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Prepare Yourself Mentally to Quit Smoking
Author: Mike Durand

What many people may not realize is just how much of the effort to quit smoking relies on changing your thought processes and self-perceptions. While the actual smoking behavior is all that others see, like the tip of the iceberg, a smoking habit is supported by many underlying, unseen factors including your reasons for smoking. These may vary widely, including:
- stress relief
- weight loss
- boredom
- fitting in with a group of people
- image
- nicotine addiction

Understanding your own reasons for smoking is the first step in creating a customized plan for quitting. By finding healthier replacements to address your underlying needs, you will be less likely to succumb to temptation when obstacles arise. Because every individual is different, it is essential that you tailor your stop smoking plan to suit your own unique situation.

Another element of mental preparation is in trying to retrain yourself to see cigarettes not as something pleasurable, but as something you no longer want in your life. This can be a major adjustment, however all the evidence about the dangers of smoking as well as your personal reasons for quitting, can be utilized as reminders. Make a list of all the negative things about smoking that you are looking forward to freeing yourself from, as well as the positive changes you are striving towards, and review these often.

Part of your transition will involve learning to identify yourself as a non-smoker, and changing your behaviors accordingly. Take some time to think about what this will mean for you. Do you need to make changes regarding where you spend your time, and who you spend it with? At what times during your day might you feel the most lost without a cigarette? What temptations are you likely to encounter during your normal routine? Thinking about these things before they occur will help you be prepared with solutions all ready to meet the challenges as they arise.

Another component of mentally preparing yourself to quit smoking is the power of positive thinking and visualization in helping pave the way to success. If you can easily imagine yourself overcoming your smoking habit, and start to really feel how great it is going to be to quit, this will provide additional motivation and momentum towards reaching your goals. Along with specific visualizations, you can also learn relaxation techniques that will help overcome your cravings, and reduce any underlying stress that is contributing to your habit.

Doing some reading and research ahead of time using the many available resources will help give you an idea of what to expect during the quitting process, and learn about what types of strategies have been used successfully by other former smokers. You can then choose a combination of different approaches as seems appropriate, and keep other strategies in mind as a back up plan. If you look, you will find there is plenty of help along the way; take advantage of as many stop smoking methods as necessary to help you stay quit, and look forward to celebrating your milestones.

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