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Mirror Neurons and Staying Quit

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Apparently, mirror neurons are a tool in our mental survival kit. We watch other people, and if they live, we do what they did. 

I know, that's way simplistic.

 

I've been feeling very low about having to travel. I don't like to fly anymore. I was a flight attendant for seven years and loved it. Don't know why I don't want to fly again.

So, feeling low, and wanting to smoke.

 

Yesterday, a shopper came unhinged and loudly and harshly berated me for the way I was ringing up her purchases. She immediately demanded a manager. I called for a manager, then remained  quiet, respectful and apologized, and offered to allow another cashier to help her.  The manager arrived, I finished the transaction, and continued on until the next break.  I was seething with suppressed anger. (Before I went home, the manager called me aside and said that this is typical behavior for that customer; I did nothing wrong.)

 

At my break, I recounted to another cashier what happened and told her I really wanted a cigarette. I explained that I had quit, but right now was wishing I hadn't. I wanted to smoke.

Turns out she smokes; "I keep it to four or six a day."  I had a brief memory of having told myself I'd just have four or six a day. Ha!  I kept myself from asking her for a cigarette. 

 

I strongly craved a cigarette for the rest of the day and during my commute home. I was sorely tempted to ditch my quit.

As I drove, I don't know why, but I thought about mirror neurons and how they are related to learning, peer pressure,  and crowd behavior--the copy-cat effect. I rambled from thought to thought about it and then said to myself, "I can use this to counter the desire to smoke right now."

 

I imagined two groups of people. I saw one group avidly sucking on cigarettes on a sunless day, with smoke billowing around and smelling up their clothes, hair, and breath. With x-ray eyes, I saw the smoke curling inside their lungs and saw damage being done to their bodies. 

 

The other group I imagined were jogging or swimming, biking, gardening, everyone in the sunshine and breathing the fresh air easily. 

I imagined myself walking on by the haggard looking, diseased smoking group and taking a walk in the park in the sunshine with my small dog, breathing fresh air and feeling great.

 

I began to relax. I mindfully kept my attention on the sunny people, focusing on how these were the survival behaviors, and saw myself copying what they were doing.

 

I thought about these mirror neurons and the impact my return to smoking could have on another new quitter on the QT forum.  And what would I say in a post? Lame excuses, that's what. What if my returning to QT as a relapsed smoker, having to start over, triggered a copycat effect in one or more other QTers. I'd feel terrible. 

 

 

Mirror neurons and the copycat effect. We have to be careful about where we turn our attention, be mindful about whom we emulate, and remember that other people may be copying our behavior.

 

I still feel low about having to fly, but I didn't smoke.

 

Another day of appreciating QT and saying "no" to cigarettes.

 

 

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Great post Kate and so helpful to so many. You are doing great with your quit and already paying it forward which we all really appreciate :) I hope you find flying a little easier now that you won't have to be worried about finding the nearest smoking area :) 

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Wow !! Kate ...some people are rude for sure ....

Well done ...you stayed strong ....you didn't let the sad folks spoil your quit ...you should feel so proud ....

Hoping further into your quit ...you will be able to fly again and not worry.....

You chose Freedom...great job !!!!

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G’day

Those people are put in this world.... to make the rest of us look good!

Your right Kate it’s all about, how you think about things.

C

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Today was easier keeping the quit and minimizing the power of craving, in part because I held to visual images of diseased, hunched over smokers, and walking on into the sunshine to be in fresh air on a walk with my dog.

A surprise visit at my store where I cashier from my former supervisor at the store I worked at previously. I asked her to pass on to a co-worker that I had quit, finally. He had been very supportive and recommended a 12-step approach to quitting.

I am feeling more confident.

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Way to go Kate, it's the new year, and time for new awareness maybe in the way we approach our craves and fight this addiction.

 

I think it also links back to the mindful meditation bit somewhere, you gotta focus on the present, and see it for what it is. The "ugly" picture of the smokers life is fact, hence as easy to picture, and focusing on not wanting to end up like that is great motivation.

Great post, good thoughts.

 

Keep it up.

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Kate ...Your doing great ....

Just visualise... Your nice healthy pink lungs ...to those dirty black ones of a smoker ...take in those great deep breaths of fresh air ...

I got a buzz early on I'm quit ..standing at the back door ,and breathing in and out for a few good deep breaths ...a feel good factor !!!!.....

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Great post, Kate, and you're doing awesome with your quit.  These incidents make you stronger and now you have a tool you can use next time.

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Your visualizations of smokers and non smokers and wanting to be with the non smokers shows good progress. Keep it up. Visualizing smoking as a good or desirable thing is just perpetuating the lies you addiction has told you all these years. You're a non smoker now and starting to see the many benefits of that lifestyle. It will get even better. Keep fighting :)  

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