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5 Out-of-the-Box Methods to Quit Smoking for Good

5 Out-of-the-Box Methods to Quit Smoking for Good

An estimated 50 million Americans smoke cigarettes (by some counts more), and every year without fail, giving up that vice is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, it’s not just a casual habit for most smokers – it’s a physical addiction that can be hard to quit cold turkey because the body craves it.

There are, of course, plenty of tried and true methods to cut back or quit smoking. Nicotine patches have been on the scene for close to 20 years now, while the newly popular e-cigarettes may help heavy smokers give up tobacco. Then there’s the cold turkey method, which many people claim is the only good way to quit an addiction completely.

But those methods don’t work for everyone, and it can be frustrating to hear the same old advice over and over again while you’re still struggling to quit smoking. If you’ve already tried quitting through conventional methods and haven’t found anything that’s worked, consider trying these out-of-the-box approaches. (Don’t say you weren’t warned.)

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Hypnosis

Aside from weight loss, smoking cessation is the most common reason people seek the help of a hypnotist. The idea is that smokers are guided into a relaxed, receptive state, and the hypnotist instructs them to focus on their motivation for quitting smoking or to picture themselves as non-smokers.

Smokers can also be taught to practice a self-hypnosis technique several times a week at home in order to stay on the right track.

Acupuncture

The ancient Chinese technique of acupuncture has been used to treat everything from back pain to insomnia, and now there’s some evidence that it may be able to help people quit smoking, too. According to a Reuters review of 14 international studies, participants who tried acupuncture were more than three times as likely to still be smoke-free six months to a year later.

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Acupuncturists insert needles at points believed to influence the organs engaged when smoking with the goal of decreasing participants’ desire to smoke. Acupuncture has proven to be a good stress-reliever, so this might be a particularly good approach for anyone who smokes when they’re stressed.

Have a Go-To Activity for Cravings

Here’s a method you don’t hear about every day: to quit smoking, a man in Omaha drew a picture of a cigarette every time he had a craving. He’s drawn hundreds of cigarettes, but he hasn’t smoked one in over six months and has been drawing them less since the cravings have diminished.

If sketching isn’t your thing, you might try another activity to keep your hands busy so you can’t hold a cigarette. Some people have had success holding onto a pen or a coin, or by chewing gum or using a toothpick. When you first quit smoking, you might also try to keep yourself busy by going to public places that don’t allow smoking when you experience a craving.

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Exercising

In the spirit of keeping busy to stave off the cravings, consider starting a regular exercise routine. If you’ve been a heavy smoker for a while now, taking up exercise may be tough, but start with shorter routines and work your way up. If you manage to stay cigarette-free and keep exercising, you’ll quickly be able to see your fitness improving, and you can use this as motivation.

Scare Yourself with Aging Software

We all know that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and can wreak havoc on your skin, but it can be hard to get motivated to quit when you don’t see any immediate negative consequences of your bad habit. But now thanks to visualization software, you can scare yourself straight by projecting what you will look like in a few years if you continue to smoke heavily.

According to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day will develop the wrinkles of a non-smoker 1.4 times older than them – meaning a 20-year-old smoker would look 28, a 30-year-old would look 42, and a 40-year-old would look 56. If you just need the right motivation to quit smoking, seeing yourself get old before your time on a computer screen may just do the trick.

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Keep in mind that you can pair any of these out-of-the-box methods with conventional methods, like attending a support group, using a nicotine patch, or working with a behavioral therapist. Everyone is different, so go with the approaches that you think will be most helpful for you – and if something’s not working, don’t be afraid to try a new method.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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