Quitting smoking is of utmost importance to reduce the risks of heart disease.
As a former two and a half packs a day smoker, I am well aware of the great difficulties we face in quitting smoking.
Starting to smoke as a teenager, the cigarette was my crutch, my friend and my aide in my formative years, which increased my reliability and dependability on my nicotine habit, defining my identity as a smoker.
Quitting smoking wasn’t an option, fearing failure, fearing loss of identity I convinced myself that mortality rates that were directly linked to cigarette smoking, didn’t apply to me.
Having a massive heart attack at age 37 surely convinced me that I am no different then anyone else.
If we smoke, we get heart disease, when we get heart disease; we get heart attacks, when we get heart attacks we die.
I quit smoking.
How can you do the same, before you get heart disease, before you get a heart attack?
Starting the process
Although it may be a difficult process, it can be done. It all begins in the mind following these two steps
1. We must train our minds to associate smoking with pain, sickness, disease, and suffering, through educating ourselves of the disastrous consequences smoking causes.
2. We must train our minds to associate quitting smoking, living smoke free with health, joy, satisfaction and pleasure.
No one really wants to hurt himself. It is just that we trained our minds and bodies over the years to believe that cigarettes causes us joy and pleasure, and not smoking causes us pain and anxiety.
We can begin by reading material from the Center of Disease Control, from the American heart association from the American cancer society and from the American lung association. They describe in great detail the truly devastating consequences of heart disease.
We must change our belief and attitude towards smoking
When we are able to change our belief, we are able to change our attitude, when we change our attitude, our behavior begins to change, we begin the process of really desiring to quit.
When we really desire something we tend to pursue it, we tend to stay the course, we don’t give up.
Quitting smoking follows the same pattern, we must truly desire to stop, if we have that burning desire, we will succeed, and we will enjoy a healthy active life.
Deciding that we really want to live a healthy active lifestyle and quit
When we truly begin to desire something, we start thinking about ways of getting it. We don’t think I don’t want not to have something; we start thinking I want something.
Generally when we think about the things that we want, we day dream about it we fantasize about it and we visualize ourselves as having it.
It becomes real to us. When it does, the potential of it occurring increases. Our attitude towards it does, and our behavior toward it does.
When we begin thinking, I want to be healthy. I want to be active. I want to look good. I want to exercise. I want to live a long life. We create those images in our mind. The more we think about them the more these images grow in our minds.
The clearer they become the more we want them. When we truly desire them, we begin to take action, we decide that we will quit.
It can work like this:
- I want to: Be healthy, be strong, be fit
- I don’t want to: Be sick, be weak, be unhealthy
- I want to: Smell good, smell fresh, smell clean
- I don’t want to: Stink, reek, smell bad
- I want to: Have clean fingers
- I don’t want to: Have yellow fingers
- I want to: Have control over our lives
- I don’t want to: Be dependent on our addictions
- I want to: Be active
- I don’t want to: Be sedentary
- I want to: Be accepted socially by all not only by 28% of smokers
- I don’t want to: Be socially unaccepted by 72% of the non smoking population
- I want to: Enjoy a meal in a restaurant without having to run out for a cigarette
- I don’t want to: Have to avoid going to social settings because we fear we wont be able to smoke
- I want to: Be able to swim, run, hike, play and enjoy our vacations and leisure time
- I don’t want to: Be forced to sit in one place not being able to participate in any activities
- I want to: Spend my cigarette money on better things
- I don’t want to: Waste my money on cigarettes which has become such an expensive habit
- I want to: Use your imagination and enter anything else you really want to do but you are inhibited because of smoking
- I don’t want to: Use your imagination and enter anything else you really don’t want to do but you are inhibited because of your smoking habit
Once we make a clear decision and resolution that we will quit
We must select a method that we are comfortable with, let us not kid ourselves nicotine is a drug and an addictive one.
At times we may need aides to overcome the cravings. The aides alone won’t cause us to stop. They are called aides, because, that is what they are, helpers. Really quitting smoking, must come with a burning desire, as written earlier.
Once we have the desire, it is easier for us to overcome the withdrawal symptoms which are our difficulties in the beginning of the process.
Especially when we know that they are only temporary and are replaced by a satisfying active lifestyle.
The withdrawal symptoms are:
- Difficulty concentrating
These can, and have been overcome, by all of us that have stopped smoking, using these two methods
- Cold Turkey, deciding to quit, and then actively replacing the cigarette with other enjoyable activities
- Nicotine replacement therapy, which release low dosages of nicotine into the blood stream that include
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine patches
- Nicotine inhalers
- Nicotine nasal sprays
We must then make a clear decision and resolution that we will exercise and enjoy life
Once we begin the process, we must start doing all those things we really wanted to.
We must start becoming active. We must start walking, exercising, hiking, playing sports or any other enjoyable activities that we weren’t able to do when we were smokers.
I have given this advice to several of my friends after my heart attack. I am happy to say, that the ones who followed this advice have stopped smoking, they are now my exercise buddies. It works, try it, and you will succeed.
At age 37 I survived a massive heart attack.
I am dedicating my life to inspire people to live a heart healthy active lifestyle, before the heart strikes.
Credit to : Menachem Green