Cigarettes may have a thousand names, but their value is the same: they provide comfort and pleasure in the form of habit and ritual, and in the pleasurable and physically addictive form of nicotine. The key word here is Pleasure and Pain. No matter what it is, there is one constant behavior with us, as human beings:
“We all seek Pleasure, and strive to avoid Pain”
Being a Pleasure seeking, Pain avoiding machine, is fundamental to being a human being! We are truly creatures of comfort, and go to great lengths to avoid pain. This is true on both a conscience and sub-conscience level. So here is the situation. When you smoke, through both the habit and through the physical effects of nicotine, your brain is associating more pleasure with smoking than it would be for not smoking. You are deriving pleasure from smoking, and avoiding the pain of quitting smoking, on both a conscience and sub-conscience level.
Watch and observe how you feel the next time you reach for a cigarette right before you are about to smoke. Notice the anticipation and the yearning for relief. Also notice the yearning to avoid the pain that comes from the lack of nicotine. So, no matter what you say to yourself, or no matter what kind of logic you try to apply, your brain will still associate pleasure from reaching for, and lighting up that cigarette in anticipation for nicotine.
This dynamic is also true in other areas of our lives; exercise, diet, quitting smoking, stopping alcohol, drugs, even thing that we want to accomplish in our life like writing a book, or quitting the job we hate. They all require some level of ‘perceived’ self-inflicted pain and/or suffering in order to quit, change or accomplish. As it relates to quitting cigarettes we associate it as giving up something that has given us some form of pleasure, and will mean some form of pain if we give it up.
“As long as you see smoking as a way to gain pleasure, and avoid pain…
You will continue to smoke”
The good news is that once you get a grip on this dynamic, that is true for all of us, you can use it to your advantage to stop smoking permanently! The ticket is the unconscious association and/or relationship you have with cigarettes. Some say that the best method is cold turkey. That may be fine for some, but personally I did not want to subject myself to that level of pain. With that said, I also did not want to substitute smoking for something else, such as food or stress!
We actually can choose what we link pain and pleasure to. The ultimate secret if you want to quit smoking on a permanent basis, you have to link pain to smoking cigarettes and a great amount of pleasure in not smoking cigarettes! This reconditioning will set you free from cigarette smoking forever.
Learning to use pain and pleasure will free you from having to rely on willpower. When you try to quit smoking by strictly using willpower, you are trying to consciously stay away from something you still see as pleasurable, and the process is extremely painful and difficult. As long as your brain perceives smoking as being pleasurable, a strong temptation will always be there.
It then basically boils down to one of two solutions: Cold (painful) Turkey, or gently recondition the behavior as it translates to pleasure. The key here is to become educated on the various techniques that incorporate the dynamics of altering pleasurable behavior.
Become Educated; It’s the Key to Lasting Success!
By Eric Trager,
Author and publisher of Three Steps to Freedom. http://www.Done-Smoking.org