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The following is an Editorial Resource from YourTotalHealth.

quit smokingHow do I manage anxiety while trying to phase out smoking?

quit smokingGoing in stages and phasing out is a great plan. You can manage your stress by doing two things. One is to take 10 deep breaths through your nose with your mouth closed. As you inhale, think calming, peaceful thoughts, and on the exhale, breathe out your tension and negative thoughts. While breathing, try and figure out what you are feeling in your body. Pinpoint where the sensation of anxiety is, then identify the thought that is causing it. If your thought revolves around not having a cigarette, relax yourself by saying, "I am in control of my body and health, I am fine." While you are smoking less, your brain is fighting back, saying ”Hey, where's my nicotine?" The urges that you feel can be many: headaches, irritability, insomnia, anger and anxiety are all normal. Nicotine gum can help with that part; you just focus on getting healthier. You can do it.

, BeWell expert

quit smokingI have a lot of family and friends who smoke. How can I help them stop?

quit smokingThe short answer is that it is very difficult, and often when people are approached directly by others they get defensive and hurt—something you wish to avoid. In our research on the attitudes smokers have toward tobacco, the vast majority already know that it is unhealthy and increases their risk for cancer and other diseases. So bringing up more statistics and health info is often met with resistance and annoyance.
Depending on the friend or relative, one way to breech this topic is to ask questions related to "Why do you smoke?" The point of the question is not to condemn or devalue the person, just to engage in a discussion as to why they do what they do—without judgment. Explore why they do it, what they gain from it and whether they worry about it. Seek to understand, not to judge. A nicotine addiction is very difficult to kick, so the process of asking questions and engaging in a discussion where they explore and discuss their thoughts helps them to think more about the behavior. It may get them to move from not even considering quitting, to a point where they think, "Maybe I should quit." If you accomplish this, you are definitely making headway. Over time, work with them (without condemnation) and see if you can get them to think about quitting. Then, offer your support as a friend or family member to help them quit—believe me, having support is important. There are plenty of resources available to help them. A few well-placed how-to-quit smoking brochures around the house never hurt anyone either.

, BeWell expert

quit smokingI've been a smoker for a long time though I have cut back significantly. I still find exercising difficult. What kind of exercises should I try?

quit smoking Before starting any exercise program, it is good to visit your doctor to make sure that you are in condition to begin a program and that there are no potential problems. When it comes to exercise, running is often too much for many people. It can cause injury, and frankly isn't for everyone. Walking can be far more beneficial, and when it comes to weight loss, you burn as many calories walking a mile as you do running a mile. Walking can be fun and healthy. Look for ways to incorporate it into your everyday activities. I purposely park one mile from my office so that I can get two miles in at least every day. If you want to work on improving your fitness level, I suggest walking very fast for 2 to 3 telephone poles along a road, then slowing for another 2 to 3, and then repeating. This type of interval work can help condition your cardiovascular system. If weather or safety is a factor, walk in the mall or go to a park.

Exercise has been referred to as the "gateway" behavior to a healthy lifestyle. Once you begin to feel better and more energetic, you will be able to do more. It also helps to condition yourself so that you are better able to quit smoking.

, BeWell expert

quit smokingHow do I deal with severe cravings that make feel angry, depressed and totally alone?

quit smokingKicking any habit can be really, really hard. Funny how living without things we love is hard, whether it's a toddler with a pacifier, a diabetic trying to stop eating too much, or an alcoholic resisting the temptation to stop in the bar. To me, for some reason, it's often comforting to reach out to others going through the same experience—it really helps. It unfortunately sounds like you  feel alone, which makes quitting the habit even harder.

Try to reach out to whomever you can—family, friends, support groups (whether online or in person), and your health-care team. You need to know you're not alone. And you should know that even if you fail this time, you at least tried once and perhaps will succeed the next time.

, BeWell expert

quit smokingAre acupuncture and hypnosis effective methods for quitting smoking?

quit smokingI quit 28 years ago by using hypnosis. The most important thing the hypnotist said to me was "you will no longer think of yourself as a smoker." As mentioned in other responses, that is the key. I used to smoke menthol cigarettes and Halls menthol lozenges were good when I was desperate. You need to figure out what the habits are around smoking and do something different. Take a walk or exercise. It will distract you and help prevent the inevitable (but temporary) weight gain. Good luck!

, BeWell expert

quit smokingI have repeatedly tried to quit and failed every time. I decided to give it another go and stopped cold turkey. I feel happy now, but will I get blindsided by the cravings later?

quit smokingIt is human nature that when we anticipate horrible suffering and when we don't experience it, we wonder what is wrong with us, rather than reveling in our good luck. Maybe you are experiencing wondrous relief that quitting has not been the torture you imagined it to be? Think about how we anticipate a mountain climb: We plan for the trip, make sure we have good boots and enough water and snacks, and workout beforehand to be in the best shape possible. But we also worry a lot that the climb will be more than we can handle. What we don't plan for, and it is almost always a lovely surprise, is the amazing exhilaration we experience when we get to the top of the mountain.

Perhaps you are simply at the top of the mountain right now. This is not to guarantee that there is not another peak ahead of you; there might be, but congratulate yourself on the journey thus far. Keep some reserves, and mentally plan for unexpected cravings which might come out of the blue. But so far, so good!

, BeWell expert

quit smokingI’ve been smoking for 34 years. I have two kids, I’m getting divorced, and my company keeps doing layoffs. Cigarettes are my best friend, but I want to quit. What can I do?

quit smokingYou do have a lot going on which I imagine is very stressful. It is hard to quit when you are under a lot of stress. The first thing you will need is support. Ask yourself, “What do I need to give this a try? Who can be there for me?” Try to put the right supports in place before you give this a try.

There are lots of groups to join, both face-to-face and online, that might be helpful. The American Lung Association has an online support program called , a 24-hour smoking cessation support program on the Web.

Your primary care provider can be helpful too. He or she might recommend a smoking cessation aid. This will take time and patience, but it will be well worth it. I wish you the best of luck.

, BeWell expert

quit smokingI’d like to quit, but my husband is a heavy smoker and doesn’t want to quit. What should I do?

quit smokingIt sounds like you are at very different readiness levels, which definitely presents a challenge for you. Congratulations on feeling ready. This is an important decision that you will be thankful you made when you look back. Given that you are feeling ready, you should seize the moment and put your best foot forward to lead the process. It will take preparation and planning, as well as support, while you are going through it. I remember when my dad quit smoking. Although we did not live close to each other, I called him every day (sometimes more than once) for months. Support comes in all different shapes and forms. Identifying what kind of support you will need is a great first step. It is hard to quit if you are feeling stressed, so make sure you reduce stress before you start.

There are lots of resources to help you start, like the . Make sure to get some physical activity while you are going through the process. It will help reduce stress and clear your head, not to mention the health benefits it provides. Talk with your primary care provider about your plans. He or she might have some great suggestions and can be another source of support.

, BeWell expert

Review Date: February 25, 2009


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