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10 Tips To Help Smokers To Quit Cigarettes

10 Tips To Help Smokers To Quit Cigarettes

Six million people will die before 2016 is over. Cancer.org reported that 30% of those numbers will be from cancer-related diseases. Scary, isn’t it? It’s especially horrifying if you’ve spent the last few years of your life smoking two packs a day, every day.

Heck, I used to smoke a pack a day – which isn’t as bad… if it weren’t for my mom smoking two packs a day while she carried me in her belly. I was born with asthma and a whole host of other trials. Heck, I didn’t even experience life until I was 2 – my first 2 years on Earth were inside various hospitals.

I’ve been smoking since I was born. So, yeah, quitting is hard. BUT, through trials and errors, and putting myself through sheer hell for the benefit of others, I’ve managed to cut back to six cigarettes a day. How? By rewiring the brain, which believes anything that makes you happy is good for you. The brain doesn’t understand good from bad. Prime example: alcohol.

One thing I actually cannot get rid of is the orgasmic joys of that first cigarette in the morning. You know what I’m talking about, right? (Yeah, you know.) This is because nicotine gives us a temporary (but addictive) high.

Here are several ways to curb that high.

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1. Stand Up And Shout

The biggest way to make sure something never goes away, is to be silent about it. Bring the issue to light. Grow the proverbial balls and try to make a difference for yourself, and others suffering, by confiding in people. A research firm Stollznow did a study that found two thirds of people who talked to others about quitting, felt like smoking less.

2. Avoid Triggers

Avoiding triggers helps us to not destroy ourselves. One of my triggers is coffee – after a few cups of Joe, I’m fixing for a cigarette like homeless people need food. If we stay away from triggers, we’ll sidestep that gut instinct and unracking nerve to light up. Sometimes it’s as simple as returning your mind’s frequency. Other times, it means not going out with certain friends or colleagues.

Now, what I want you to do is this: throw out all your cigarette packs, ashtrays, lighters. Then wash your clothes; put them in bags, and wash them a bag at a time. Shampoo-clean your drapes, carpet, and steam your furniture clean. We want to exterminate the smell of smoke.

3. Cold Turkey

You may or may not have heard horror stories about the benefits of quitting cold turkey. The power of the mind’s will and human spirit is a tremendous feat, and no small matter. A number of people have pledged to themselves to quit, and they did. This flies smack in the face of “medical experts” who advise you to never go cold turkey. (Then again, if medical experts told you to down a mickey of Jack Daniels, in less than 5 minutes, would you?)

Surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about you, and want you to quit smoking (and to live a happy, long life, hopefully) is key here. Warm friends. Good family. People who make you smile. There’s nothing like seeing the motivation reminders about why you’re doing something, each and every day.

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4. Make A Journal

How much time have you put into a crave journal? In the same vein as budget tracking, in your crave journal you list all the times you wanted to smoke throughout the day; who you were with, where you were, what you were doing.

It’s as simple as being vigilant about note-keeping, and here’s why: At week’s end, you’re giving yourself a chance to see what fires off your triggers and makes you crave. Giving you a hands-on experience to see which people/places keep you from kicking the habit.

5. Why You’re A Fool For Smoking

For measuring our best chances to quit, it’s imperative we look at exactly why we smoke. You can’t put out a fire without knowing where it is. Otherwise, nothing will be done: smoking is water. So, what is the fire? For many people (myself included), smoking (whether it’s weed or cigs) is a way to deal with stress, loneliness, fear, and depression.

Many people don’t realize the full-on, real-life benefits of alternate lifestyle methods. Some of them were beaten over our head for years until they were accepted and validated: vipassana meditation, sensory relaxation strategies, and Buteyko exercises.

6. The Lazy Man’s 10-Minute Exercise

Medical experts try pounding into our brain (again and again) that just ten minutes of exercise can significantly help us out – smokers and non-alike. The benefits of exercise have been chewed to death by now, for good reason.

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They found that brain activity changes, triggered by exercise, could help reduce cigarette cravings. Who’s getting hurt from exercising? I personally surrender my joints to a five minute daily round of jumping jacks, seal jacks, and “boxer hops”.

7. Nicorette Gum

I’ve used Nicorette gum now and then (as in, I bought 13 boxes at once and still have a hefty supply of gum), and can say it does work. For me, the nicotine is a lot more prominent in gum than in cigarettes which, believe it or not, has me smoking less. (Remember I used to smoke 2 packs a day.)

8. E-Cigarettes

Some people say e-cigarettes filled with e-liquid can help wean smokers off tobacco, at little risk to their health. For others, both of those assertions are false.

You’ve heard of these – some people say e-cigarettes help wean smokers off tobacco, others say it doesn’t work at all. But the U.S. Surgeon General often cites the combustive chemicals in the cigarette, not the nicotine itself in cigarettes or the e-liquid in e-cigarettes, is responsible for a majority of smoking-related illnesses and diseases. (After all, do you know how many chemicals are in one cigarette?)

Other medically-proven (University of Geneva’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine) cigarette-stopping measures include inhalers, nasal spray, and lozenges.

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9. How To Kill Withdrawal Symptoms

Everybody has them. A few commons ones are:

  • Irritability: can last less than a month. Take hot baths, exercise, anything to use up that energy.
  • Exhaustion: lasts less than a month. Take power naps. Weariness is nothing to take lightly.
  • Hunger: lasts a few months or more. Water helps curb our appetite and replenishes our system.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety, on all levels, is something that needs to be treated by a professional. To help until then, though: consider Buteyko breathing.

10. Quitline

“There’s an app for that” is so funny because it’s true. Thankfully, there are several apps that can help you quit by putting you in touch with quitline coaches. For those times, you need someone to talk to, and it feels like there’s nobody out there who truly understands.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, quitting the cancer stick isn’t easy, but it is do-able. Just be sure to keep a few things in mind: you can do this. You can do this. You will do this. You must do this. For the safety of yourself, your children, and everyone who wants you in their lives.

Featured photo credit: comfreak via pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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