to make an amazingly rapid change NOW?

Do you want to make yourself proud NOW?

Then let’s begin.

Quit for good NOW, give this rapid technique a go NOW.

Think about how much you want to give up NOW.

Imagine yourself smoking now, I want you to be in the moment when you are doing your habit, hear the sounds and feel what you feel when you are smoking, NOW.

How much do you hate this habit, how much do you want to give up?

Now, I want you to give yourself a number out of 10 how much you dislike this habit and how much you want to give up. With 0 being the least and 10 being the most. If it’s a low number, I want you to get into the reason you want to give up and turn up that feeling like you have a dial infront of you.

Good, keep that number in mind.

Image 1 – Your current state

Keep this image of the behaviour that you no longer want and be in the picture with all the feelings and sounds. Make it big and colourful in your mind’s eye. Make the sounds louder and the feeling more prominent.

Clear your mind’s eye

Now come back to the present moment and ask yourself what you had for breakfast that morning. This has nothing to do with the change it just clears the screen of your mind’s eye.

Image 2 – Your preferred state

Now, I want you to think about what you do want instead. Imagine a picture in your mind’s eye of how you will look without smoking. You need to see yourself in that picture and notice how well you are feeling? What are the things you can do better now you are not smoking anymore? What sounds can you hear? What are the people around you saying?

Anchor

Whilst you are visualising this picture in your mind’s eye, place your thumb and forefinger together, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. In carrying out this action, it acts as an anchor which will be explained at the end. Once you lose the sensations of this picture, break apart your fingers.

The more information you give this picture, the better the outcome.

Now, I want you to make this picture small and in black and white, with no sound.

Clear your mind’s eye

Now come back to the present moment and ask yourself what you had for breakfast that morning. This has nothing to do with the change it just clears the screen of your mind’s eye.

Switch the pictures (SWISH PATTERN)

Now bring up both pictures, with your current picture of you smoking in front of you, big and colourful. The other picture that you would rather have is to be small, black and white at the bottom left-hand corner of the other picture.

I want you to count from 3 to 1 and as quickly as you can, I want you to make the first picture (you smoking) small and dark and the second picture (your new life), big, beautiful and full of colour and I want you to see yourself in that picture.

You are switching the pictures around including what they represent.

Switch the pictures again and again.

Test – Can you b ring back that old state

Pause and see if you can bring back that old image.

If you can, keep switching the pictures and everything in those pictures until you can no longer bring up the old picture of you doing your old habit.

Now, think about that old habit and give yourself a mark out of 10 how you feel about it now.

If you can still feel it, keep doing this technique.

Test the future

Think of a time in the future when you are in a situation that you need a cigarette, how do you feel?

Helping the cravings

Now, I would like you to fire the anchor you did earlier. Press your thumb and forefinger together and you should feel the intensity of the picture of your preferred state (picture 2). At the same time, take a deep breath in and exhale out slowly (the breathing will ensure relaxation).

Fire the anchor every time you get a craving or you begin to feel agitated because you are not having a cigarette.

When I gave up, it was hard at first, I didn’t know what to do with myself, now, I’ve never looked back, I felt free from the burden of always thinking about smoking and wondering when I was going to get my next cigarette.

Years down the line, I can’t believe that I even smoked for 20 years. My husband is now weaning himself off the NRT and is now ready to give up completely, why? Because he has resolved the root cause.

You can do this, you’ve got to want it.


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