The following craving technique will help you overcome any craving, no matter how strong, because it takes advantage of how your brain works.
I first taught this craving technique during my TED talk on how to quit smoking. In the next few lines, I want to show you why it works and how to use it step by step.
How Cravings Work
Mental cravings are just positive thoughts about smoking that create positive feelings about smoking. That’s one of the principles of the CBQ method.
When you have a craving, there is an internal dialogue taking place in your mind.
And it goes something like this:
– “I want a cigarette.”
– “I shouldn’t smoke.”
– “But I need one otherwise X bad thing will happen.” “I won’t be able to cope, relax, sleep, enjoy myself,” and so on.
So what can you do when the craving mind starts telling you those craving thoughts?
Most people either give in or try to resist their cravings with willpower, which is exhausting and rarely works in the long run.
But there is another way.
What Makes Cravings Overwhelming & What to Do About It
And even though thoughts can’t hurt you, break you, or make you do anything, they can be very convincing if you let them.
Our thoughts can even affect our body.
Imagine dragging your fingernails across a chalkboard.
Did you get the chills?
You didn’t touch a chalkboard, yet your thoughts affected your body.
In the same way, when you think “I need a cigarette right now” this can affect your body and make you physically experience the craving as more intense – even if it’s a mental craving. Learn the difference between mental and physical cravings here.
The solution is to replace the word “cigarette” with another word.
Replacing the word “cigarette” with another one will help you replace the thought of smoking with a new empowering thought.
You can’t have two thoughts at the same time. It can’t happen!
So you can always replace a thought you don’t like with a new thought.
I call this “changing the channel in your mind” and it’s a very effective way to overcome cravings.
Replace the thought “I need a cigarette” with “I need air, freedom, power, health”.
The words we use to talk to ourselves give meaning to our experiences. By changing the words you feed your mind with, you can change your emotional state. Because our emotions are affected by the pictures we create in our minds.
You’re not going to picture, feel and do the same things if you think “I need a smoke” and “I need freedom.” So you will experience your craving in an entirely different way.
The Craving Technique “Replace”
When you have a craving, do the following steps. Read through them first so you’ll know what to do.
Step 1. Take a deep breath.
Step 2. Acknowledge that all your thoughts revolve around the word cigarette/vaping.
Step 3. Replace the word cigarette/puff/hit/pinch with another word.
Some examples are: “popcorn,” “air,” “power,” “freedom.”
Use any word or phrase that resonates with you. That’s how you will change the negative impact of your internal dialogue and, therefore, the way you experience your craving.
So next time you have a craving, keep saying: “I want air.”
Step 4. Start seeing images of yourself breathing deeply instead of picturing yourself smoking.
Step 5. Notice how you feel when you’re taking a deep breath.
Step 6. What do you hear?
Change your internal dialogue and whenever you want to say: “cigarette” or “smoking,” say the same thing but use your replacement word:
- “Popcorn sounds good right now” “I want to
eat popcorn now.”
- “I want air now.” “All I want is a bit of air.“
Keep all your senses tuned into your replacement word. You can choose any word or phrase as long as it creates a vivid representation in your mind.
Step 7. The craving is over!
With practice, your replacement word will become automatic.
And you can use this exercise to overcome any kind of craving!
Did you like this craving technique from the CBQ Method?
The CBQ Method is a 4-stage method that’s specifically designed to help you overcome the mental addiction, change how you think about smoking, and break the habit. The mental addiction is the biggest part of the smoking addiction so overcoming it makes quitting easy.
To get started with the CBQ Method, click here to get the free Foundational Video of the CBQ.
And if you want help and support, join our CBQ method Facebook support group. We have thousands of members who are on the same journey as you. And we post tips every day to help you quit smoking and remain smoke-free.
Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cbqmethod/