31st May is World ‘No Tobacco Day’. This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of smoking, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.
Tobacco cravings and urges to give in to smoking are powerful and can lead to stress. Instead of giving in, tap into one of these calming techniques until the urge passes.
A positive statement you say aloud at times of stress can be highly motivating. These are affirmations. Examples include “I am free from my desire to smoke,” “My body no longer desires nicotine,” and “I enjoy breathing easily and deeply.” You may want to write these down on notes you can display on your fridge or in your car as reminders of why you’re making the step to stop smoking.
Imagining positive scenarios can be incredibly relaxing. Start by sitting in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Imagine a pack of cigarettes slowly disintegrating until it vanishes. In its place is a glowing orb of light. Imagine inhaling this light. See the light moving through your nasal passages, removing debris. See the light traveling into your left lung, removing gunk and toxins. Then see the light moving through your right lung, loosening mucus and dirt. Now envision yourself expelling all the dirt and debris from your body as your entire body fills with warm, comforting light. Now open your eyes.
Listening to something that takes your mind off of a craving can bring a sense of calm when you’re feeling stressed. You may prefer listening to nature sounds like crashing waves, the wind or birds. Or you might like listening to one of your favourite bands. If it’s a song with lyrics, sing along. You could even try a five-minute dance break to get your body moving past that urge to smoke.
Tap into your social network for support or text a friend. Talking with others is a helpful way to work through a craving and to get a fresh perspective while staying connected with others. If you prefer face-to-face time, make a weekly plan to meet up for a walk.
Take five minutes to simply breathe. You can do this anywhere – outside, while quietly sitting at your desk or even parked in your car. Sit up straight, close your eyes and place one hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feel your belly rise as your abdomen fills with air. Now slowly exhale the air through your nose and feel your belly lower. Repeat.