Have you made quitting your smoking habit your New Year’s resolution? You aren’t alone. Reducing or quitting smoking is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions for Americans. Accomplishing this goal can be an uphill battle; but, if you want to learn how to quit smoking, these Mindful Health® tips can help see you through.
The Dangers of Smoking
According to a 2011 American Cancer Society study, 44 million American adults smoke cigarettes. Smoking causes a variety of health conditions like lung cancer, kidney cancer, and heart disease; yet, many Americans use smoking as a form of self-medication for depression, anxiety, and stress. This is problematic as nicotine, which releases dopamine, actually increases stress by tensing muscles, decreasing oxygen, and increasing blood pressure. A recent study published by the Surgeon General, also finds smoking to cause diabetes, facial deformities in babies born to smoking mothers (like clef lips), liver and colorectal cancer, to name a few.
Stop Smoking and Reduce Your Stress
Want to learn how to quit smoking and reduce your stress? Listed below are a few Mindful tips that can help you do just that.
- Stat dedicated. Before you kick the habit, be sure to have a concrete plan in mind. What method will you take to quit? Nicotine patches? Nicotine gum? Acupuncture? Therapy? There are many choices and options, so be sure to talk to your doctor and create a healthy plan together. You’ll be less likely to throw in the towel if you have thought ahead.
- Reduce your stress while you quit. Stress is one common reason people struggle to stay smoke-free. Nicotine withdrawal can cause headaches, restlessness, and anxiety, which can lead to stress and cause many people return to smoking. So, it’s important to recognize your stress triggers like rush hour traffic or family disputes. When you know what your stress triggers are you can then develop creative solutions to avoid them like carpooling or family counseling.
- Find other healthy coping habits. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay smoke-free is to find healthy stress coping habits. Having a hobby that you enjoy can help you reduce stress, whether it be volunteering to plant trees or playing recreational sports. Taking a break when your stressed is also important. However, instead of using the break to smoke try meditation or eating a healthy snack.
- Keep moving. Partaking in daily physical exercise can boost your brain and relieve depression. Consider going for a walk since fresh air is great for your lungs. If it’s too cold outside for a long walk consider doing yoga or tai chi exercises. These workouts are great for reduces stress, stretching stiff muscles, and boost endorphins.
- Have support. Giving up your smoking habit is never easy, but having support from your doctor, family, coworkers, or friends can help ease the process. If you need further motivating tips consider going to a local support group or an online community to help you give up smoking. There are many resources online that you may find useful too like: the American Cancer Society.
- Beware of secondhand and thirdhand smoke. Once you’ve kicked your smoking habit, be cautious of secondhand and even thirdhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is when you breathe in the smoke coming from another person’s cigarette. Thirdhand smoke is when you breathe in the smoke residue from clothes, furniture, walls, carpets, vehicles, hair, and even skin. Both secondhand and thirdhand smoke can be just as dangerous for your health and your stress, so beware.