Contrary to common beliefs, people smoke cigarettes because of psychological reasons and not because of nicotine addiction. If you monitored your smoking habits, you would find that you smoke when you become stressed, when you are worried, when you are feeling bad, when you lack control, and right after eating.
When someone loses control of his emotions, he will try to use an external object that he can exert control upon (the cigarettes in this case) to restore the feelings of being in control.
Of course, nicotine has some addictive effects. No one can deny this fact, but I am trying to say that this nicotine addiction is a minor factor compared to the other psychological factors involved.
While nicotine addiction can be responsible for 5% of the cravings you get, other psychological factors will be responsible for the rest of the 100%.
Why do people fail to quit smoking?
A guy who has a self-image problem will usually feel anxious In crowded places. This anxiety will result in fidgeting, clumsy movements, and feelings of loss of control.
During such a time, that person will be in severe need to be in control, and since smoking allows him to repeat certain fixed movements, it will give him that sense of control he needs.
People fail to quit bad habits because they always tackle the wrong reasons instead of the root cause. If this person tried to quit smoking millions of times without fixing his self-image issue, then he will never succeed.
Smoking to gain a new identity
Some teens, who experience confusion about their identities, smoke to assert being real men. In many cases, people get involved in certain behaviors to assert the pretense of a certain identity.
The same goes for the adult who wants to show that he is a bad boy or the atheist who wants to rebel against whatever religion teaches.
By doing a behavior that supports an identity that he believes in, a person can feel better about himself.
How to quit bad habits
If you are serious about quitting a bad habit, you must dig behind it to find the underlying psychological cause, and once you find it, you have to deal with it directly.
Will power, persistence, and resilience are great tools, but unless you tackle the real root cause, they won’t help you.
Take nail-biting as an example of a bad habit. No matter what you do to stop it, you will end up returning to it.
When you learn body language, you will find out that nail-biting is usually a sign of anxiety.
Now the right way to break such a habit is to learn how to control anxiety instead of learning how to control your nail-biting habit.
Most people focus on quitting the habit itself instead of looking deeper behind its causes, and that’s why they have hard times giving them up.