By Maggie Harris, LCSW
The urge-delay skill, which is taught in smoking cessation classes, is good for smokers who prefer to cut down their smoking gradually as opposed to quitting cold turkey. Pick a time that you routinely have a cigarette every day. Often, that is first thing in the morning, right after a meal or when driving. Decide on two or three days in the coming week when you will delay smoking at one of those routine times. For example, you might decide to choose after breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. It is a good idea to mark these times on your calendar.
Set a timer for one hour at the time when you would usually smoke. Then do the best that you can to not smoke for that hour. It can be helpful for you to get involved in something else that is interesting, pleasurable, or relaxing. It is normal to experience anxiety or stress when you are not smoking at the time you usually would. Remind yourself that it is only for an hour and remember that tolerating anxiety is a very useful life skill for all of us! When the timer goes off after an hour, check in with yourself to see how strong the urge to smoke is in that moment. If it is not strong, you may decide to delay smoking a little longer. But you may also go ahead and smoke at that time if you wish. This is still progress towards cutting down and stopping smoking.
The urge-delay skill will help you break the pattern of believing that you need to smoke every time you have the urge, which is essentially an unconscious automatic reaction. You are teaching yourself that you don’t necessarily have to smoke in a particular moment, even if the urge is very strong. With practice, you will begin to develop confidence in stretching out the time between smoking episodes. Once you are comfortable, you may want to set a couple of other times in the week to delay the urge to smoke for an hour. Before you know it, you will have cut down your smoking or perhaps even stopped!
The Behavioral Health Department at SJNMR as well as your medical providers care about your health and are happy to help you with your efforts to stop smoking in any way that we can.
Call for your appointment today! 615-872-9966, option 5
About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:
Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain. We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.
Phone: (615) 872-9966 http://www.sjnmr.com Fax: (615) 872-9967
Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville