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PUBLISHED: 3:54 PM on Wednesday, January 16, 2008
How to handle a 'slip' when quitting smoking
Rewarding yourself, when quitting smoking, has been shown to increase a person's chance of success. When you do something that has a pleasant result one is likely to do it again. By doing this repeatedly, you will eventually associate it with pleasurable experiences in your life, not much different from the way you learned to smoke. When you pick your reward or your reward system have it be specifically for you and as immediate as possible.

Another thing that helps during the quitting process is adding pleasant activities to your daily life. When someone quits smoking they often feel deprived. Increasing the amount of pleasant things or experiences in a day can decrease this deprivation feeling and raise your mood to a more positive state reducing the cravings for a cigarette.

Staying aware of your personalized reasons for and benefits of quitting are very important for keeping up your motivation, especially during strong urges or more difficult times. Part of the process of quitting is "Staying Motivated."

People can often encounter "slips" during their process. Slips are times when you give in and have one puff or one cigarette. What can happen is that people see this as a sign of weakness and a sign that they just can't quit and so go back to smoking. This is a false belief and a rationalization to start smoking again. People often slip during their quitting process but it is a matter of how you handle the slip that determines your future action and progress. One should stop smoking immediately, think about what they were doing (feeling) when they slipped and plan to handle the temptation or urge differently next time. This should never be looked on as a failure but only as a mistake and handled as such. Think about what you did wrong and learn from it.

An acronym I like to use when helping people quit smoking is "NOPE," which stands for "Not One Puff Ever." Since nicotine use is an addiction and causes changes in brain chemistry, it also produces receptors in our brain that are just sitting there waiting to be filled with nicotine. Just one puff can start the addiction process all over again and that is why you can never have just one.


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