Coping with Quitting Part 2; Using Your Tools
This week, let’s take the new coping tools you identified from last week’s blog and apply them to your quit process. What did you come up with in response to the questions? Here they are again, with a few answers listed by other quitters:
- How will you relax? (take a bath, write in my journal, have a cup of tea, play with my children)
- How will you reward and celebrate? (visit with friends, go shopping, go out to eat, go to a movie, save up for a special purchase)
- How will you process feelings of anger? (talk it out, relax, let it go, handle things better next time)
- How will you deal with anxiety? (keep things in perspective, relax, let go, take a walk, take a both, read a book)
- How will you cope with stress? (deep breathing, repeat my mantra, relax, reward, exercise, talk about it, let it go)
- How will you overcome sadness, loneliness or depression? (reach out, exercise, write in journal, call a friend, spend time with my dog)
- Who will comfort you and help you get you through a bad day? (friends, family, QBuddy, coworker, husband, wife)
Once you have your own list of coping tools, it is time to identify your biggest trigger challenges. When are you most likely to struggle with your quit? Are mornings hardest? How about driving, at work, weekends or when company comes by? Knowing when you are most likely to be tested allows you to come up with a plan of action for that specific situation. Take charge of your triggers! For example, make driving less stressful by leaving earlier. Close your door at work and refuse interruptions during a project. Have an enjoyable activity planned for a weekend reward. Have an area designated outside for smoking visitors and so forth. Plan ahead as much as you can. Use your list of emotional coping tools before you get stressed, angry, sad, overwhelmed or tempted!
By managing your trigger situations and emotions, you will feel centered during day to day experiences. This ensures you can keep your quit going strong. When you cope effectively, you feel more in control of your environment and relapse is less likely to occur. This is all part of a successful quit. By actively meeting your emotional needs, you will do away with thoughts of smoking and feel less stress, anger or frustration. The more you practice your new behaviors, the easier it will be to work through old smoking triggers.
When you find yourself in a tough trigger moment; Stop. Just stop everything and acknowledge what you are feeling. Next, identify what triggered your feelings. You are quit, you wish to remain quit and smoking is not an option. Breathe in deeply, pause and exhale slowly. Repeat a mantra if you like, and relax a bit so you can move forward. Now review your options!
Once you know what you are feeling (EX: stress) and know what triggered it (EX: fighting kids) then you can use your list of coping tools for stress plus your comfort sources for bad days plus your coping tools for anxiety and relaxation. Now you feel less stressed, the urge to smoke has passed and you can move forward with a family discussion.
As you work your way through your quit process, you'll learn some things about yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey as your nonsmoking life unfolds!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki Chavez CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist