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Can't quit smoking? It might be to do with how sad you are

Sadness and Cigarettes

Our moods and emotions play a powerful role in our behavioral choices and health.

Extensive studies show that sadness is related to tobacco use, with people wanting to puff away more frequently while being sad.

This new finding suggests smoking may not just be a habit, but deeply entwined with our emotions, and can be beneficial for future anti-smoking programs.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Can't quit smoking? It might be to do with how sad you are

Can't quit smoking? It might be to do with how sad you are

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/smoking-and-sadness

bigthink.com

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Key Idea

Sadness and Cigarettes

Our moods and emotions play a powerful role in our behavioral choices and health.

Extensive studies show that sadness is related to tobacco use, with people wanting to puff away more frequently while being sad.

This new finding suggests smoking may not just be a habit, but deeply entwined with our emotions, and can be beneficial for future anti-smoking programs.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Emotions

They are basal responses that begin in the subcortical areas of the brain responsible for producing biochemical reactions to environmental stimuli that have a direct impact on our physical state.&n...

Feelings

Feelings are preceded by emotions and tend to be our reactions to them. Emotions are a more generalized experience across humans, but feelings are more subjective and influenced by our personal experiences and interpretations, thus they are harder to measure.

Negative Emotions

They can be defined as unpleasant or unhappy emotions evoked in individuals to express a negative effect towards something.

Although some are labeled negative, all emotions are normal to the human experience. And it’s important to understand when and why negative emotions might arise, and develop positive behaviors to address them.

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Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied. 

Self-control
Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

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Dealing with intrusive thoughts
While we can’t control the feelings and thoughts that pop into our heads, we can control what we do with them.

But we don't have to fight them, we just have to find better methods to handle t...

The internal trigger

Look for the discomfort that comes before the distraction.

Focus on the internal trigger that precedes the unwanted behavior, like feeling anxious, having a craving, feeling restless, or thinking you are incompetent.

Write down the trigger

Write down the trigger, the time of day, what you were doing, and how you felt when you noticed the internal trigger that led to the distracting behavior.

The better we are at noticing the behavior, the better we’ll be at managing it over time.

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.
Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Self-distancing

The act of increasing the psychological distance from your own subjective perspective when assessing events that you experience.

Is an external perspective that you can use when th...

Benefits of self-distancing
  • It can help people cope with difficult events from their past.
  • It can  help people deal with socially distressful situations.
  • Useful because of our tendency to display high levels of wise reasoning when we give advice to others, but not when we decide how to act for ourselves.
  • It reduces decisional biases and improves decision-making during times of information overload.
How to create self-distance
  • Use self-distancing language:  refer to yourself in the second or third-person.
  • Try to view the situation from an alternative viewpoint, that is different from your own.
  • Try to visualize the perspective of  someone you admire, and then ask yourself what would they do in that situation.
  • Try expressive writing: write about your thoughts and feelings when you’re trying to analyze an event that you’ve experienced.
Changing our minds
Changing our minds

While most of us generally agree on the fact that individuals do not really change their mind, or at least not that easily, recent research has shown that this is quite inaccurate.

...

The "psychological immune system"

We rationalize the things we feel stuck with.

It seems like we free up mental space to get on with our lives by deciding things are not so bad, after all.

Coping with changes

Facing and eventually coping successfully with changes can make people go through all kind of emotions that finally lead to them changing their mind, in order to better adjust to the new situations.

Thing that is perfectly normal, as it is easier to live at peace with your current life than oppose it endlessly and know only frustration.

Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Why we choose comfort food

Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad. 

But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.

Comfort food

We associate comfort food with positive memories.

Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.

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Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias is a predictable pattern of mental errors where we misperceive reality and move away from the most likely way of reaching our goals.

These mental blind spots...

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping. Unconscious bias often leads to discrimination, be it deliberate or unintentional.

Unconscious bias is different from cognitive biases. Cognitive biases relate to our brains' particular wiring, while unconscious bias refers to perceptions between different groups and are specific to different societies.

How to Reduce Unconscious Bias
  • Recognise that the unconscious bias is a systemic issue. Internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.
  • There is no shame or guilt in unconscious bias. Unconscious bias stems from our tendency to categorise people into social groups and often doesn't match our conscious values.
  • It takes a series of conversations and interventions to prevent and protect against unconscious bias.
Swearing
Swearing is usually regarded as simply lazy language or an abusive lapse in civility.

New research reveals that profanity has many positive virtues, from promoting trust and teamwork in the office t...

Swearing has an emotional impact

There’s great research coming out that says that jocular abuse, particularly swearing among friends, is a strong signal of the degree of trust that those friends share.

You’re demonstrating that you have a sophisticated theory of mind about the person that you’re talking to and that you understand their mental model.

Women swear just as much as men

Attitudinal surveys show that both men and women tend to judge women’s swearing much more harshly.

For example, when women with breast cancer or arthritis swear as a result of their condition, they’re much more likely to lose friends, particularly female friends. Whereas men who swear about conditions like testicular cancer tend to bond more closely with other men using the same vocabulary.