As a kid I remember my mom smoked every day. It didn’t matter whether we were at home, in the car or doing our daily errands. At that time is wasn’t as clear as it is today that smoking can create serious health risks for yourself as well as those around you. Today there is much more research and information available to bring awareness to the importance of not smoking, yet today many people still choose to smoke.
There are many benefits to quitting smoking:
- In the first several weeks after you stop smoking blood circulation begins to improve. This can increase your energy which will allow you to be more active with your children.
- Breathing becomes easier and lung capacity can improve. Having maximum lung capacity will make it much easier to play with your grandchildren as you age, especially because as we age lung capacity can naturally decline.
- Being dependent on nicotine increases stress levels. Studies have shown that stopping smoking can reduce stress levels. Less stress means living a longer, healthier life.
- Sense of smell increases as your mouth and nose recover from all the chemicals found in cigarettes. Enjoy the wonderful new scents of fresh flowers and home cooked meals.
- Due to an increase of nutrients and oxygen, facial skin can improve helping you to look more vibrant.
- Breath can improve and it can also reduce the chances of stained teeth, premature teeth loss and gum disease. A healthy mouth is a strong indicator of a healthy heart.
Even though you make the decision to stop smoking, maintaining success can still be a great challenge. There are many resources available to help you maintain success.
- Nicotine replacement therapy has proven to be a useful therapy to help ease your urges while allowing you to eventually quit smoking completely.
- It is important to understand the triggers that lead you to smoking. It may be certain people, locations, situations, etc. Once you are aware of your triggers you have a better chance of either removing yourself from them or preparing yourself for the the situation so you don’t get caught off guard and respond by smoking.
- The first days and weeks are the most difficult, take one day at a time. If you think too far ahead you are likely to overwhelm yourself. The longer you stay smoke free the less intense the cravings will be.
- Create a plan to replace the cravings. It could be taking a walk, doing some form of exercise, practicing deep breathing, reading or doing whatever brings you peace and allows you to refocus.
- Let friends and family know your intentions so they can offer support and help you get through the difficult times.
- Professional support is available. You can contact a therapist or contact the National Cancer Quit Line and speak with an expert for free (1-877-44U-QUIT).
I recently had a client who had been talking about quitting but never seemed to take the next step. His brother was told to stop smoking a year ago or he would most likely have a heart attack. His brother didn’t listen and sure enough within a year he had a heart attack. Thank goodness he survived this attack. He has now quit smoking as did my client. Please don’t wait until an unfortunate event takes place. Be proactive and start on a new path today. Not only will you be on your way to a healthier lifestyle but you will also be helping those around you.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise, nutrition or health program.