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Psychology Reveals How Positive Thinking Helps Smoking Cessation

Psychology Reveals How Positive Thinking Helps Smoking Cessation


If you’re a smoker, there’s never been a better time to quit than now. Nobody said that it’s going to be easy because nicotine is a strong addiction. However, advances in smoking cessation support and nicotine replacement therapy can make it less difficult for you.

The Age of Innocence

You didn’t set out to be addicted to tobacco. Remember watching the films in grade school about the dangers of smoking and the countless studies linking it to lung disease? You probably donated some of your spare change to the Send a Mouse to College research program of the American Lung Association.

Those educational films were eye-opening, as they showed pictures of diseased lungs that were blackened and deformed from years of smoking. The profound pain and suffering from end-stage emphysema and lung cancer is widely known. You don’t want these diseases, but you probably didn’t even consider them when you were hiding in the school bathroom smoking with your friends.

Smoke & Mirrors

The world’s love affair with tobacco has been a dangerous association for thousands of years. When European explorers came to the shores of America, they found that tobacco had a place of reverence in sacred rites of the indigenous people. During colonization, after the fight for independence, and into modern times, tobacco remains a major crop in the United States.

In the early part of the 20th century, many states and local laws forbade women from smoking in public. With the advent of the females’ right to vote and women joining the workforce during World War II, public opinion waffled, and many women saw smoking cigarettes as a glowing emblem of freedom.

Even after laws were made to place a health warning from the American Surgeon General on each pack of cigarettes and cigars, big tobacco companies used sly advertising campaigns to lure young people into smoking. Television, magazines, and the golden screens were ablaze with attractive models and actors poised with a burning cigarette in hand.

Ads for dainty, perfumed cigarettes used women’s liberation themes to appeal to females. Rugged cowboys rode horseback with a favorite brand of a cigarette dangling from their lips to show how macho smoking was. Unfortunately, these subtle imageries worked, and they captivated entire generations of Americans.

The Mindset of Smoking Tobacco Addiction

As with any substance abuse, you were in control at first. You probably enjoyed that initial rush of energy with that first puff of smoke. Perhaps, you started smoking at an early age and felt a guilty pleasure from doing something naughty and dangerous. You may have told yourself that you could quit at any time, but soon found that the tobacco was in control of your life.

Your first step to breaking nicotine’s hold on your life is to admit that you have a problem that’s out of control. Nicotine is highly addictive, physically, mentally, and emotionally. For smoking cessation, you need a holistic approach that involves the body, mind, and spirit.

Many former smokers said that beating the psychological dependency was probably the most difficult part of their journey. When they opened their minds to self-compassion and positive thinking, it was easier to fight the cravings and stop smoking for good. Their victory started in their minds and revised thought patterns.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Can positive thinking benefit smoking cessation and help you avoid lung-related illnesses and other associated diseases? Your mind is a powerful tool that can help you beat addiction. If you’ve decided to lay down the cigarettes, here are some ways that positive thinking can help.

• It Changes Your Attitude

If you’ve been a smoker for years, maybe you think it’s too late for you. Many longtime smokers say that they’ve smoked this long, and they may as well continue, regardless of their failing health. Does that sound like a familiar excuse in your mind?

Since nicotine addiction started in your mind, so does your cessation. Reverse some of the images you had that inspired you to smoke in the first place. Instead of thinking that smoking makes you look cool, realize how admirable you look when you crush the habit. Rethink your whole attitude about how smoking has affected your lifestyle and health.

You are changing from a smoker to a non-smoker, and your emotions may be all over the place. You’ve identified with that lighter and cigarette for so long that it has become an extension of yourself. Part of making the break from smoking realizes that your addiction does not define you and that you have the power to change.

• It Can Help with Visualization & Affirmations

Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely concluded that you are what you think. If you believe that you can overcome the smoking habit, you can do it. First, you must visualize yourself passing by the cigarette stand in the store and only saving your lighters to light scented candles at home.

Visualize how different life will be when you’re no longer in the constant grip of smoking tobacco. Your hair and clothes won’t stink like stale smoke anymore, and you’ll lose those unsightly nicotine stains on your nails and teeth. Visualize all the money you’ll save when you stop buying tobacco products, and you should think of all the things you can do with that extra money.

Affirm to yourself each day that you are a beautiful, loving person who deserves to be loved. Tell yourself that you are taking charge of your life and removing the hold that smoking has over you. Remind yourself that you will be kind, loving, and patient during the cessation process.

As you look in the mirror, smile and say that you are the image of health and refuse to let cigarettes threaten you with lung disease or other disorders. Declare yourself a winner and a survivor, even when you have a few failures along the way. Make positive affirmation signs and post them in conspicuous places in your home and office.

• It Can Help Your Chart Your Progress

Many people find that journaling is an ideal way of recording their thoughts, dreams, and aspirations while recovering from addictions like smoking. The great thing about journaling is that it’s your project and you decide how you want to do it and what’s right for you.

It can be as simple as a computer-based log, an inexpensive school notebook, or an elaborate handmade journal. You should write whenever you feel like it or when you get the urge for a puff. Maybe you could write about your first experiences with smoking and how it deluded your thinking.

Perhaps you can use a few pages to devote to your affirmations to change your attitude about smoking. Another section may be reserved to remind yourself of the negative outcomes of smoking, such as smelly clothes, premature aging, money loss, emphysema, and lung cancer. At the bottom of each page, reassure yourself that you are making the positive changes necessary to avoid these troublesome side effects.

In another section of your positive thinking journal, imagine what your life will be without smoking. You’ll have no more days of standing outside in the cold and rain to get a cigarette break. Your appearance and health will improve, and you will get past the fear of possible lung cancer and premature death.

• It Can Help You To Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

It’s human nature to want to barter rather than to give up something. If you’ve been a smoker for years, many of your daily habits and pleasures in life probably revolved around cigarettes. There’s the after-dinner smoke and cocktail, the weekly Friday night poker game with a splendid cigar, or a relaxing smoke in your favorite lounge chair while watching a movie.

Just the thought of nixing smoking from the equation may fill you with anxiety. On a positive note, you needn’t give up the things you enjoy just because you stopped smoking. There’s nothing you must stop doing because it requires a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Trade out the bad habit for a positive, healthy one.

Keep a stock of sugarless gum and mints close by for when you get a cigarette craving. Smoking won’t give you any more luck in your beloved card games than chewing gum can. In the beginning stages of smoking cessation, you may find it comforting to fiddle with a pencil or pen in your hand to ward off psychological cravings.

Did you know that your body starts to heal almost immediately after you stop smoking? You’ll probably be amazed that you can walk greater distances and do more things without losing your breath or having coughing fits. To keep your mind off smoking, consider taking walks, and marvel at the beauty of the world around you that’s not blurred by cigarette smoke.

Final Thoughts on Staying in a Positive Mindset During Smoking Cessation

Breaking any addiction, like smoking, requires a good support system, especially from your primary healthcare provider. Talk to your provider about a smoking cessation plan that is tailored to your needs. It may include nicotine replacement therapy such as patches or gum, as well as counseling.

Positive thinking can be your guide to lay cigarettes down for good. Improving your health and avoiding lung diseases is worth it. Leave the hazy smoke behind you and step into the fresh air of a new lifestyle.

Lifestyle

The Truth About Positive Thinking (and how to get there)

The Truth About Positive Thinking (and how to get there)


On my path from a negative place in my life to positive thinking, I must thank the bad times. Those challenges spurred me into a transformation.

The truth about my path to positive thinking and living is this: I wouldn’t be where I am without the bad times. By accepting the negative, not rejecting it, by understanding the negative, not being ignorant of it, and by growing from the negative, not being stunted by it, I have changed for the better. As a result of this shift, I’ve been able to experience the real Power of Positivity in my life.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but our thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Correcting Course: Shifting from a Negative Place into a Life of Positive Thinking

Accepting the “Negative”

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher, Founder of Taoism

First, I had to accept the negative and not reject or ignore it. The fact is my life was, and is, imperfect, and our lives are imperfect. The key is accepting these thoughts, feelings, and events without judgment and self-criticism.

  • When I experience loss, I allow my heart to ache and the tears to flow.
  • I feel the anxiety and frustration when I experience disappointment.
  • When someone upsets me, I feel the anger and the resentment.

It’s human – we feel these things.

The key is not holding onto these emotions. Just feel them, allow them to pass, and move on. If you don’t give too much credence to any given feeling, they cannot grab ahold of you. Again, just move on.

In truly accepting the situation, I subsequently got rid of one of the most significant sources of unhappiness–the inability to accept things as they are. This inability is the crux of sadness for many people. But I realized that I could change my outlook by merely recognizing that the present is the only thing that exists.

  • By embracing the present situation, we steel our minds and bodies for action. We take on a warrior’s mentality – ready to take our blows, but never conceding defeat.
  • By accepting the negative things that happen, we can now begin to understand why they happen and how we can experience incredible growth and power as a result.

Allow and accept the bad things to happen. It’s not easy, but it’s a part of life and a crucial component to your growth as a human being.

Understanding the “Negative”

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

Understanding the bad things that happen to us is a crucial element in accepting them. Also, without understanding the negative, we could never take advantage of the situation and become a better person.

I began to understand the negative situation as temporary. In time, bad things that brought on negativity would pass. Even if it were a massive, looming problem, it would end soon.

Next, I began to understand how to deal with these adverse events in my life. I learned that to understand situations wholly. I had to deal with them without judgment or criticism of myself. Self-deprecation does nothing but add to the stress in making the situation more complicated.

Also,  I began to understand that what I was experiencing had to be truly resolved. As humans, our nature immediately desires to either get rid of or ignore bad feelings and thoughts. However, by ignoring the negative, we are making it worse. The stress grows and takes its place within our subconscious, darkening our disposition.

I began to understand the bad thoughts and feelings as the energy that needed to be released. We were not created to be negative beings with darkness in our hearts. We must release this negative energy and allow goodness to fill its void. By releasing this negative energy, I eventually understood and appreciated the gratification of positive energy taking its place.

Flipping the Mindset from Negative to Positive

I began to understand that my frame of mind determines just how detrimental a situation is, and what I’m going to gain as a result. Instead of thinking of the situation as a problem, I began to think of it as an opportunity; an opportunity to become stronger, wiser, and more resilient.

In addition, I began to understand the power of reframing. This process explained how I could reprogram my mind to switch negative words into positive words, and a negative situation into a more favorable situation. If you can transform your thoughts and language, you will see the scenario differently and experience dramatically different results.

Finally, I understand that in order to experience and appreciate the positives, there have to be negatives. I’ve been through the struggle, turned problems into opportunities, and became a better person. I continue to be mindful of this fact every day.

Growing from the “Negative”

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

Through my trials and tribulations, I have grown into a better version of myself. I have transformed in literally every area, all from first changing my thoughts and then taking action.

And this opportunity for growth is where the exquisite nature of our human mind and spirit culminates into something so positive and powerful that it causes the negative forces of our universe to shudder.

Sure… we’ll get hurt, disappointed, even shattered… but we can resolve to become better, stronger, more powerful, more loving, more appreciative, more positive people. In other words, we can take a hurtful situation and grow into a better version of ourselves.

Human beings are the only creatures on the face of the Earth that can consciously take a negative, harmful situation and mold it into something that benefits themselves and their world.

Through acceptance of the negative elements as they become present (even prevalent) in our lives, and by understanding that through the experience of the negative, we can grow into a better people, Furthermore, we learn that we have the capability and the courage to handle any situation.

Final Thoughts on Adopting a Mindset of Positive Thinking

We each have the power to handle the situation. Indeed, each of us can grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually every time.

So here’s to acceptance, understanding, and growth in becoming a more positive version of ourselves.