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Constant Mindgames?


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I read way back and thoughts it might be useful to those who end up in a relapse, or in fear of giving quitting another crack.


Bear in mind Dr Steve Peters calls the limbic part the 'chimp' and the 'human' is the frontal. Hope this helps in understand why it's not about will power.


All information goes to the chimp first. The process is always the same as you go about your daily routines: in every situation and action, all input goes through your chimp first. The chimp then decides if there is anything to worry about. If there is no concern then the chimp goes to sleep and hands over to the human.


So I personally see now how my craves just stopped, I often say went to sleep because they did.


If the chimp is concerned, then it will hold on to the blood supply in the brain and will make it's own decisions on what is going on. The human and chimp both think in the here and now and both interpret as they happen. The human interprets things a calm and logical manner. The chimp interprets things in an emotional manner.


The chimp and the human can work effectively together. The chimp with its instincts and drives can keep us safe and healthy. It can tell us when to eat and sleep, and warn us of danger and how to deal with it, or when there is something it would like to engage with to fulfil its own desires. ( smoking )


It is the norm for most of us to run on emotion throughout our day and there is nothing wrong with this. Problems arise when the chimp gives us a suggestion that is not appropriate and we then allow it to control us and don't know how to stop the chimp from dominating us.


Why can't we take the power off the chimp and make decisions?

The simple answer is that the chimp is more powerful and acts more quickly than the human. A real chimpanzee has five times the strength of a human. In the same way, you can think of your emotional inner chimp as having five times your strength. There- fore, you must learn to manage the chimp if you are to be the person that you want to be. A non smoker ;)


It is no use trying to control a chimp with willpower. I call this 'arm- wrestling the chimp'. We all learn at about the age of three that will power in not a very good way to do most things. It only works when the chimp is asleep, indifferent or agrees. When the chimp has a different agenda then willpower goes out of the window. So we must learn different ways to deal with the chimp.




I can see for myself that both time and patience gave my logical brain (human) the tools it needed to work effectively with my chimp. So obviously my chimp lost the constant here and now need to light up a cigarette, which obviously gave me the much needed peace I cherish. You find your own ways obviously, many use education, some NrT, some just saying NOPE is enough, we are all different.


I just wrote this out as I thought it might prove helpful to those out there who get frustrated with the constant inner mind wars that go on, instead of feeling weak I hope it helps you understand what is actually going on.


The book is The Chimp Paradox, by Dr Steve Peters. Not a stop smoking book, more of a control the inner thoughts book.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Knowing this now Action, wise after the event..lol. I can see now my reading and research got my chimp to agree so the mind games stopped. Mind you, it wasn't overnight! Was months and months of chipping away and reading my topic of interest.


I hope this post helps folk, I really do. At least help them realise that they are not crazy.

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Good post Sharon! I think this is why the best thing anyone can do when having a crave is to wait. The chimp gets distracted (in about three minutes) and the human can take over.

I agree Paul, just wait and let the human take over.


Loving your BBQ avatar!

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  • 6 years later...

Distract, Refocus, Regroup. 


So much of a bad habit is just that a habit. Associations, triggers and emotions. Quite often fight or flight will come into play. To build healthy (and different)  neural pathways we need to form different (and healthy habits) 


We HAVE to go about life differently as a non smoker. Manage the chimp and the rest will fall into place.


Great post @sharonsiff God bless. 

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10 hours ago, PeachFuzz said:

Quite often fight or flight will come into play. To build healthy (and different)  neural pathways we need to form different (and healthy habits) 


"Neural pathways"...I've posted this video before, and I'm going to post it again.  When we quit smoking, we literally rewired our brains.


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