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Work Your Body, Work Your Mind

It took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t successfully coping with my depression and anxiety on my own. It took even longer to come up with a plan to fight back against my own...

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Dr. Bankole Johnson

Dr. Bankole Johnson

Physician, psychiatrist and addiction researcher

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Damian O’Hara

President of Allen Carr North America

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Dr. Cheryl Healton

President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation

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Pleasure vs. Pain

Pleasure vs. Pain

It’s part of every animal’s basic survival instinct: Avoid pain, seek pleasure. When you smoke, you’re pleasuring yourself (get your mind out of the gutter). The nicotine you inhale from cigarettes almost immediately travels to your brain where it is interpreted as pleasurable and gratifying. Your brain says, “Wow, that was awesome! Where can we get some more of that ASAP?” And an addiction is born.

As soon as you try to take away the source of pleasure (the nicotine), you experience pain. You want to avoid pain, so you keep smoking. So what’s a nicotine addict to do?

First, talk with your doctor about possible medications. They can help ease the painful withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. Next, identify the things in life that give you pleasure (besides smoking, obviously). Be forewarned: The process of learning new ways to cope without cigarettes and discovering more about yourself can be uncomfortable or painful. Try interviewing friends who have quit smoking to see what they’ve substituted for smoking.

What are some of the things on your list that give you pleasure? What are some of the responses friends who have successfully quit smoking gave for what they used as substitutes for a nicotine fix? [Mayo Clinic]

Posted: 6/26/08
VictoriaB

My dad stopped smoking when he had heart bypass surgery. He quit cold turkey after 30+ years of being a smoker. What he took up instead, was chewing gum. And, boy, did he chew a lot of gum! We used to tease him all the time about the gum truck backing up in the driveway ... inside joke.

I have read that rather than focusing on what you're stopping you should focus on something new that you're starting.

For every "bad for you" think that you quit, start a "good for you" thing to replace it.