When it comes to the dangers of smoking, not a single smoker out there can feign ignorance. With every cigarette package emblazoned with health warnings, quitting is something that most smokers have had lingering in the back of their minds for years. Yet, they don’t know there are alternative ways to help them quit smoking.
Of course, kicking the habit is easier said than done. Nicotine is highly addictive—not to mention readily available—so it can be difficult to fight the urge when tobacco products are just within arm’s reach whenever you head out.
What’s more, without the right strategy and support, it’s common for smokers to relapse shortly after the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Believe it or not, going cold turkey and nicotine replacement therapy aren’t the only ways to help you quit nicotine.
Find out more about how certain alternative therapies can help you quit smoking — for good.
The first thing you need to do when you decide to stop smoking is to tell someone. Having someone there to hold you accountable and to help you up if you fall off the wagon is essential. That said, alternative therapies can also play a supportive role—helping you stay on course and achieve your goals.
While you’re in good company if you think of acupuncture as mere relaxation therapy, think again. Although primarily known for its role in alleviating muscle tension and improving circulation, acupuncture has the potential to help you quit nicotine.
In one study, a group of smokers who reported smoking about 20 cigarettes a day had certain points on their bodies stimulated. These points, known as acupoints, were presumed to have an anti-smoking effect.
During the treatment period, reported cigarette consumption fell by 14. In addition, there was a maintained reduction in smoking over the next 5 years. Most interestingly, perhaps, is the fact that the participants reported a reduction in the will or urge to smoke overall.
This means that acupuncture may be a legitimate anti-smoking tool that can help kick-start your addiction recovery and even keep you on the right track in the long term.
Anxiety and stress are two of the biggest reasons that people smoke. Because nicotine creates a sense of calm and relaxation, smokers are more likely to reach for a cigarette during high-pressure situations.
Rather ironically, however—smoking has been found to increase tension. This means that smokers are more likely to struggle with stress and anxiety—which are further aggravated by withdrawal symptoms—increasing your urge for another cigarette and starting the cycle all over again.
To put an end to this vicious cycle and get your anxiety under control, you may want to consider meditation. According to one 2013 study, just two weeks of meditation training can reduce smoking by up to 60%.
Mindfulness meditation works by centering the mind—quieting intrusive and disruptive thoughts and helping you regulate your emotions. Not only does meditation help you overcome anxiety but it can also help you take control of your urges and develop stronger willpower to stop smoking.
Hypnosis is probably one of the most controversial, or, rather, misunderstood practices out there. However, when you consider the fact that the average person’s experience of hypnotherapy begins and ends with often inaccurate popular media depictions, it’s easy to understand why the mention of hypnosis raises more than a few eyebrows.
Most smokers will agree that overcoming addiction is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Hypnosis harnesses the power of the subconscious mind—helping you take control of your life. According to research, hypnotic suggestions can help you stop smoking.
Much like acupuncture, hypnotherapy can significantly reduce your urge to smoke. Like other alternative therapies mentioned above, hypnotherapy can form part of a long-term strategy to help you stop smoking. All of this with little to no adverse effects.
Many addicts just don’t see the point of quitting once they’re past a certain point. However, it’s never too late to stop smoking or start leading a healthier lifestyle. That said, it’s important to build a solid support system to help you achieve your goals. That includes friends, family, and appropriate therapies—whether conventional or not.
When you feel you need an extra boost in your will to kick the habit, remember you have that available to you. On the one hand, you have the conventional aids that can give you the kick you need. On the other hand, you have a variety of alternative treatments that can also help you quit smoking, naturally.
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