Smoking Psychological Obstacles to Quitting
Along with the idea of psychological dependence, it is important to realize that some of the reasons it is hard to quit smoking are “in your head” rather than physical symptoms.
- Fear of Failure: any time you’re getting ready to start a challenging task, it is easy to be afraid you won’t succeed and to worry about what other people might think or say if they see you smoking again. One way to combat this fear is to try to focus on the positive, reward yourself for moving from the pre-conteplative to the contemplative stage and focus on the growth that change shows. It is important to remember that quitting is a process and because of this it is good to break it down into smaller steps and be happy about successes with each of these small steps. Research into smokers who are working to quit tells us that each time you try to quit, you’re starting with a clean slate, so if you’ve tried to quit before and haven’t succeeded, that does not prove that you won’t succeed now.
- Worries About Gaining Weight: some people who don’t quit smoking use the excuse that they will gain weight if they quit. Most people put on some weight each year or find that their weight flucuates throughout the year. Research does show that 8 out of 10 people who try to quit will put on weight over the next to years, but it also tells us that 5 in 10 people who continue to smoke will also put on weight over the same two years. There are things that you can do to combat this weight gain: use time when you might have smoked to take a walk or talk to a friend; if you’re used to smoking while you study, try chewing gum or studying in the library where you can’t eat or smoke; make sure that you eat well and are taking care of yourself in other ways while you’re working on quitting.
- Loss of Productivity: when you’re a student and it seems like you’re trying to focus on studying all the time, quitting can seem problematic if you feel that smoking helps you concentrate. Research into whether or not smoking improves your ability to concentrate or learn is inconclusive right now, but it does indicate that more of these problems are seen when the smoker expects to have a problem. If you’re able to convince yourself that this won’t happen to you, or that cigarettes don’t effect your concentration, then wuitting probably won’t have an effect. If you aren’t sure that you’ll be successful with this, try to plan when you’re quitting at a time when classes aren’t likely to be stressful or maybe not even in session.
- Concerns About Stress: many smokers report that they use cigarettes as a way to cope with stressful situations; again, this is a time when it is iimportant to think about your triggers for smoking. Once you’re aware of your triggers, you can come up with healthier ways to deal with stress related to these triggers. For more information about dealing with stress in a healthy way, check out this information on stress.