Terssing and Addiction


 

How Addiction Works

Any psychologist can tell you that there are three kinds of addiction: physical, behavioral, and psychological.

What any smoker can tell you is that when you try to quit, they have to deal with three kinds of challenges: withdrawal symptoms, habits, and negative feelings.

Withdrawal symptoms come from physical addiction. Your body and brain get used to nicotine, and when you cut off the supply they start to get unhappy. It’s the most popular image of why quitting is hard: your hands are shaky, you feel sweaty and anxious, your body aches.[1] It’s miserable.

But it also fades. Nicotine cravings usually last between 2 and 5 minutes. If withdrawal were the only barrier to quitting, most of us would probably succeed on our first try.

Instead, the reason smoking can be so hard to kick is the psychological and behavioral sides of addiction.[2] Smoking fills a role in our lives. On the one hand, it gets built into our habits and routines: we have a cigarette after dinner, we pull out our vape on the walk to work. We get used to it, and now every time we have dinner, it feels wrong not to smoke. That’s the “behavioral” side.

On the other hand, there’s the “psychological” aspect. This is the part that’s about feelings: feeling stressed, feeling unhappy, feeling lonely, and wanting to cope with those feelings by smoking. In fact, those feelings are a leading cause of relapse.[3]

To overcome addiction, you’ll need to find ways to handle all three aspects of it. We already talked about the physical part, so let’s zoom in on the psychological part of smoking.

Boredom, or, What To Do Instead of Smoking

Here’s a cool piece of science. If you train people to pay close attention to what smoking feels like—how it tastes, how it smells, how it makes their body feel—they quickly start liking it less and less. It gets easier to quit. The same thing happens with alcohol: sure, the initial rush is nice, but after that it doesn’t take long for us to start feeling fuzzy-headed, tense, heavy, and tired. Smoking tends leaves people anxious and stressed.[4]

What that means is that people smoke absent-mindedly. We smoke because we’re used to it. Because it used to feel good. Because we associate smoking with certain times, places, activities, and people.

For a lot of us, we smoke just because we’re bored.[5] In a huge study,[6] boredom turned out to be one of the leading causes of relapse. It’s a powerful psychological trigger: with nothing else to do, we turn to what's simple and familiar.

And that shows us what to do about it, and how Terss can help.

Terssing and Smoking

The American Psychological Association keeps a list of science-backed advice  for smokers. Much of the list is about replacing the role that smoking fills in your life. They quote Robert Shipley, president of QuitSmart and Director of Duke University’s Stop Smoking Clinic.

  • “We say that the habit is strong, but it's dumb. If you change some part of it you won't get as strong an urge because the habit is so tied to specific cues that have been repeatedly paired with smoking.”

That’s the first way terss can help. Instead of needing to abandon every routine, or weaken every habit, you can pair the habits you love with something new. Change the outcome, not the trigger. The APA goes on,

  • “Successful tobacco cessation requires people to stop seeing themselves as smokers or users of tobacco. Shipley encourages them to ‘fake it till you make it’ and view themselves as calm, comfortable nonsmokers through such relaxation techniques as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and physical exercise.”

Deep breathing, of course, is exactly what the Terss is designed for. Switching from smoking to terssing is just the kind of change the APA is talking about.

Other major guides offer similar advice: find new ways to deal with boredom and stress. Just the roles Terss made built for.

Then there’s the science. Most smokers worry that quitting will take away a coping mechanism they depend on.[7] Replacing smoking with another calming, pleasurable habit takes that worry away. At the same time, one major predictor of successful quitting is having a clear plan.[8] There’s no plan that’s clearer, or more actionable, than to live your life just the way you were. All terssing does is replace your cigarettes; no other changes needed.

Terssing and Replacing

So, deep breathing helps us stop smoking, and the Terss helps with deep breathing—it encourages the multi-stage technique of pranayama, and it helps us get that high during the pause in the middle of each breath.

The Terss is also a comforting substitute for your cigarettes, or your vape, or your pipe or cigar. The Terss was designed, not to help you quit smoking, but to replace smoking in your life, your habits, and your daily routines. It feels like a cigarette in your fingers or against your lips, it’s small, light, and easy to carry. In short: a Terss is the perfect tool to pull out any time you're craving.

And that means that you won’t be trying to ditch some habits and build new ones. You’ll be relying on the same habits—when to smoke, where to smoke, with whom—but you won’t be smoking. You’ll be enjoying the healthy, smoke-free, liberating feeling of terssing high.

In more scientific terms, our goal was to help smokers handle the behavioral and psychological sides of their addiction. We can make sure that when you get the urge to pull out a cigarette, you have a solid, reliable way of satisfying it. You pull out your Terss instead. The action is familiar, the setting is familiar, and the sensation is familiar. Over time, the deep breathing becomes familiar too. And finally, you’ve replaced smoking with something new. Something better. Something you can take advantage of.

References

Brewer, J. A., Mallik, S., Babuscio, T. A., Nich, C., Johnson, H. E., Deleone, C. M., ... & Rounsaville, B. J. (2011). Mindfulness training for smoking cessation: results from a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 119(1-2), 72-80.

Cosci, F., Pistelli, F., Lazzarini, N., & Carrozzi, L. (2011). Nicotine dependence and psychological distress: outcomes and clinical implications in smoking cessation. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 4, 119.

De Vries, H., Eggers, S. M., & Bolman, C. (2013). The role of action planning and plan enactment for smoking cessation. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1-11.

Kerr, S., Woods, C., Knussen, C., Watson, H., & Hunter, R. (2013). Breaking the habit: a qualitative exploration of barriers and facilitators to smoking cessation in people with enduring mental health problems. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1-12.

Martínez-Vispo, C., Senra, C., López-Durán, A., del Río, E. F., & Becoña, E. (2019). Boredom susceptibility as predictor of smoking cessation outcomes: Sex differences. Personality and Individual Differences, 146, 130-135.

McLaughlin, I., Dani, J. A., & De Biasi, M. (2015). Nicotine withdrawal. The Neuropharmacology of Nicotine Dependence, 99-123.

Twyman, L., Bonevski, B., Paul, C., & Bryant, J. (2014). Perceived barriers to smoking cessation in selected vulnerable groups: a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative literature. BMJ Open, 4(12).

 

[1] McLaughlin, Dani, and Biasi (2015).

[2] Kerr et al. (2013).

[3] Cosci et al. (2011).

[4] Brewer et al. (2011).

[5] Martinez-Vispo et al. (2019).

[6] Twyman et al. (2014).

[7] Kerr et al. (2013).

[8] De Vries et al. (2013).

[9] Kwit

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