Should I dive write in, or I should first apologize for the clickbait style title? Fine, to clarify, I do not smoke and so no need for me to cease smoking. Granted, working in tech support does tend to push many to smoke, that is one reason I insist on commuting as much as possible. Cycling is cheaper than therapy and cigarettes. However, my intention was not to be clickbaity, just to be straight and to the point on my discussion.
A few weeks ago I wrote my thoughts on the Temple Grandin Documentary. In it, they show how she developed her "hug machine." Her inspiration was the compression chambers used on cattle to calm them during procedures. The concept is two walls that close tight around the body, compressing the individual. To not get too much into the science of it, this produces a calming of the nervous system. For those of us on the spectrum, and even for many off the spectrum, this helps alleviate stress, anxiety, nervousness brought on by life situations that we sometimes find overwhelming. (This is seen especially in those with hypersensitivity, which thankfully I am on the low end. However, loud noises outside my control or desire can grate on me. As can felt, but oddly not nails on a chalkboard.) While most autistics don't have a hug machine or anything of the sort, many use other compression methods. Weighted blankets are one of the more common, but a simple hug (though, tighter), is one of the easiest, not too mention cheapest. I don't tend to watch Grey's Anatomy, but one night as Casey had it on, I saw this scene. The doctor was overwhelmed by the patient's parents and her coworkers assisted in calming her through a hug. (Bonus: The scene goes into the science of it.)
Tonight (being 1:30 am on Saturday the 6th, and not actually when I post this), something sparked a thought. It may have been a writing prompt in the book as I skimmed, or it may have been something on TV. (Though I doubt the latter, as I am currently watching India vs Namibia in the Under 19 Cricket World Cup.) Whatever the case may be, the prompt that I stopped on only had one word, “Comfort.” Of all the things I could think to write, I wrote one word in response to start: “Pressure.” Then I pondered the possibility of using pressure to aide in smoking cessation. While the causes of smoking are not the exact same, I wonder if there is enough similarity to produce comparable results. Could we encourage people to seek out a hug instead of a cig? While this may not be optimal in a work environment (typically against HR policy to hug a coworker or customer...), it would be good to try with family or even friends. Yes, it may be awkward. However, a hug will generally not kill someone, unless it is being given by the Hulk. A cigarette will kill, both the one using and those around.
As I cannot receive hugs at work, I utilize two methods for coping with pressure. I use my cycling warmers. (Yes, part spandex.) The nice thing is it is under my clothes so unless I roll up my sleeves, it is not seen. The type I have is also made of part merino wool, so it is comfortable at all temperatures. (Unfortunately, I haven't seen Costco selling this specific one since I bought it a few years ago, which is too bad because it was $20 compared to normal $40+.) I also use a scarf to compress my neck (though, I minimize this method in public, as I think it freaks out my coworkers.) If you decide to put this to the test, would you report back to me please? Whether you use hugging, spandex, or a towel wrapped tight, whatever method of compression you use, please let me know if it does seem to help you when you have a smoking urge. Since anonymous posts are allowed, I would hope that would encourage more people to post their results than if I required names.
(Also, if you smoke, I would encourage you to get help. 1-800-QUIT-NOW is easiest to start.)