You can quit smoking

Special to the Herald-LeaderSeptember 22, 2013 

Here are seven steps to help you quit smoking.

Take a deep breath: Your body already knows how to breathe deeply. Focus a few times a day on taking deep, slow breaths. You'll instantly feel more calm, alert and focused. Here's a little tip called Nickel Breathing: inhale fully for 5 seconds, exhale slowly for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times. As you breathe, imagine your lungs filling with clean, pure air.

Practice courage: A lot of fear can strike people when they think about quitting tobacco — fear of failure, weight gain, stress — what's your fear? Acknowledge the fear and then refocus your thoughts to one powerful word, courage. Ask yourself what would it take for you to become tobacco free? Unleash your courage; you can do hard things.

Gather support (and use it): There are a lot of powerful resources out there to help you quit tobacco; Nicotine Replacement Therapies (patch, gum, lozenge) help to take the edge off the cravings and double your chances of quitting. Get additional support from ex-smokers, friends, a health coach or even a tobacco free app on your phone like MyQuit Coach or QuitNow.

Pay attention to your cravings: Your craving is not the enemy! Instead of trying to instantly distract yourself from feeling the craving, try this: Pause, take a breath and see if you can feel the sensation of the craving in your body, then ask yourself, how can I positively respond to myself and this craving? Maybe it's taking a walk, calling a friend, using your nicotine replacement therapy, pausing for a breath, going to bed early, listening to your favorite music. Start seeing your craving as an invitation and opportunity to respond in a way that brings you more ease and well being.

Drink (lots) more H2O: Drinking a big glass of water helps remove toxins, hydrate your cells, and is a great craving-buster. By keeping yourself hydrated, you're able to think more clearly and you'll feel better overall. For an extra zip, try tossing in some fresh fruit, infusing your water with herbal tea or looking up naturally flavored water recipes online. The possibilities are endless!

Focus on today: Don't worry about tomorrow or forever, simply stay with today, right here in the now. Don't get lost in ruminations of never smoking again. Bring your mind back to this moment and why you quit tobacco in the first place. Don't let feelings of worry about tomorrow intimidate you today.

Figure out how you want to feel: What feelings are you avoiding? What feelings are you seeking? Many people look to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to feel more calm, focused, relaxed, connected. What are you looking for? When you know how you want to feel, you can begin to meet your own needs and create your own calm. It's part of taking your power back!

Amy Rodquist is a certified health coach and tobacco specialist at UK Health & Wellness. Amy Rodquist is a certified health coach and tobacco specialist at UK Health & Wellness.

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