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Is there really one best way to quit smoking? We've recently learned that the success of quitting the bad habit is closely related to a smoker's personality trait. The personality-informed smoking cessation concept focuses on the Big Five personality domains which, when identified, will help determine what specific approaches are effective to one personality trait --and may not be applicable to another.

In view of this, one pertinent question in cutting the cigarette habit is: should you go "cold turkey" or "warm turkey"? In other words, should you quit suddenly or reduce gradually and then quit?

A recent study was done to address this question. British researchers studied 697 smokers who agreed to quit within two weeks after joining the study. During this time, half of them cut down smoking gradually by reducing the amount of cigarettes and using patches & nicotine replacement therapy. The other half continued as usual and then quit abruptly after the second week mark. The results?

After one month, 39.2% of "graduals" had not smoked again, while 49% of "abrupts" remained smoke-free. After six months, 15.5% of the "warm turkey" and 22% of the "cold turkey" had stopped smoking for good. Although this research reveals that "cold turkey" is the better approach, we cannot neglect the "warm turkey" success rate. These people did quit the habit.

So which is the best method?

The best answer is: The one that works for you. The key to successfully switching to a good habit is understanding what makes you tick (who you are), why you want to change, AND what methods work for you –given your unique personality.

Research is helpful in giving us insights into the science of addiction, how the brain responds to feel-good triggers, and how smokers behave when stressed. But then there's the "you" factor in the whole equation. The most potent element to the quit-smoking solution is self-knowledge.

Here are very short videos that can help us understand how we form bad/good habits:

  • A simple way to break a bad habit is Dr. Judson Brewer's TEDx presentation highlighting the concept of breaking bad habits by being more curious about them. *Dr. Brewer (psychiatrist, neuroscientist, speaker, author) is director of research at the Center of Mindfulness

  • 4 Steps to Break a Habit is where Brewer talks about the connection between mindfulness and addiction.

  • How Habits Change Your Brain explains the mechanism of habit development and how "cravings" make our habits so strong.

If breaking the smoking habit is a real struggle for you, Jarvis Hypnotherapy is here to help you make that positive change happen.


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