Quit Smoking and Breathe Easy
Dennis Long*, a 43-year-old sales representative in Knoxville, TN, used multiple options during a recent quit attempt, and has been more successful for it. “I started out trying to use the [nicotine-replacement] patch, but it turned out that it wasn’t enough,” he says. Dennis discovered that the patch helped with the nicotine cravings, but did not address the psychological aspects of his habit. He enrolled in a company-sponsored smoking-cessation program that provided counseling and hotlines to call.
“I’ve always been a little bit stubborn,” Dennis notes, “but when I enlisted the help of other people, it was amazing how much easier the process became and how much more confident I was in my own ability to quit.”
In addition to these options, alternative treatments are popular for those who cannot or prefer not to take drugs. Susan Gayle, CH, RMT, believes that hypnosis is an effective method that can help people quit bad habits, including smoking. As a certified hypnotherapist, she teaches her clients techniques to help them change unwanted behaviors. One technique she suggests is to repeat a phrase each night before bed about your intention to be a non-smoker. “The last thing we tell ourselves before falling asleep will be repeated by our subconscious mind all night long,” Gayle says. “State everything in positive terms, such as ‘I am a non-smoker, now and forever,’ rather than ‘I will not smoke.’”
Gayle offers the reminder that quitting smoking is really about managing one craving at a time. It is not necessary to think about how you will get through your entire life as a non-smoker, only to get through each craving successfully. “You are choosing only not to have that next cigarette,” she says. “Focus on that and let the future take care of itself.” One way to do this is to focus on drinking a glass of water instead, suggests Gayle. “Envision that it is washing away the urge AND washing away all toxins from smoking,” she notes.
Other natural methods that have been successful in assisting quit attempts include acupuncture, meditation, yoga and exercise. Even snacking on red and purple grapes can reduce physical cravings, according to Gayle, and is good for keeping your hands and mouth busy with a low-calorie replacement for a cigarette.
Quit Smoking with Support
One thing that people often overlook in planning to quit smoking is building a support network of friends and family. They can help keep you accountable to your goals, and help keep you occupied with non-smoking activities.