The Next Step In Your Quest To
Stop Smoking - Prepare Yourself
Again and again I want to stress on the fact that quitting smoking is a task that can be achieved only if you are well and truly prepared. There is an old saying that says “well begun is half done,” and the same thing rings true in the matter of quitting as well.
So let us hit the different buttons that are part of the stop-smoking preparation.
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As I mentioned earlier, it is not just enough that you know that you are trying to quit smoking. All those who move around closely with you must be let into the affair.
This includes your family, your friends, your colleagues and -brace yourself for this- your boss as well.
Now, that might sound a bit strange, what the hell has your boss got to do with your attempt to quit smoking?
The answer is simple, if you tell your boss that you are trying to quit smoking it gives you one more reason to go for it with a resolute mind because no body would want to stand sheepishly in front of a boss and say something like, “well I kind of gave up I guess.”
Do NOT Take It Lightly…
Smoking is not a joke and quitting is even a more serious affair so it is best that you approach the problem with all the seriousness of the affair. It would be best if you prepared yourself mentally, emotionally and physically for the change.
And it doesn’t stop with that. You should also prepare your surroundings. Get rid of any thing and every thing that reminds you of smoking. This includes things like ash trays, packets of cigarettes.
It would also be a good idea to put up signs and reminders that smoking is injurious to health and that you are trying to quit smoking so that you really get the hang of it.
Try to come up with original stuff if you want. If you can make them funny then it is going to be all the better but these signs should also be morale boosters, they should make you feel good about what you are trying to do and should make you feel that it is worth the effort.
You could try messages like:
· “Only the BRAVE HEARTS can quit smoking!”
· “I said YES to life today when I said NO to Nicotine”
· “SMOKE has 5 letters...so does DEATH”
Or my personal favorite...
I said NO to my daily SMOKE
‘Cos this life of mine is not a joke
I want to live on like an oak
Smokers’ lives end early in coughs and chokes
This last bit is something I penned when I was trying to quit smoking. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s corny, but it proved to be very useful for me. I hope it will have the same effect on you. Now we have another important task to do and that is preparing our selves emotionally for the change that might take place.
The main thing is to get your mind of smoking and for that you have to find a substitute for it. There are many other things that you could practice when you get the urge to smoke. I will list out the things that you could do here. Then you could choose the ideal thing to do according to your life style.
Music is a wonderful way of getting your mind off that urge to smoke. If you have fixed times for getting a smoke like after meals or during the coffee break you could try playing something very soothing using a walk man and head phones so that you do not disturb others though you might attract attention.
Another thing you could do is that you could play music on your computer if you have a work station all to your self.
Music is a wonderful stress reliever. I do not want to emphasize on any particular type of music because tastes differ.
Meditation is also an excellent way of helping you to get better control over your mind. It is not a very great thing too. Any body can learn the art with a little bit of practice.
Now I hope you will pardon me if I digress a bit from our topic and give you a few essential points on how to meditate because this as I see it is the best method of helping you to gain better control over you mind and there by get over that urge to take in that puff of smoke.
The simplest method of mediation that you could practice by yourself would be to sit in a very comfortable position with your eyes closed. In the initial stages you may find your mind drifting but gradually you will learn to focus more and more.
The idea behind meditation is not to cut out all the forces around you but to become one with them. I have seen people plug their ears with cotton to shut out sounds. But that is not the purpose that we wish to achieve. On the contrary we should focus on the sounds around us.
Be aware of them, listen to them. First listen to the bigger sounds around you like the traffic or machines or even loud music from your neighbor’s apartment. Then listen to the softer sounds like the drone of the refrigerator, or the A/C. And then bring your attention to the sound of your own breathing.
If you can actually hear yourself breathing then you have arrived and this is what you have to keep doing.
It would be useful if you could try to focus on some inner picture that you could conjure up in your mind. By inner picture I mean an image that you can concentrate on for example the flame of a lighted candle or a single flower on a plant.
Try and see how long you can keep your mind focused on such an image. If the image blurs immediately and is replaced by something else, then you need to work on it. Gradually you will see that you can keep your mind focused on the same thing for more than ten minutes.
That means that you have arrived. Once you have reached this stage and have begun to practice it without fail, you will see that it can give you immense mental strength. Then the next time you get an urge to smoke, all you have to do is sit put where ever you are, close your eyes and meditate.
The urge will have vanished by the time you open your eyes. Meditation not only drives away the urge but gives you control over your mind.
Breathing exercises too can prove to be useful in controlling the urge to smoke. It is common knowledge that the human body takes in a lot of toxic substances, both through the air and through food and drink.
Apart from this, various toxins are also released in the body as a result of the various processes that are going on. These toxins have to be released on a continuous basis or else they will accumulate in the body with serious results.
One of the best ways of releasing these toxins is by means of exhaling while breathing. One funny fact is that most of do not breathe properly. Just take a look at the picture like this. With each breath that we take, we take in oxygen.
This oxygen is carried by the blood to every cell of the body and every cell must indeed get enough oxygen not just to survive but to remain healthy as well.
So it is imperative that we make an honest attempt to breathe properly. But first of course we have to make sure that we are breathing in unpolluted air. The time best for breathing exercises is early in the morning when the air is comparatively unpolluted.
Now what you have to do is this. Again, sit comfortably so that there is no strain to any part of your body. It is not imperative that you close your eyes, but I have always noticed that the exercise works better when the eyes are closed.
When you are ready, what you have to do is to breathe in deeply and slowly, and feel the fresh air filling up your lungs until it just can’t take any more. Conjure up images of the air encircling throughout your body and reaching every cell, literally bathing it with oxygen.
Of course it doesn’t happen that way but the image helps a lot. Then hold your breath for a few seconds and then very slowly exhale letting out all that foul air.
Again conjure up an image of all the toxins being released from your body. Every cell has become free of the burden it was carrying. Now pause for a second or two and again breathe in deeply, slowly letting your lungs fill up with all that good, clean, rejuvenating air.
Repeat this exercise at least ten times and take your time for it taking care not to rush through.
When you have done that part of the exercise it is time for the second part. Again sit with your eyes closed, but this time, keep one nostril closed with the help of your index finger. It is best to close the right nostril first and that too with your right index finger.
Now breathe in deeply and slowly through your left nostril keeping the right nostril closed. When you have held air for a second or two, release your right nostril and breathe out through it.
While you are breathing out conjure up an image of all the toxins being released form your head and the brain especially. And as you breathe in conjure up images of the clean air circulating though out your brain freeing it of all the worries and trouble and lightening it.
Repeat this exercise with the other nostril closed and in this way alternate between the nostrils at least ten times. The entire breathing exercise need not take more than ten minutes. But you will be surprised at how light hearted and free you will feel after the exercise.
Once you have practiced it for three or four mornings, you will be in a position to do the exercise each time you get the urge to smoke. The breathing exercise can easily become a substitute for the urge to take in that hourly
dose of nicotine.
Now, I want you to try something. It’s a little gory, I admit, so I’ll apologize for that right up front. Here’s what I want you to do next...
While you are doing this breathing exercise and feeling all those cells perk up, just think for a minute about what happens when you’re inhaling the hot, fuming, toxic, carcinogenic smoke from a cigarette.
Visualize the smoke circulating through your body and slowly killing all the cells that it comes in contact with. Watch as it slowly but surely pollutes your entire body, and then see yourself finally succumbing to it one day.
I know this experiment is tough to deal with, but it’s important that you understand the hideous crime that you commit against your body each time you smoke a cigarette, compared to the good you do your body by inhaling clean, natural oxygen.
Try Something Else
When you get the urge to smoke try using something else like a chewing-gum or a toffee.
Try things that have strong flavors like menthol, mint or spiced with something like cardamom. It is even better if you can get your hands on spices like cloves or cardamoms; they really help a lot though you could burn your mouth if you take in more that a teeny weenie bit.
You should not swallow these things immediately, but should bite into them and then let the taste linger in your mouth for a couple of minutes. You might experience numbness in your mouth but it helps take away the urge to smoke.
But please note that these things can be addictive too, so try alternating among chewing gum, candy, chocolate, spices and maybe even coffee.
Make a list of all the smokers around you who you know closely. And then what you have to do is STAY AWAY FROM THEM.
Unless they too are trying to quit, keep a very safe distance from them. If you had a habit of smoking with them at fixed times, take special care to steer very clear of them at those fixed times.
Don’t Put It Off
Most people - in fact, I should say all of us - have a habit of putting off things for another day. This habit is called procrastination and it’s the guardian angel of smoking. As long as we have this habit of procrastination, we are never going to stop.
The funny thing about procrastination is that we only tend to postpone unpleasant tasks. The good things in life we try to do as early as possible and the things that involve hard word, giving up comforts, or a little bit of pain, we try to put off till the last possible date.
The dangerous thing over here is that in the case of most smokers there no real last possible date.
Many people become serious about quitting after a first heart attack or a stroke. Don’t tell me that you too are waiting for a real warning like that. If we are waiting for a doctor’s warning, then we can’t be too far from falling terminally ill. There is absolutely no sense in putting it off.
There is a law in Physics that was put forward by Sir Isaac Newton. It states that a body continues to be in a state of rest or of uniform motion until an external force is applied. This same rule is true in the case of smoking as well.
Smoking is not a habit that can die a natural death all of a sudden. It is something that has to be worked on. It is something that involves a lot of restraint and control. The only cases in which I have seen a smoker stop at one go is when the doctor shook his head and said “I’m sorry but you have only a few months left to live.”
Come on get a grip on your self. You are much stronger than you think. So why do you have to postpone it any further. There is no better day than today. It is not something that you have to wait till New Year to do as a part of your New Year resolutions. Do it today itself and you can increase your chances of succeeding and …gulp…surviving.
Just think about it for a minute. Did you really want to become a smoker? Was that really your ambition as a child, to grow up into a smoker? Chances are that you became a smoker as a result of habit. Look at yourself. You have a respectable job and you have people who you care about and who care about you.
If one of your friends were to approach you with a problem and ask you to think of the most sensible decision wouldn’t you do it for them? Now if you would do that for a friend, shouldn’t you be able to do it for you as well?
If you are capable of taking sensible decisions for others don’t you owe it to yourself to take sensible decisions as far as your health is concerned?
Of course you do, but then what is stopping you?
The Voice Within
Well, I have news for you.
You might not believe this but the fact is that you always wanted to stop smoking. Oh yes you did. You do not need any body to tell you what is good for you and what is not. Deep down inside, a plaintive voice has been calling out to you to quit and you have been heeding it but you just haven’t done anything about it now.
You want to know why that happens. It is because you have convinced your self that you will stop smoking at a later date. This promise false though it might be was enough to subdue that inner voice. The voice cried out and the response it got was...
“Well I didn’t say that I was not going to stop smoking did I? Just give me the time and I will do it. I know what is good for me so don’t nag.”
And that silences the inner voice. But that later date never comes. Come on who are we trying to fool. It’s just a way of convincing yourself that you can stop if you want but certain external factors are hindering your efforts.
You can start the quitting process by doing some paper work again. You have to have a very clear idea about why you want to quit and the best way to find out why is to sit down with a piece of paper and write down why you exactly want to quit.
You list should include things like:
· To save your self from the hazards of smoking
· To gain better control over your life
· To increase your self esteem
· To set a good example to others, especially children, because if you smoke there is a very good chance that they too will become a smoker
But the most important point that you should put down is that you should try and quit in order to make it healthier and safer for those who live around you especially your friends and family. Hey come on, you really owe it to them. I would like to take another moment off to digress and talk about second hand smoking.
Second Hand Smoking
The funny thing about second hand smoking is that most smokers don’t even know that something like second hand smoking exists. It is also referred to as passive smoking.
Second hand smoking is the process by which another person smokes but the toxic smoke is also inhaled and affects those who move along with the active smoker. The sad thing about this is that second hand smoking is just as harmful as active smoking.
So the next time you smoke in the company of other people you have to be well aware of the fact that you are not just putting your self in danger but the same amount of danger is being passed on to your loved ones as well; a very strange gift indeed to pass on to your loved ones.
So if not for your self, at least for your loved ones you ought to try and give up the habit.
So, though I included the reason of passive smoking at the end of the list, it should be the most important reason for you to stop smoking.
Isn’t it a very selfish way of existing without bothering about the safety and well being of others just because you want to indulge in a pleasure of yours?
The next thing you have to do is that you have to fix the day when you want to start quitting and write is down as well. But as I mentioned earlier, it should not be very far away. The very next day is as good a bet as any other day. And may I ask you, why not today itself?
There is still a little more paper work to be done. It would be a good idea to write down any other occasions when you had tried to quit smoking earlier but did not succeed. Try and find out the reasons while you failed and write them down as well.
These reasons are what we call pitfalls and it would be best to be extremely wary of these pitfalls and steer clear of them.
That’s enough paper work for the day. But do not throw away this bit of paper but try and keep it where you can see it always. You could try pinning it in your work station or even on your bathroom wall.
Admit That You Are Addicted
Go on, face it like a man, (or a woman) say it and realize how much it hurts. If you can do that much then the battle is half won. Most smokers make a fatal mistake here. They keep on telling themselves that can break off as easily as snapping their fingers when they really can’t.
They try to fool themselves and you know why?
It is because they feel sort of weak and submissive when they admit that they cannot do with out that hourly puff. So they do not admit it. They just say something like,
· “I need something to soothe my nerves,” or
· “It helps me think better,” or
· “I need to unwind.”
Well, it sounds very cool but what such people do not understand is that what they are really saying is that they cannot function well by themselves.
They are actually admitting that their brains are incapable of carrying out those routine activities any more without the help of an external agency. It’s all the same thing isn’t it. And personally I think it is much better to admit that they are simply addicted to smoking.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is no need to feel inferior. Again take a look at the statistics and see all those people who have become addicted to smoking. But unlike those people you are going to do something about it.
Tobacco is like a colossal octopus. Once it gets its grip around you, then you are done for. It swiftly tightens its tentacles around you and before you know it, you are fully and completely in its grip and you cannot even breathe without its permission. You and only you can save your self.
That is why I said that the first thing you have to do is you have to take a look at your self in the mirror. Look at your self for a minute and face the truth. Let is sink in slowly and maybe painfully.
Notice the tentacles of the octopus around you. Then you can admit to yourself that you have indeed become a slave to the master that is tobacco.
Now that is not a nice thought at all is it? You with all your remarkable faculties, abilities and potential have actually become a slave to something so gross! You who have never bowed your head before any one have actually been taken by this gruesome monster.
Grr…the thought is going to be infuriating. But you have to face it, you have to accept it only then can you muster up enough strength to fight back.
And please take heed; we are not talking about any ordinary battle over here. We are talking about fighting to win and win is what we are going to do that this manual is all you are going to need for that ultimate victory.
All Kinds of Cigarettes Are Bad
Some people think that the number of cigarettes one smokes decides on the harm that is caused but that is not true. Smoking any number of cigarettes is harmful. Of course the harm is increased when the number of cigarettes is increased but that does not mean that a person who smokes only one or two cigarettes a day is free from danger.
Similarly, let us get this straight once and for all, all kinds of cigarettes are harmful to health whether filtered or not, whether it contains menthol or not, all of them are terrible harmful to your lungs and every other part of your body that the toxic smoke touches.
So do not go about believing that just because you have a different smoking pattern from most smokers you are going to get away Scot free.
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is an all natural way of quitting which does not include nicotine substitutes like nicotine gums, sprays, patches, etc.
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