Right after you quit smoking you are going to have the urge to smoke. Your daily triggers are going to beckon you to smoke. There are two types of coping skills that you should utilize when facing these urges – behavior coping skills and mental coping skills.
Behavior coping skills are actions that you can take to not smoke. For example; if you experience a stressful situation at work and the voice in your head is screaming for a smoke you can do several things to deal with the craving such as; go for a brisk walk, take some deep breaths, call a friend, and/or leave the situation. Using this same situation add some mental coping skills, which are things that you tell yourself, such as; “I manage stress without smoking”, “smoking has not benefit”, “smoking will not solve my problem”, and think of the progress you have made thus far – is it worth giving up? NO!
Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about smoking or not smoking, get your mind on something else. Our minds tend to be drawn to what we think about and if you are always thinking about smoking then you are setting yourself up to fail. Find something else to think about such as; what your 5-year old said to you this morning that made you laugh.
It is important when using mental coping skills to think about the positive. Don’t think of yourself as weak for wanting to smoke. Think about the great new life you will have once you are free from smoking. Think of the smiles on your kid’s faces, the new things you will buy with all that extra money, and the opportunities you will have. Quitting smoking should not be viewed as losing or giving up something you enjoy doing. It is quitting a habit that is killing you and those around you. There is no safe level of smoke or secondhand smoke for that matter.
Handling smoking urges is part of the process so plan for it by thinking about how you will handle some of the common triggers you think you will face and come up with some positive things to tell yourself when the time comes. You are worth it! You can do it! You are living a new healthy life that is fulfilling and full of new opportunity and healing! You are a non-smoker!