Quit Support
10,372 members17,758 posts

New Pathways Part 2

Different behaviours & circumstances release "feel good" chemicals in our brain...seratonin, dopamine, oxytocin & endorphins.  To some degree, depending on 

how & why you smoke all of these feel good chemicals can be triggered by smoking.  Subsequently a pathway is developed in your brain to stimulate these 

chemicals associated with smoking.  Nicotine plays its part to a degree, though it is my belief that nicotine doesn't make you feel good.   When your body is depleting its nicotine stores it makes you feel bad. Replenishing stops the bad feeling. the actual act of smoking is what stimulates the happy chemicals. Over years of reinforcing this pathway 20 or so times a day, the "pathway" becomes a multi lane expressway, your direct route to those "happy chemicals". Then there is the "unhappy" chemical cortisol, which is also necessary to protect us against danger both physical & emotional. I'm of the belief that, when encountering a series of adverse situations, I generate a surplus of cortisol which results in anger, depression or anxiety.  My rational brain KNOWS that smoking won't fix things but instinct & years of reinforcement directs me down that 6 lane expressway for relief.  So wherein lies the solution?  Build alternate pathways for the happy chemicals.  Reinforce them until they become as big or bigger than the 6 lane smoking freeway.

7 Replies

Roneo, you have done amazingly well and I think that deep down you already have this all figured out 😉

We know that there are two parts to stopping smoking;

1) Stopping smoking

2) Staying stopped

... And they must be done in that order.

The thing is, there isn't any set time of how long this process may take 😳

Also, the other thing we have to understand is that when stopping smoking we have to work with the psychological side to stopping as well as the physical.

NRT will help curb cravings for us, but we have to work extra time and go the extra mile to understand and win the psychological side to quitting.

You just jump straight back into the vehicle you are driving, maybe see it in a way that maybe you just pulled over to the side for a minute to fill up your tank.

You can do this and we're all beside you 100%

Keep us posted with your thoughts and findings mister 👍

1 like

Thank you Emjay, these posts may appear to be somewhat clinical, but I'm in no state to cope with quitting emotionally. Personal experience has taught me I can achieve step 1 with self discipline & determination. I just need to find solutions that will sustain me when I sink into depression. My quitting resembles the Star Trek series......so many episodes, so many incarnations, yet "the journey" never ends.


Roneo, you are the main driver of your journey and we are your passengers :D :D

The good news is that you have the control - whether you choose to smoke or not, it is a choice that you have, a choice that is yours to make - this is a control that you have :-)

Remembering that the key to a successful quit attempt is planning and preparation.

If you say that you are in no state to cope emotionally, lets tease it out together at a pace to suit you ;-)

Depression can affect different folks in different ways and these are the times that if you can find the strength and motivation to do it, then hang out around here and we'll support you :-)

How about we work on this together, all in your own time and try and learn from your past quit attempts - taking your learning and putting it into practise for the next one?

I'm hopeful that we can help make this an enjoyable journey :-)


Thanks Emjay. I really appreciate your help. At this stage, what I have learned from previous failed quit attempts, is no matter how successful the attempt, eventually, I end up caving in. How's that for some positive thinking! Actually, I'm tentatively optimistic about your feel good chemicals post & its relevance to my circumstances both in regard to depression & quitting smoking. It has given me some clarity as to how I can defeat the nicotine addiction yet months later, when I'm suffering a bout of the blues, without even craving a cigarette, I'm inextricably drawn to smoking to "cheer myself up".


Yes, smoking hi-jacks your reward system big time. Many people who smoke suffer from anxiety or depression due to this. Exercise is good; it helps you to rid yourself of toxins that have built up and also raise that feel good factor.

If you are really struggling, Hypnotherapy can help create new neural pathways, by targeting the endorphins and re-directing them to kick in to feel proud of that decision to quit.


Hey Linda, I believe hypnotherapy can have a significant role to play. Allen Carr in his Easyway to Quit Smoking underwent hypnotherapy before successfully quitting but he gave all the credit to his methodology & little to the hypnotherapy. I attended a group session many years ago which was a complete waste of time & money. So, I believe it can make a great contribution to quitting for good,.......depending on the practitioner. I'm in Western Sydney Australia. Do you know of a reputable hypnotherapist I can consider?


You are right about Allen Carr- he has helped many to stop with the classes, but the core is still hypnotherapy, as there is a lot of repetition and leaving the decision up to the person ....they have a quick hypnosis session at the end I believe, but it is not aimed personally at that person, so will be a little hit and miss.

I am in the uk, so not sure about a hypnotherapist who is local for your purposes, but I can offer up a few pointers that can guide you in the right direction. Will enquire for you. You can e-mail me ivertherapy@gmail.com , regards Linda


You may also like...