Almost everyone knows that smoking wreaks havoc on your health. It is a dangerous — even deadly — habit that has been linked to multiple health conditions such as heart disease, COPD, lung cancer and stroke. Yet smoking is still the most common form of chemical dependency in the U.S.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their health. The benefits of stopping smoking begin almost immediately. Heart rate and blood pressure return to normal within 20 minutes of kicking the habit. The long-term benefits are profound. Recent studies indicate that people who quit smoking before the age of 40 lived as long as people who had never smoked — providing evidence supporting the decision to quit now, not later.
There are multiple medical interventions to help smokers quit, but some people may worry about the side effects from aids such as medications and nicotine replacements. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help you quit smoking that may be effective.
Medical hypnosis can be highly effective for smoking cessation — when it is done right.
“Medical hypnosis uses the power of the mind-body connection to help you build healthy new habits and meet specific health goals, which you determine before treatment begins,” says Raneth Heng, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, where she works alongside medical hypnotherapists who aid in smoking cessation.
During medical hypnotherapy, you are fully conscious and aware of your surroundings A specially trained hypnotherapist helps you to achieve a deep state of relaxation. In this state, most people are more receptive to suggestion, so statements about quitting are more likely to take root.
Health coaching involves discussing your health goals with a specially trained counselor. During regularly scheduled phone calls, the health coach will discuss ways to avoid smoking triggers and provide tips to help cope with cravings.
Health coaching usually lasts about 12 months and is often offered through employers or health insurance plans. Studies have found that people who participate in a health coaching program are more likely to successfully quit than those who try to quit on their own. Health coaching can often be used in combination with other methods such as regular behavioral counseling.
Everybody is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to smoking cessation. The key to successfully quitting is having plenty of support and finding the right method for you. Before you quit, talk to your doctor about all of the options. Regardless of the tactics you employ, feel proud of yourself for making this important health decision to kick the smoking habit. It can be challenging. To help you succeed, here are a few tips you can use in conjunction with any smoking cessation program:
- Set a quit date
- Get support from your friends and family
- Write down all the reasons you want to quit and post them somewhere where you’ll see them
- Throw out all of your cigarettes on your quit date
- Find activities to distract you from cravings like exercise, spending time with a pet or talking to a friend
- Stay away from situations that might tempt you to smoke again
- Breathe deeply and relish how good it feels to have clean, healthy lungs
Your doctor can help you find the right method to quit smoking. Contact Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine to get more information about finding a medical hypnotherapist.