One of the biggest fears for smokers wanting to put down the cigarettes and quit smoking is that they will have nothing to do when they are bored. It may surprise you to know that there is actually a physiological reason for this feeling of boredom when giving up smoking, which is a hurdle you may have to overcome on your journey to becoming smoke free.
One of the side effects of smoking is that it weakens the normal functions of the brain which are responsible for the sensation of pleasure and well-being. Being dependent on nicotine means that everything you do, feel and think is associated with cigarettes and smoking, therefore the idea of doing anything without cigarettes seems daunting and less thrilling.
Fortunately, your brain is ever evolving and can be reconfigured to feel excitement or pleasure in normal activities without the need to smoke. It might make time to re-train your brain but stick with it and you’ll start to feel the positive emotions you thought you could only feel when smoking.
Start to think about the activities you enjoy doing, perhaps when you are smoking. Do you call a friend when having a cigarette? Or go for a walk in the park? Try doing these activities without the cigarette. Perhaps take a drink of water with you to sip on instead as a replacement for the hand to mouth movement. You might want to see this as an opportunity to try something new altogether to take your mind off smoking. Learning something new strengthens the nerve cells in your brain and will help in overcoming your nicotine reliance.
This could be the time for you to go out into the world and start your new hobby. You need something which is going to take your mind off smoking, so think about activities you enjoyed in the past – perhaps you liked playing badminton at school? This could become a regular activity for you now, so when you feel like having a smoke after work you could grab a friend and go play badminton instead! Or, if you want something which doesn’t involve going out every night, try taking up art or photography.
Games are another great distraction, and if you’re feeling low whilst trying to quit smoking you might not feel like venturing out to start a new hobby, so discovering some new games will help to ease the boredom. There are so many options out there available to you, from games that will really help your brain development such as sudoku or brain teaser apps to games which are more of a distraction technique such as computer games.
Why not treat your brain and your body by taking up a new exercise regime to ease your boredom? Whether it’s going out running, dancing, hitting the gym, going for a bike ride, learning yoga or a mountain of other activities, concentrating on getting yourself fitter will really help with your motivation and enjoyment of life.
It’s important to distinguish between feeling bored and feeling depressed, so if you are really struggling without cigarettes then it might be an idea to visit your doctor for help. If you want assistance in overcoming your boredom when quitting smoking, get in touch with the LiveWell Dorset team today.
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