Just knowing something is bad for you doesn’t always mean you aren’t going to do it. People love instant gratification and if doing something, even if it is a bad idea, can lead to a quick feel-good sensation then it is likely the easy road will get taken. Smoking damages the body from head to toe and every smoker knows this, but the feeling one gets when they satisfy the physical and psychological cravings usually drowns out the voice of reason. A person usually doesn’t decide to quit until the pain of smoking outweighs that of not smoking. This pain can be physical, financial, mental, social, or a combination.
Every major, and lots of minor, life changing events revolve around one thing – pain vs. pleasure. People will work at a crappy dead-end job for years enduring the pain until they finally break and the pain is too much to bear. The same holds true for stopping smoking – when the pain of smoking finally outweighs the pleasure that’s when you’ll finally make the decision to stop. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy, it just means you recognize the need to change and you are finally ready to take action.
When you stop smoking it is helpful to understand the pain vs. pleasure conflict because even though you know you’re better off quitting the nagging voice from within is going to do everything possible to keep you smoking. Here are a few common thoughts you are going to encounter when quitting:
- You can just smoke one. No you can’t! You never have and you probably never will. None of us would be in the trouble we’re in now if we could just smoke one. Addiction doesn’t work that way. You can’t just smoke one.
- Quit tomorrow instead. Set your date to stop smoking and stick with it because if you give in to this thought you will smoke for days, months or years before you finally give it a go.
- You need to smoke in order to manage your current situation. This psychological tactic is brutal because you think you need to smoke in order to deal with every aspect of life whether happy or sad. You’re pissed off at work so you head out back to unwind and of course the old way of doing that was lighting up and kicking a can across the parking lot. Smoking won’t help the situation but a brisk walk, a few deep breaths (of fresh air and its pollutants), and getting away for the situation for a short period can work better.
- You’re better off if you carry an unopened pack in your car, just in case. Really? Just in case what? Just in case you decide to give into to the nagging voice that’s feeding you lies about smoking? Don’t tempt yourself or make it easy to relapse because the only thing you are accomplishing is prolonging the process.
It is interesting how our own mind will work against us for instant pleasure and gratification even if it will eventually lead to death. By examining your pain vs. pleasure threshold you can understand what is motivating you to want to take the easy road. Over time, in relation to smoking, you are going to have more pleasure than pain not smoking. If you deal with the psychological effects of smoking it won’t always be hard to refrain from smoking. You are going to go days, weeks and months without ever giving it a second thought. More often than not you are going to be grateful you joined the millions of people who’ve quit.