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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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