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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features December 17, 2014

1/19/2013 10:00:00 PM
STOP SMOKING: Benefits of quitting outweigh pleasures of puffing
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Special to the Courier

This is the second in a series of articles.

The previous article on stopping smoking was headlined: Commitment, support - and a plan - help smokers quit. And indeed you can.

More than 33 million Americans have kicked the habit ever since the Surgeon General's first report in 1964 on the health hazards from cigarette smoking.

And if they can do it, so can you.

The key to successful quitting (and staying quit) is believing that the benefits of not smoking far outweigh the momentary pleasures from smoking. That's why it is so important to make a list of your personal reasons for quitting. Putting them on index cards helps keep them handy, so you can continually review and update them.

Here are some additional rewards so consider:

• "Stopping smoking can add eight to 10 quality years to my life."

• "My complexion will improve - from pasty to a healthy glow."

• "I'll feel less awkward in social and business situations where smoking is restricted."

• "My sense of taste and smell will improve and I'll smell better to others."

There are no magic ways to quit smoking. There are, however, many effective techniques and programs to help you make the transition. Most smokers quit "cold turkey" while others prefer to begin the process by cutting down on their daily intake.

Most experts recommend the "cold turkey" approach as the more effective method. Others have successfully quit by replacing cigarettes with a new healthy lifestyle like an exercise program that includes brisk walking, jogging, bicycling or even yoga; a change of diet (less meat and more grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds) and/or a stress reduction program.

Others have quit by using one or more of a combination of gimmicks, such as: not carrying cigarettes with you; keeping low calorie oral substitutes handy (apples, carrot sticks, celery stalks and even cinnamon sticks); making cigarettes harder to get at; delaying lighting up; keeping a butt jar; or even keeping a smoking journal.

Nevertheless, it's important to remember that quitting is a long term process and not a simple, unconnected experience. So don't be in such a hurry, unless there are medical reasons necessitating more immediate attention.

Perhaps the best thing to do is try to reduce the stress in your life before undertaking this kind of project. High levels of stress are among the most common reasons for not succeeding. So choose a quit date that will be followed by a relatively stress-free period of at least three to four weeks.

One of the most effective stress reduction techniques is a deep-breathing exercise called diaphragmatic breathing. It goes as follows: 1) Exhale deeply, pulling in your belly. 2) Inhale slowly to the count of four as you expand your abdomen (it might help to visualize blowing up a balloon in your stomach). 3) Hold your breath for a few comfortable seconds. 4) Exhale.

If you feel dizzy, stop immediately and continue when composed.

When you've reached a state of deep relaxation, say the following affirmations either silently or aloud:

• "I release my resistance to wellness."

• "I release my fear and tension."

• "I forgive myself and others."

• "I am at peace with myself and the world."

• "Everyday I get closer to my goal of becoming anon-smoker."

Conclude by taking a deep breath, gently open your eyes and greet the day with love.

Good luck!

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Really That Makes Sense

Forget the hoodoo voodoo nonsense ! Quit because your killing yourself, your lungs are gasping for air, you'll probably end up with an oxygen tank so that you can breathe that you'll end up tripping over and killing yourself ! Says this happy exsmoker.....Most of all quit making excuses. remember, when you picked up the first one you knew they could kill you and they are!

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