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Mind Games to Help You Overcome the Psychological Addiction to Smoking

        Health | Smoking Cessation

Mind Games to Help You Overcome the Psychological Addiction to Smoking (<i>cont'd</i>)

"When you tell a dog to sit, the dog sits; if you tell a dog 'don't sit,' the dog will still sit..."

"...This approach definitely works! This sums it up best: when you tell a dog to sit, the dog sits; if you tell a dog 'don't sit,' the dog WILL STILL sit. Why? Because the dog is trained to sit when he hears this word regardless of all other words in your sentence including the word 'don't.' So it is the same with people who say to themselves 'I can't smoke,' 'I won't smoke,' 'I don't smoke.' The actual message to their brain is 'I smoke,' in all of those statements mentioned. Therefore, all negative statements have to be excluded from the smoker's vocabulary. Rather one should say 'I am a nonsmoker.' Remove any word from that sentence preceding nonsmoker, and your brain is still hearing nonsmoker. It is being re-trained. This worked wonders for me.

"I also tell myself "NO! FORGET IT" in a stern and authoritative way when I get the urge, and sure enough I actually forget it. Whenever the urge would hit, I trained my mind toward a variety of new habits: reading, prayer, exercising, and cleaning. Inhaling and then holding your breath for 3 seconds and exhaling for 4 seconds is another relaxation technique that I use. In essence you're smoking without the cigarette in your mouth — much healthier."—L.W.

"Putting a picture of my niece and nephew in a pack of cigarettes so that each time I tried to grab one, there was their picture."

"Tricks that helped me were:

  1. Putting a picture of my niece and nephew in a pack of cigarettes so that each time I tried to grab one, there was their picture.
  2. Thinking of how bad it is when you get older by looking at old women and men who are smoking and seeing all their wrinkles.
  3. Also, knowing the ingredients helped a lot. I discussed it with other people to accentuate the nastiness and pretty much convince myself (and I actually convinced other people in the process). The list includes acetone, used to make paint stripper; ammonia, contained in toilet cleaners; butane, a form of lighter fuel; and beta-naphthyl methylether, more commonly known as mothballs. Smokers also take the risk of inhaling hydrogen cyanide, the poison used in gas chambers; methanol, a rocket fuel; arsenic and carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas in car exhausts."

Julie R.

"I promised that if I ever started again the pipe load of tobacco would be the first thing I smoked. Over time the tobacco got hard as a rock."

When I was 24 years old I smoked one pack a day plus a pipe. For Christmas 1964, my wife gave me a new briar pipe. On New Years Eve next, I asked her if she minded if I quit smoking. She said no. I had just packed the pipe. I promised her that if I ever started again the pipe load of tobacco would be the first thing I smoked. Over time the tobacco got hard as a rock. Any time I felt like smoking I would touch the pipe load of hard as a rock tobacco and my desire to light it up went away. Sometimes the temptation was very great but I would not break my promise to my wife. I still have that pipe load of tobacco and I haven't smoked anything in all these years."—Edward M.

"I pictured [the cigarettes I had not smoked] in my mind, eight packets of twenty, neatly stacked on the table."

"I found that for the first few days I was carried by the extraordinary feeling of 'virtue' at actually having stopped lighting up, a feeling that wore off after less than a week. But then, after about five days, I suddenly realized that it was 150 cigarettes that I had not smoked! 150 cigarettes!! I pictured them in my mind, eight packets of twenty, neatly stacked on the table. After ten days, the stack had grown to 15 packets and after one month, it was 900 cigarettes that had not passed through my mouth, throat and lungs! That mental image of the pile of unsmoked cigarettes growing day by day helped me a lot. Today, that pile has grown to almost 230,000 cigarettes that I have spared my system."—Janina


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