Quitting Smoking: Control Your Cravings By Using Your Mind

Changing your psychological addiction to smoking is as important as changing your physical addiction. Changing your thinking is a key to success.

Posted by Avail Content
1 year ago

Changing your psychological addiction to smoking is as important as changing your physical addiction. Changing your thinking is a key to success.

Cravings are temporary and will pass after 5 or 10 minutes. You can make them pass faster, and be more assured that you won’t give in to them, if you tell yourself positive and encouraging things. This is called “self-talk.” A key to your success at quitting smoking will be your ability to use self-talk to stay motivated, committed, and distracted from your cravings and temptations to smoke.

Distract yourself

When you want to smoke, deliberately think about something else. Focus your mind on writing a letter, cooking dinner, talking to someone, solving a puzzle, visualizing your future as a non-smoker.

Think about positive things

There are many things you can say to yourself that will boost your confidence and help you quit smoking.

Some examples:

  • Remind yourself why you are quitting smoking.
  • Remind yourself that cravings are temporary and pass quickly.
  • Tell yourself “I can do this” and remember other times in your life when you successfully changed something about yourself.
  • Tell yourself “this is just a feeling and it’s going to pass in a few minutes.”
  • Tell yourself “I’m well prepared and I can handle anything that comes my way.”
  • Tell yourself “this withdrawal is a sign that my body is healing itself.”

Change your view of yourself

You are a now a non-smoker. Non-smokers do not give in to cravings, they do things that don’t involve smoking, and they are proud of going through each day without having a cigarette. When you’re faced with the temptation to smoke, ask yourself “as a non-smoker, what would I do in this situation?”

Use visualization to boost your confidence

Prepare for your triggers by visualizing how best to handle them. For example, envision what would happen if you were offered a cigarette by a friend. Mentally craft a response and rehearse it in your mind.

Start your day with positive thinking

As soon as you arise from bed in the morning, tell yourself “I am proud that I made it one more day without smoking. I can do it again today.”

Have an emergency plan

If you have a cigarette or two after quitting smoking it’s normal and part of the quitting process. It doesn’t happen to everybody but it’s common and not a sign of failure. It’s called a “slip” when it’s a cigarette or two. If you start smoking regularly again, it’s called a “relapse.”

If you feel the urge to smoke or are tempted to slip:

  • Stop smoking immediately and throw your cigarette(s) away.
  • Leave the room or situation and do something that makes it impossible to smoke (e.g. take a shower).
  • Talk positively to yourself. Remind yourself how far you’ve come.
  • Make your mouth feel differently. Chew mint-flavoured gum.
  • Do something active. Go for a brisk walk outside in the fresh air.
  • If your craving is strong, do deep breathing until the feeling passes.
  • If you absolutely cannot distract yourself, make a pledge with yourself that you will wait 10 minutes before you give in to the craving. If you delay, the craving will pass.
  • Renew your commitment to quitting by getting support from people you trust.

Quit Smoking Resources

The following is a list of helplines and resources. New resources are continually available, and the contact information for some of these resources may change. For the most up-to-date information, do an internet search for “quit smoking programs.”

Provincial Smokers’ Helplines

  • British Columbia (1.877.455.2233)
  • Yukon (1.866.221.8393)
  • Nunavut (1.866.877.3845)
  • Northwest Territories (1.867.920.8826)
  • Alberta (1.866.332-2322 and alberta.quitnet.com)
  • Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (1.877.513.5333)
  • Prince Edward Island (1.888.818.6300)
  • Quebec (1.866.527.7383)
  • Newfoundland, Labrador (1.800.363.5864)

Resources For Youths

  • Quit4Life (www.quit4life.ca) is a Health Canada program for 12 to 18 year olds.
  • Smoke-FX (www.smoke-fx.com) is Ontario-based and has many useful resources to aid in quitting smoking as well as an advocacy tool kit.
  • Smoking Zine (www.smokingzine.org) is a University of Toronto smoking cessation program for teens.

Other Resources



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Quitting Smoking: Control Your Cravings By Using Your Mind

Last updated 1 year ago

Changing your psychological addiction to smoking is as important as changing your physical addiction. Changing your thinking is a key to success.

Cravings are temporary and will pass after 5 or 10 minutes. You can make them pass faster, and be more assured that you won’t give in to them, if you tell yourself positive and encouraging things. This is called “self-talk.” A key to your success at quitting smoking will be your ability to use self-talk to stay motivated, committed, and distracted from your cravings and temptations to smoke.

Distract yourself

When you want to smoke, deliberately think about something else. Focus your mind on writing a letter, cooking dinner, talking to someone, solving a puzzle, visualizing your future as a non-smoker.

Think about positive things

There are many things you can say to yourself that will boost your confidence and help you quit smoking.

Some examples:

  • Remind yourself why you are quitting smoking.
  • Remind yourself that cravings are temporary and pass quickly.
  • Tell yourself “I can do this” and remember other times in your life when you successfully changed something about yourself.
  • Tell yourself “this is just a feeling and it’s going to pass in a few minutes.”
  • Tell yourself “I’m well prepared and I can handle anything that comes my way.”
  • Tell yourself “this withdrawal is a sign that my body is healing itself.”

Change your view of yourself

You are a now a non-smoker. Non-smokers do not give in to cravings, they do things that don’t involve smoking, and they are proud of going through each day without having a cigarette. When you’re faced with the temptation to smoke, ask yourself “as a non-smoker, what would I do in this situation?”

Use visualization to boost your confidence

Prepare for your triggers by visualizing how best to handle them. For example, envision what would happen if you were offered a cigarette by a friend. Mentally craft a response and rehearse it in your mind.

Start your day with positive thinking

As soon as you arise from bed in the morning, tell yourself “I am proud that I made it one more day without smoking. I can do it again today.”

Have an emergency plan

If you have a cigarette or two after quitting smoking it’s normal and part of the quitting process. It doesn’t happen to everybody but it’s common and not a sign of failure. It’s called a “slip” when it’s a cigarette or two. If you start smoking regularly again, it’s called a “relapse.”

If you feel the urge to smoke or are tempted to slip:

  • Stop smoking immediately and throw your cigarette(s) away.
  • Leave the room or situation and do something that makes it impossible to smoke (e.g. take a shower).
  • Talk positively to yourself. Remind yourself how far you’ve come.
  • Make your mouth feel differently. Chew mint-flavoured gum.
  • Do something active. Go for a brisk walk outside in the fresh air.
  • If your craving is strong, do deep breathing until the feeling passes.
  • If you absolutely cannot distract yourself, make a pledge with yourself that you will wait 10 minutes before you give in to the craving. If you delay, the craving will pass.
  • Renew your commitment to quitting by getting support from people you trust.

Quit Smoking Resources

The following is a list of helplines and resources. New resources are continually available, and the contact information for some of these resources may change. For the most up-to-date information, do an internet search for “quit smoking programs.”

Provincial Smokers’ Helplines

  • British Columbia (1.877.455.2233)
  • Yukon (1.866.221.8393)
  • Nunavut (1.866.877.3845)
  • Northwest Territories (1.867.920.8826)
  • Alberta (1.866.332-2322 and alberta.quitnet.com)
  • Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (1.877.513.5333)
  • Prince Edward Island (1.888.818.6300)
  • Quebec (1.866.527.7383)
  • Newfoundland, Labrador (1.800.363.5864)

Resources For Youths

  • Quit4Life (www.quit4life.ca) is a Health Canada program for 12 to 18 year olds.
  • Smoke-FX (www.smoke-fx.com) is Ontario-based and has many useful resources to aid in quitting smoking as well as an advocacy tool kit.
  • Smoking Zine (www.smokingzine.org) is a University of Toronto smoking cessation program for teens.

Other Resources