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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 August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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