Phase two-staying smoke free and not relapsing

Those who have successfully kicked the habit will report that overwhelming surprise attacks of a desire for cigarettes are sure to come a few weeks or months into your new smoke free life. You can anticipate irresistible urges that may take you by surprise and try to encourage you to have “just one”. Even months after you have been smoke-free, the experts say that you can count on these cravings occurring.

When these nearly out-of-control urges come, one of the best ways to make them pass is to take a few deep breaths. Perhaps the single most powerful and important techniques is taking a few deep breaths when that uncontrollable urge arrives. Every time you want a cigarette, do the following:

Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out gradually.

As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out.

This is a variation of an ancient yoga technique from India, and is very centering and relaxing. If you practice this, you’ll be able to use it for any stressful situation you find yourself in. And it will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings sure to assault you over the first few days when you stop smoking.

Another important technique you can use to avoid relapsing is self-talk. Several times a day, quietly repeat to yourself the affirmation, “I am a nonsmoker.” Many quitters see themselves as smokers who are just not smoking for the moment. They have a self-image as smokers who still want a cigarette. Silently repeating the affirmation “I am a nonsmoker” will help you change your view of yourself, and, even if it may seem silly to you, this is actually useful and very effective.

Self-talk is a reminder to yourself that if you can hold out for just five minutes the overpowering urge to smoke will completely pass.

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