MIND OVER MATTER

That’s what my parents used to say when I said ‘I can’t do this’ and then they would patiently explain that the majority of the time it was getting your mind to understand and/or comprehend that this was the way it was going to be and that I could do it and besides that, there was no such word as can’t!! Just shows how times have changed though no I’m not saying that the word can’t now exists in a dictionary but if you type on a word document can not it tells you that the actual spelling is cannot so some things do change.

Reflecting today on the past 3 months – can’t quite believe that it is so long ago – and my very unsuccessful attempts at quitting the dreadful habit called smoking I have realised that it is mind over matter and technically, yes, the brain does play a big part in it as well.

The mind together with the brain must be thee most complex parts of the human body. I mean everything that we do or say involves the mind and brain, for example, right hand pick up that cup, the mind knows what it has to do and sends a message to the brain which then sends the correct signals to your hand to enable it to do the task. Open your mouth to speak, and your mind again notifies the brain which then sends the correct signals to not just your mouth but your voice box and a host of other things so that you can actually speak.

I have been thinking today about my original quit – 10th March. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Also a lot of false starts, true and good starts but all with no finish, no (happy) ending. So what have I done that I shouldn’t have, what haven’t I done that I should have and more importantly why so many with the end always resulting in failure every time.

Well, as I said earlier, reflecting on time gone by, I firmly believe that I have now found the answer. It might not be the correct answer for everyone but I am certain that it is the main reason I have not finished what I started. The answer is my mind – in my mind I am and always will be a smoker and I have done nothing to change that train of thought. I have completely ignored the fact that the mind controls my every waking and sleeping moment and if my mind is not convinced that I am a non-smoker how can I blame the rest of my body for carrying on smoking? I can’t – not logically anyway – because if the mind truly believes that I am a smoker, then surely it follows that I will continue to smoke.

So I have to ask myself how do I correct this (huge) problem? Well, the relatively simple answer that immediately springs to mind is I have to teach my mind to think differently. May be easier said than done but to start with, I have to teach both my mind and my brain to think in terms of the fact that I am, from this moment in time, a non-smoker. I have to teach my mind/brain not to ‘need or want’ the atrocious cocktail of chemicals that I have religiously been feeding them for more years than I care to think about. I have to teach my mind/brain that it does not need these chemicals in order to function – in order for me to function in reality. I have to teach my mind/brain that these chemicals are going to be taken away. I have to teach my mind/brain that it will and can survive and function perfectly well without those noxious chemicals and nicotine. I have to teach my mind/brain that I am in control and I no longer smoke. I have no need to smoke. I do not want to smoke. I have no desire to smoke. In a nutshell, I am and always will be from now on, a non-smoker.

Brave words I can hear you all say but brave they may be and hard work it will be but I will do this. I will do this because I have to otherwise I have no control whatsoever over my life and by doing this I put myself back in charge of my destiny. By putting myself first, second and in every other place, I know that becoming a non-smoker will benefit me in so many ways and by doing this, my mind/brain will be one of the main beneficiaries along with my heart, my lungs in fact, just about every functioning part of my body. Even my arms and hands will benefit – no more scrubbing at the yellow staining on my fingers with Ajax and a nail brush, no more cleaning my teeth 3 and 4 times a day because of the smell of smoke on my breath. No more worrying about my clothes and hair stinking of stale smoke and how horrible it must be to work with someone who stinks to high heaven.

In a nutshell, I have the freedom of choice and the new me chooses NOT to smoke – so listen up mind and brain as well, I no longer smoke. Got that – well you will eventually because I am not going to cave in this time. This time, I will make it past the first hurdle and whatever you may put in my way, be that more hurdles, stumbling blocks, obstacles or anything and everything really, I want to be a non-smoker and I will be a non-smoker!

I am resolute – I CAN AND WILL DO THIS – no matter what, this time I will not fail of that I am positive – well, I think I am :-/ :D

17 Replies

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  • Hi Kath, I hope you've been keeping well?

    I read your blog with interest as, despite being smoke free for just over a month now, I still see myself as a smoker who is in the process of quitting. I'm not entirely sure when my mental process will change to that of an ex-smoker and then further to those dizzying heights of non-smoker.

    I do know that for me the process of stopping smoking was a very long and complicated one. I would try every few months or so to ditch the habit but in hindsight it was always for the wrong reasons. I would make an attempt for financial reasons or because I wanted to be able to exercise more in an attempt to lose weight, or because my daughter begged me to, or because my partner would roll his eyes every time I lit a little devil up.

    Even the fact that when I was 25 my beloved Dad died at the age of 59, his life lost to cancer. Dad had been a heavy smoker from the age of 14 and all of the medical profession would tell me he died because of smoking. In my head I would think that ok, the medical profession may be right but there are so many other causes of cancer it didn't have to be smoking that did it! So there it was, I was never going to be able to give up like that because it was for the wrong reason and my mind thoroughly resented having to give up what I though of as a treat.

    And so I carried on......until a few months ago when I realised that everywhere I went with my partner and my daughter I would be looking for the smoking area or trying to hurry them out of a museum that we'd been in for a few hours and I needed my fix, or holding them up as I wanted to get the hit before we went in somewhere. In essence I was a slave to nicotine and instead of resenting not smoking, a shift in my thinking occurred where I resented 'having' to smoke.

    The final straw came when my Mum (also a lifelong smoker) went into hospital with an exacerbation of COPD. Being told she was unlikely to pull through brought everything into focus and I looked at Mum's life. Gone was the vibrant, active lady and in her place (and had been for some years though I had chosen to ignore the fact) was a frail old lady of 69 who was dying. I realised that Mum had been dying before my eyes for some years and that this exacerbation was nothing new, just what should be expected. I also could not shrug this disease off as anything other than a smoking related disease! I suddenly became scared. Not scared of dying as Mum is dying but scared of living as Mum is living. She cannot leave the house, can no longer drive, has to have carers in each morning to help her wash and dress, her weight has dropped from a healthy 10 stone to a skeletal 6 stone, she gets pressure sores, breathless walking from her bedroom to the toilet, cannot do any of the things such as knitting that she used to get pleasure from as it makes her too tired. Mum pulled through her exacerbation and I was selfishly pleased because I don't want to let her go yet but I know that I never want to have to live my life the way she is having to live hers if I can help it and so help me I can help it! I will help it by continuing to be smoke free.

    So, my rather long winded point is this, it is important for your body to be ready and your mind to be ready but you have to feel it in your soul and not resent what you are going to stop. Try not to think of it as 'giving up' as that makes it seem like you are losing something. Try thinking about it as 'stopping' something that will make you lose something.

    You will do it Kath :) x

  • Hi LilyMay

    I'm keeping OK thank you and hope you are well too..

    Many thanks for commenting on my blog and I read with deepening interest both your and Madimad's replies and have to say that I though I had cracked this smoking lark or should I say this stopping smoking but it would seem I have not.

    Will go into my corner with the dunce hat in place because not only am I a complete and utter idiot for thinking that I could do this massive thing but I really thought I was making progress with myself but yours and Madimads comments are extremely valid and have made me feel so despondent that I feel a failure yet again before I have even started again!

  • Hi Kath

    I'm sorry if my comments have made you feel idiotic or caused you to fail. They weren't intended as such, it was intended as encouragement as you seemed to be in the right place and I was, obviously foolishly, trying to reaffirm through my own experience.

    I hope you don't give up on something that you want to do because I have stupidly said the wrong thing.

    Good luck

    Lily

  • Hi Kath

    I don't think it's like that at all :). It is just that your blog is thought provoking, it makes us think. So then we think a bit and write a bit, it is all adding to it, not taking away. So don't feel despondent, you started something, and all of it is fine, we are all just walking in and adding. And trying to make sense of why it's so difficult to stop smoking, and how to get there.

    I am very afraid of being like your mum, Lilymay, or worse, and that is really why I want to stop. I do have a mind problem which Kath describes really well, and it happens whenever I have to do a big piece of work writing, researching and pulling things together in a final report. My mind tells me that I have to smoke to concentrate enough to do it, and give me the thinking breaks, and maybe a touch of creativity. I have always used cigs for this, and find it really difficult to split it away from the activity. My mind tells me I can't, and eventually I cave in in deperation. Fact is, it can't be true, or everybody would have to be puffing away to get any such work done, and they don't. I will get there. I am too old to be as silly as I am.

    Thanks all for really supportive comments and sharing your thoughts. It helps me.

    x

  • Hi Betts, I know exactly what you mean about feeling you need to smoke to be able to concentrate properly and to manage to do anything that uses more than a few brain cells at a time. I'm well into 5 months stopped now and things are really not getting any easier. I do very little that I don't absolutely have to do, I have no patience at all, and wonder how much longer I can keep this up. I didn't see your first post this morning (I'm trying to stay away from this site as to be honest I don't feel its helping) but I gather from what EmJay said that you have lapsed. I also got the impression that your smoking adviser said you should set a new quit date when you feel more able to quit. Don't listen to her. I was told the same when I lapsed in April. I am still angry at the way she gave up on me. Just pick yourself up and start again but don't count it as starting all over again, that's just ridiculous. It's not a new quit date its a continuation of where you were up to. Grrr, see I told you I get angry at just about anything at the moment.

    Anyway I totally understand what you mean. Maybe if people were a little bit more honest about the hell they're going through instead of pretending things are going just swimmingly then others of us wouldn't feel so bloody inadequate.

    Hope this helps you to feel you're not alone. I'm going now to wallow in my own self pity, anger and my lozenges. Grrrrr

  • Sinfree, thank you! It isn't just me then!

    It's so much easier (still tremendously hard though) when I don't have to do too much thinky stuff. At least then I can keep keeping myself busy with activities, hands, feet, chatting, anything! diversion!

    I am seriously wondering if I will have to give up the work to be able to stop, but need the money. And the work is really interesting.

    It was a tough counselling session, and she is thinking I should come back at it again later, with Champix. Not sure that would be any better. You're right. I am still on the same journey here, lapsed not down and out :)

  • hi my quit date was the same as yours Kath and I am still trying to drop the smelly habit. I do ok for a week or ten days and then just light a cig even though I don't need one,stupid I know. It is mind over matter and hopefully my mind and yours will eventually get there.

    We can only keep trying.

  • Thanks for this - begining to think that I was losing my mind but now know that there is at least one person suffering the same horrors which makes me feel that bit better. Why does the impossible seem possible as you say for 7 to 10 days and then it becomes impossible again!! We are only human but sometimes I wonder what I have to do to make this a permanent way of life - not smoking that is - and reading a couple of the replies on this blog makes me wonder if it does get any easier in time or will I, like them, still crave/need/want a cigarette.

    Together we can do this but it may make me insane in the process.

  • well I am going to try again now, I have my spray so I will try my best to not have a ciggie today, I will come back on the web site later and let you know how I have gone on!!. My husband smokes and I don't think that helps,but at the end of the day he isn't the one putting a cig in my mouth, Like you say it is an insane process but I am sure its worth getting through it in the end.We are not losing our minds we just need to tell our minds that WE WONT SMOKE TODAY and take it from there.

  • Stay strong and positive - like the approach and look forward to hearing of your success later on today. PM if it's easier!

  • Some people find it really easy to quit smoking others like myself find it very very hard. Over four months ago I quit, and not for the first time. Many many times I have given the evil weed the heave ho, but like a lot of others have drifted back at a weak moment. I hope this time is my final time because I can not go through it all again. I used champix and have now finished the course. I am feeling very vulnerable and at a loss as to why I still have these so called cravings. Yes it is all in the mind I know it is. We have to keep going as we all know we need to do this. Accept the ups and downs and just keep going x Good luck to everyone on this long but necessary journy to better health.

  • At least in the times we are succeeding, a day, a week, 10 days, a month.... we are not smoking a fair few cigarettes, and every fag not smoked is good. We are getting practice, and the world doesn't crumble in those times, and we feel good. I felt a lot better, especially my chest. I want that feeling of health and being in control permanently one day!

    And we all feel we have to keep trying, and we do, for whatever our reasons. We have a strong need/want to succeed in the end, and we will, so I am going to stick at quitting, through the failures, till there aren't any any more, because I've had enough practice and can do it.

    Wishing you all success in not smoking, and me too!

  • Good on yer and well done you. A great approach and just one little thing if you could Betts please (pretty please) if you've some of your guts, courage, determination and will power going spare then please send it to me - pronto!! :D And no, I'm not joking or kidding!! :O

  • I would love to xx

  • Here you go, massive splodges of it coming your way!

    Don't duck!!

    t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn...

    That'll keep you going a bit!

    And when you've got a bit spare, pleeeaase send me some too!

  • aibek.nomadlife.org/uploade...

    Could only find this which is a bit (rather a lot actually) of Dutch courage for you Betts!!!

    Please feel free to send any surplus back or share with others.

    Have got my smilie definitions at work so hope these are the right ones.

    :D :D :-/ :-/ :) :) :( :(

  • The last ones are a bit of a mistake but you may like to consider yourself Royalty - :O Queen Victoria "We are not amused"!! :O

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