New Pathways Part 4

OK, so I've started into Loretta Breuning's book, "Meet Your Happy Chemicals".  It's a little slow going so I'm only at the point of identifying the problems & the solutions are further along in the book (at least I hope so).  Finding the right alternatives for developing new & sustainable pathways (expressways) to stimulate those happy chemicals is the next challenge. Exercise helps but I can hardly drop & do 50 push ups every time I'm down in the dumps.  Lurv helps but I live alone so companionship though useful is unlikely to be my solution.....(unless Briarwood is available).  Food rewards are impractical when I can put weight on just watching others eat. Preferably, it needs to be something I can develop quickly several times a day to overshadow the smoking super highway.  If anyone has some suggestions I'm opened to them at this stage, except social gatherings, dances & ole farts clubs are definitely not my go.

I know there are medications to treat depression & balance brain chemicals but I'd prefer not to become dependent on prescription medicines. it seems like a trade off of one problem for another.

21 Replies

  • Hi,

    I'm a big believer in staying off the meds unless you can't find a natural solution (diet, exercise and all the other things you have mentioned or that get spouted in every such conversation). Although if nothing else works, go for it meds are better than being miserable in what few years we have on this planet.

    If you need more exercise, dropping and doing 50 is beyond me (I have a desk job but go to the gym regularly). If you don't have a sport (other than golf) you enjoy doing, go for a walk (see if you can find somewhere new), my grandmother often said cleaning was better than going to the gym (if you get the heart rate up that's whats important).

    If you feel a need for more social interaction, do you have a practical hobby? There are groups for all sorts of things in this world!

    I was involved in a maker group (not mine as it's since disbanded but another similar: ) which allows people to get together to make stuff (often electronics but I have also seen hydroponics etc... projects).

    There are computer technical groups if that's your thing (It's mine hence the suggestion).

    Art groups, I'm sure there are life drawing groups/clubs around.

    Find a walking group/buddy.

    Perhaps you know something and could get involved in teaching people?

    I have rambled a bit much (again). What are your hobbies/interests?

    do/did you have a profession in something that interests you?

  • Hi Dave, I guess I have somewhat reclusive from social activities ( by choice) since I retired & my main outlet is golf. I play 3 times a week, & on the off days I am training or practising, so the sunshine, exercise & socialisation is covered pretty well. I seem to be doing the right thing diet wise to enhance feel good receptors. I'm focusing on elevated cortisol levels (unhappy chemicals) & ways of reducing their levels. I have also been reading about a natural anti-depressant called 5-HTP. The juries still out on that one. I'm trying to discern what the trusted sites are online but even then, there seems to be huge variations in findings from site to site. It's clear to me that quitting successfully with pre-existing depression presents greater challenges & the success rate long term is considerably lower.

  • Aup Roneo I hope you've had a good day :)

    Hmmmm, you dont like ole farts clubs then :D :D just flippin love it pal :D :D well, I'd had a flippin crap night at work :P :( got home and read your post and its cheered me up no end pal :) thank you :)

    Rite, what you need is a flippin good book of jokes :D :D and when you feel down in the dumps, have a read at it and a laugh :D :D

    Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr, why not treat yourself to one of them new fangled wristwatch thingy ma giggs :o ermm, are they called ''smartwatches'' or something :o Then you could wear it on ya wrist so you have it with you at all times and when you get stressed out, you could have a play with that and it would keep your mind active trying to work out how to use it eh :D Hmmm, perhaps not such a good idea, cos you might get more stressed out eh :o

    O well, back to the drawing board, I will try to keep my 1 brain cell active :o and see what else I can come up with :|

    Take care now Ron :)

  • Thanks Pete, I've already come up a level because of your post.

  • Laughter :D :D If you can't find a good joke book, like monky's, force it out if necessary! Just get those muscles working on it :D :D

    Might be best to start in the privacy of your own home :o :p

    And then, of course, there's real stretching and straightening, like it really matters, cos it does :) I.e. yoga! There is nothing like the feel good that comes after a concentrated yoga session. It is a lovely feeling, definitely releases the happy chemicals. Not many guys want to do it, so you have to adjust your stereotype of yourself sometimes to take the leap ;)

    Recently a guy on TV whose written a 'how to be happy' book recommended a lot of exercise etc stuff, especially for him, standing on his head for a few minutes a day. So there you go! Let us know how you get on :)

  • Hi Betts,

    The image of me doing yoga in a leotard has already invoked a few belly laughs. I tried standing on my head once & it took ages to get the boot marks off my forehead. I've really stepped up the exercise routines over the past couple of months & I can definitely attest to the therapeutic benefits.

    My focus is moving towards reducing or eliminating negatives that promote excess cortisol (the unhappy chemical). I think I need to steer clear of news & politics & all those issues over which I have no control other than to fret about them. Sadly, I'm spending most of my time obsessing over quitting which, in itself, is less than edifying.

  • You sound like you have low levels of cortisol right now, very cheery :)

    If you are skipping the newspapers but want to keep up with the world while laughing. I recommend Friday night comedy from the BBC (listen live or to the podcast). Weekly satire on the headlines:

  • Yeah David, despite evidence to the contrary I really do have a keen sense of humour. Except sometimes I feel like clown who makes everyone laugh whilst he's crying on the inside.

  • I presume that was a part of your route into smoking... Sadly I don't know enough about depression to offer any ideas/suggestions.

  • I think medical research is dragging it's feet on the relationship between smoking & depression. They acknowledge the link. They have yet to conclude whether smoking is a factor in depression or if suffers smoke as a form of self medicating. Either way, I'd like to be free from both.

  • Hi Ron ☺️

    Firstly I need to compliment on your excellent writing skills 🌟

    I'm sure others have suggested this but why don't you write a blog, I for one would find it entertaining and informative. This may help you to build new pathways to turn on your happy chemicals 😀

    Gentle exercise, walking ,listening to music that lifts you or my personal favourite which my hubby says I excell at 💥spending money💥 😆, seriously Ron I enjoy reading and can often lose myself in a good story, especially if the suns out, sitting in the garden and listening to the birds.

    I'm always interested in the rationale in people starting smoking again after they've quit, especially those who have remained quit for years. It amazes me that smoking can be picked up again so quickly after years of abstention.

    I had an e cig with zero nicotine in it which I kept just in case. One day after a particularly challenging day at work, I went home and took it out of my drawer in my bedroom, I took a puff and honestly every nerve ending sprang to life, the rush in my body was incredible, again I reiterate this was zero nicotine, so why did this happen? I threw out the ecig because I was so alarmed that my body/brain was so conditioned that even taking a puff of flavoured zero nicotine could cause this reaction.

    Just remember NOPE and that we are stronger than any burning white stick, we are only quitters if we quit quitting.

    Hope you find your happy place soon 😀


  • Thanks Shantimar, your comments have moved me one step closer to that happy place. Your experience with the ecig intrigues me & corresponds closely with my own experiences of quitting for a considerable period of time & relapsing without the stimulus of nicotine addiction. I'm of the opinion that nicotine gets far too much credit for enslavement to smoking. On previous quit attempts, overcoming the nicotine addiction has been tough but withdrawal rarely extends beyond 2 weeks & it's not unbearable. It then comes down to learned behaviours/neural pathways that kick in in times of adversity that drag me back in.

  • Many many years ago I used to roll my own cigarettes. I remember that I enjoyed the ritual of rolling, I made it a ritual and when i quit I'd occasionally ask friends who smoked if I could roll for them as I missed the ritual.

    The comments you have made about "pathways" have fascinated me and made me think about things. I think you are right that Nicotine gets too much credit for the smoking addiction. This time round I'm finding it easier to quit from an e-cig than i ever found for a regular tobacco one. I think there are many other chemicals which are addictive (or at least add to something that your body associates with being "happy")

  • :D :D It's the leotard! :D :D

    My husbands very successful and happy aunt used to say her secret was to 'think happy thoughts!' Easier said than dine for some of us, but definitely worth diverting ourselves to whenever we can. Maybe make a list oh happy moments to divert thoughts to, and try and remember the feelings of that moment - feeling, sound, smell, see it...

    I too have lessened news addiction.... Too much negative 'propoganda'! I'm sure there is some good stuff going on out there :) Just don't report it.

    Shantis book idea is good. I'd like a list of happy diverting books. Did enjoy 'The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared' , Jonas Jonasson. Brings some smiles and feel good, plus gripping read.

  • The books I'm reading at the moment are all about quitting & dealing with depression. I need to review my reading list.

    I have this mantra of "trust no-one & 90% of the time you'll be right". Sad to say, it has proven to be quite accurate but it does little to benefit one's outlook on life.

    We're in the middle of a state election campaign where both sides of politics are making outrageous claims & counter claims. An increase in private health insurance was announced at 6%, mine was 16%. Then there are discussions of making smokers pay more for health insurance even though the poor buggers enslaved to the habit are already paying 80 cents in the dollar extra tax & I take umbrage on their behalf.

    I needed to buy petrol but decided to leave it until I returned from golf. It went up 20 cents a litre by the time I got to a service station. Throw in a couple of procedural changes at the Golf club that directly affect me & a bad experience on course & all these petty annoyances in the space of 2 days combine & magnify in my mind to prime me for a relapse.

    Sorry about the rant but how I manage these little adversities will go a long way to dealing with my problem.

  • HI Roneo

    Yes we all love your writing and I hope you become a regular poster. My deep seated fear is that at some point I will be in a situation with smokers, and feeling so healthy and happy that one wont make a difference. I have to prepare myself for that.

    I am not prepared to give up nicotine completely yet, but will not use an ecig to cease that physical link.

    I can distract myself by using my phone , often using twitter, facebook, check the news weather and of course this site. I find it certainly helps.

    Above all I like new technology so often look at new developments and innovations that are happening. Following new tech startups. Before you know it the craving has subsided.

  • One won't make a difference (in your dreams) but the ongoing desire, even when resisting can erode one's resolve. Thanks what I need to overcome.

  • Oh yeah I'm available for you anytime 😉 and always wanted to visit Sydney ✈️✈️✈️

    By the time I get there you'll have met those happy chemicals and then you'll just send me back 😰 actually I look better from a distance (the further away the better) :D :D 😘

  • At least I know you're reading my posts. Those happy chemicals are for sharing.

  • Good morning Roneo,

    I hope you've had a good sleep and are looking forward to a tremendous Thursday 😀🎉🎈

    This is the first day of your new life dust away the cobwebs of the old and do something new. Only you can decide what that can be dance barefoot in the sand, howl at the moon, don't dwell on ifs and buts, be all you can be and find your happy place and take chances. I know it's hard to trust when you've been hurt but not everyone is the same😀

    I hope your day goes great and please send over some sun 😉


  • We certainly have oodles of sun to share. We missed out on winter altogether last year. I could certainly do with some cooler weather. Today has been a great day. Nothing special, but just one of those days when you can't help but feel tremendous. Thanks for the encouragement.

You may also like...