Quit Smoking And Learn To Relax!

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It's true: quitting smoking is probably one of the hardest things you will ever do. But it's also one of the most beneficial things you will ever do for your health, and the health of those around you. With the advent of so many new products and supplements designed to aid smoking cessation, many smokers interested in quitting often overlook the importance of learning basic relaxation skills that can help even the most hardened smoker quit successfully.

?The most important relaxation technique that you should learn if you are trying to quit is deep breathing. Many lifelong smokers are actually quite adept at deep breathing, if only by accident. Whether conscious of it or not, many smokers take deep drags off their cigarettes, producing a temporary sense of deep relaxation. Many individuals who attempt to quit smoking usually stop taking regular deep breaths, resulting in much of the stress, tension, and general restlessness that is characteristic of trying to quit.

If you've decided to give your body a break and quit smoking, here are some guidelines to avoid shallow breathing, and to help you relieve stress through the regular practice of deep breathing. For maximum effect, you should practice deep breathing whenever the urge to light up hits, or whenever you are feeling particularly stressed out. You should always attempt to breathe through your nose, as this is the healthiest way to bring oxygen into your body.

Try to find a quiet place conducive to relaxation.

Deep breathing is accomplished using the stomach muscles. Place your hand gently over your stomach's abdomen muscles.

Close your eyes and try to imagine a relaxing landscape or scene.

Breathe in deeply. Visualize the air entering your mouth, traveling into your lungs, and then filling your stomach, as if it were a balloon.

Slowly release the air and let your stomach return to its natural position.

Before you release each deep breath of air, hold the breath for as long as it?s comfortable, and then release it slowly.

If you find it helps, focus on a calming phrase such as "This urge will pass," "I am relaxed," or whatever you find helpful.

Try to condition yourself so that whenever you feel the urge to smoke, you automatically retreat to your deep breathing exercises.

Along with deep breathing, you may want to incorporate different exercises to bring consciousness to your state of mind when you're desperate for a cigarette. Like the primary deep breathing exercise, these exercises can be done at any time or place, but preferably in a quiet, dark location where you can really focus on your breathing.

Sit cross-legged in a quiet location. Close your eyes and take a deep breath to calm your body and prepare for the following exercises.

Focus attention on your head, then your face, and finally, concentrate on your forehead. As you exhale, let the muscles in your forehead and temples relax.

Focus attention on your eyes. Let them soften and relax as you exhale.

Bring attention to your cheek muscles and jaw. Like your eyes, let them soften as you exhale.

Now, your neck. Whether you are conscious of it or not, your neck is a reservoir of tension. Whenever you feel stressed or worried, you will find that your neck becomes still and inflexible. Let the tension in your neck relax as you exhale. Imagine your neck muscles as malleable and flexible.

Continue to take deep slow breathes, pausing, and then exhaling slowly. Move your focus down to your shoulders. Like your neck, your shoulders will often store tension. Let them droop and relax as you exhale.

Move down to your stomach. When you breathe in, imagine the air entering your nose, traveling to your larynx, your lungs, all the way to the pit of your stomach. As you exhale, let the tension in your stomach melt away.

After you have finished meditating on different parts of your body, finish your deep breathing practice by taking a number of deep slow breaths, holding the breath for five seconds, and then releasing it.

When you're done, open your eyes, stretch your arms and legs, and get up slowly and deliberately.

Learning to breathe in this fashion is one of the best things you can do for your health, and one of the easiest, most effective ways to ward off the stress of kicking your smoking habit.