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Report on Self Managed Behaviour Modification Programme

Essay by   •  June 26, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,837 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,002 Views

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Smoking is bad. It is well publicised by the medical and healthcare community as well as governmental and non-governmental agencies. It is considered a disease very much like any other infectious diseases. It is an epidemic (Zarihah, 2007).

Not only does smoking harm the health of the smokers, it is also an expensive lifestyle to maintain. Due to the fact that heavy smokers are more likely to suffer from lifestyles diseases such as cardiovascular and pulmonary related diseases as well as diabetes at an earlier age, medical costs naturally will be higher. Younger death reduces the number of productive populations. In the micro scale, the taxation of cigarettes increases steadily over the years making it to be more and more expensive to keep the habit.

Discouraging smoking has been the long running programme of the Ministry of Health in Malaysia. The government implements strict rules barring smoking in many public areas. Advertisement and promotion of cigarettes are curtailed. There is no mass scale publicity. The idea is to reduce the exposure of cigarettes to the younger generation and at the same time, reduces the opportunity for smokers to light up. The third prong of attack from the government's strategy is the strong messages of the ill effects of smoking being publicised regularly.

Despite all these, the number of smokers among the younger generation increases. There is a flip side to often dark and negatively portrayed effects of smoking. The reasons for someone to pick up smoking may no longer be inducement from advertising. Advertising is non-existence. There are valid psychological reasons for smokers to continue or someone to start smoking. One can ask any smoker and they will likely be able to tell you the hazards of smoking. Yet, they still smoke. It is more of a psychological need.

The reason for continued smoking is more of a divergent or as a distraction. Writing from personal experience, smoking, to me, is a form of relaxation. We want something to take our mind off the daily stress and pressure. We want something to make us happy for a while. In Freudian terms, it is a reaction formation.

It is also a way of showing our rebellious streak. There are five vices, according to the Chinese saying - womanising, gambling, drinking, loitering and smoking. All these are things people do to be naughty. In a sense, smoking is my way of telling the world that I want to be me; for a while, at least, instead of toeing the line all the time.

As a smoker, we know it is bad but we want to be bad... at least momentarily during that few minutes of heavenly puffs. Again, in Freudian Psychology, we deny, rationalise and react to defend our own anxieties.

However bad it sounded, I have tried to stop smoking at various times in my adult life with varying degree of success. It could have been due to poor implementations of the programme, lack of motivation or timing. It may have happened during some particularly trying times that it was impossible to take on any behaviour modifications.

In this assignment, I have reasons to believe that the three factors above are minimised. With new found knowledge, the programme ought to be more effective and well implemented. The motivation is there because I want to prove my understanding of the subject. Lastly, timing is right as there are no particularly unfavourable events happening now. Career, family and personal plans are stable and moving along fine.

Despite the enthusiasm, I am inclined to be realistic. Instead of quitting totally, my plan involves reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day. The programme would have been a success if I could reduce the average amount from 10 sticks to five at the end of the programme.


Target Behaviour and Functional Analysis

The target behaviour to be modified is smoking. I have been smoking for about 25 years. At various times, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day ranges from seven to 20. Currently, I am smoking about ten cigarettes a day. This is estimated from the purchasing pattern. Every 56 hours or so, I buy a pack of 20.

The motivation to smoke stems from the internal desire to be rebellious. I find smoking to be relaxing and helps take my mind off the daily grind. At other specific times, such as after a meal or having a good and pleasant time, I light up to complete the enjoyment. The urge to smoke spontaneously seldom happens. There are times when I need to distract myself from a tedious piece of task; I find the urge to smoke.

Despite that, I do feel guilty when I smoke. I am aware of the fact that it is bad for my health and I should not be setting this bad example for my children. Also, it is financially taxing. I could do with more money to spend on my children. I also tend to waste. I seldom finish one whole cigarette. I usually snub out one-third of each stick. At times when it is pressing, I smoke more and that make me feel lousy. It is like an overdose and it takes time to regain my sobriety but at the same time, the urge to chain smoke persists.

However, I find that I could control the urge. I can will myself not to light up. I just have to tell myself that I just had one or to distract myself with something more pleasant like reading something light. It works too when I needed to get away from something tedious by doing something fun such as playing games (on the PC). When I really need to finish a tedious task and do not want to smoke to relax (which means taking time off work), I usually drink or snack on something that does not agree with cigarette taste. Carbonated drink does the trick well. So does dried and strong smelling food such as dried cuttlefish.

In short, my smoking habit can be curtailed by regimented procedure and appropriate inducement. The factors that encourage smoking are escapism from tedious tasks and the need to express bad behaviour in a socially acceptable way. I sometimes smoke to relax and to complete a pleasant experience. The factors that discourage my smoking are finance and the welfare of my children. Bad reactions such as nasty tastes and feeling sick also sway me away from smoking.

Objective and Baseline

The objective is to reduce the intake by half at the end of the programme. This is a realistic objective. It is achievable and not too drastic as to cause unnecessary mental stress.

Currently, I am smoking about ten cigarettes



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