Leaving behind an addiction is always a challenge , since it forces us to introduce changes both in our management of attention and impulses, and in our habits. In the case of tobacco, one of the most popular addictive substances, this is complicated not only by the biological part of the dependency, but also by the contextual one: we have become accustomed to having a cigarette in our hands, and we are surrounded by a society that constantly reminds us that many people smoke.
In this article we will see several tips on how to overcome anxiety when quitting smoking , and how we can adapt to the new healthier lifestyle. However, it should be clear that nothing will free us from having to invest time and effort in it.
Managing Anxiety in Quitting Smoking
Here are some tips that will help you keep your anxiety at bay when you’re trying to quit. But know that if you don’t do your part to implement these initiatives, simply filling out this form will not help you. So everything should start with a commitment to do what you can to keep your physical and mental health in the best possible shape.
1. Learn to see discomfort as part of a challenge
There are people who, to the problem of experiencing anxiety about quitting smoking , add the problem of entering a pessimistic mentality .
For example, it is what happens in someone who sees something totally imposed from outside in that suffering, and who therefore believes that nothing can be done to limit its effects, that perhaps it will always be there. Or in someone who sees in anxiety the first signs of an inevitable relapse, which is practically written in his destiny.
But there is another, much more constructive way to look at this: Discomfort is a constituent part of a challenge that we will win against addiction. That’s what makes it a challenge in the first place. And is also the indicator of our progress : as we progress, we will see in the decrease of that anxiety the consequence of a job well done. Leaving the monkey behind is a very real possibility.
2. Practice sport
Sport is an excellent way of helping our attention focus “unhooked” from certain obsessions and their physiological impact on us: anxiety.
By engaging in a task that is absorbing and complex, but subject to a set of stable rules, our attention is focused on the immediate objectives of what is happening here and now in the context of the objectives of the game in question. Things that belong to another realm lose importance in a matter of minutes , they become secondary.
Of course, we shouldn’t start playing sports every time we notice that the anxiety to stop smoking is at the gates of our consciousness, about to put our well-being in check again, as this would be exhausting. But it is good to opt for this from time to time, to get used to not thinking about smoking for most of the day .
3. Avoid the reminders of the tobacco world
Much of the challenge in combating quitting anxiety has to do with how we are exposed to “danger zones” where everything reminds us of smoking.
Opting for the smartest strategy is part of what we must do to look after our health. So, as far as possible, we should avoid reminder stimuli linked to smoking. Stop going to places characterized by a high concentration of smokers, change of scenery, etc.
4. Walk in nature
Regular exposure to clean air is one way to erase tobacco from your mind. Firstly, in that context it is very easy to relax, and secondly, the experience of breathing well contributes to our missing out on smoking.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
It is a very good idea to learn relaxation techniques and to apply them in the moments when we feel close to anxiety. To do this, we should try to have located areas where it is feasible to withdraw for a moment and carry them out for a few minutes.
6. Lead a healthier life in general
If by quitting tobacco you embark on a more global lifestyle change, it will be easier to leave behind the anxiety of quitting smoking. Why? Because your self-esteem will improve , and your way of generating self-concept (the idea you have of yourself) will include a turning point in which you “change your life”.
That way, when you feel more capable of breaking with the old vices of the past, the feeling of building something new with your identity will prevail, and that illusion and sense of self-efficacy will be over the anxiety (which in any case, in the first stages will not disappear completely).