Don't underestimate psychological dependency

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As we know now, smoking does not actually serve to ‘calm’ people as they usually assume. Any perceived sense of calm is largely the act of putting time aside to be outside, take time to oneself and ultimately, take deep breaths. Despite this, nicotine addiction is of course very real, not only in terms of physical dependence but often also with regards to feeling part of a group. A lot of the time my clients discover that resolving their ambivalence around smoking involves challenging assumptions about what it means to be ‘a smoker.’ It may seem immature but very often we still carry around desire to gather with other ‘naughty’ smokers in a bid to reinforce a sense of rebellion. When addressing any addiction, it is important to first get an honest idea of the extent of it. Practically, this can involve changing nothing about your behaviour in the first instance, and simply keeping a log of when you are smoking and how much. Very often (especially with regards to those who roll cigarettes), we are smoking more than we think. This baseline then allows you to slowly increase the gaps between cigarettes and implement delay tactics to gradually bring down the overall amount of smoking you do in the day.

What You'll Need

  • Pen and Paper

What You'll Do

  • For a more in-depth perspective (and to help make sense of the psychological withdrawal, it can be useful to ask yourself the following questions). If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of them, take the opportunity to diversify the ways you can meet these needs by introducing healthier tools, activities and coping mechanisms. (Remember: all the yes’ won’t be equal, so it can be useful to rate them from 1-10 and address the needs that are most important to you first) Does it give me comfort? Does it enable me to do things I want to do? Does it calm me down/ help me ‘switch off’? Does it make me feel safe? Does it make this area of my life easier to cope with? Does it make me feel ‘in-control’? Does it give me confidence? Does it make me feel included/connected? Does it make some things less boring/more enjoyable? Does it help me put off things I don’t want to/don’t think I can do? Is it familiar/the only way I know? Does it enable me to ‘deal’ with certain people? Is it better than the alternative? If I change, could it negatively impact any of my relationships?
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