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Some benefits of quitting tobacco use: . 3 Positive Physical, Psychological and Environmental Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal . 4 Preparing to Reduce and Quit . 5 The 10 Stages of Reducing or Quitting . 5 Managing Your Feelings . 6 Causes of Depression When You Reduce or Quit Using Tobacco . 6 Causes of Anxiety When You Reduce or Quit Using Tobacco . 7 Signs of Depression . 8 Signs of Anxiety . 8 Holistic Strategies for Changing Depression and Anxiety . 9 How to Start an Exercise Program . 11
Within 20 minutes of the last cigarette:
Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
Oxygen level in blood increases to normal.
Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier.
Lung function increases up to 30 percent.
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decreases.
Cilia regrow in lungs, increasing your ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection.
The body's overall energy level increases.
Lung cancer death rate for average smoker (one pack a day) decreases from 137 per 100,000.
Other cancers, such as those of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas, decrease (there are 30 cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke).
Lung cancer death rate drops to 12 deaths per 100,000 -- almost the rate of non-smokers
Positive Physical, Psychological and Environmental Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Happily, there are many positive psychological symptoms and physical effects to counterbalance the negative effects of nicotine withdrawal. They include:
Happiness about getting free from tobacco
Happiness about being free of the self-nagging and guilt about using tobacco products
Clothes, home, and car smell better every day
None of the mess and dirt associated with tobacco use
Improved circulation in the hands and feet
Generally feel better than when you used tobacco products
In addition, the natural cleansing systems in your lungs begin to operate more effectively, and you experience a higher level of health and well-being.
If you are a health-concerned tobacco user who has been thinking about reducing or quitting, ask yourself which of the following 10 stages you have reached as of today. Then pick three things you could do within the next month that would help you get to the next stage. Rank the three things you have chosen in order of importance, then do them.
Stage 1: You are a health-concerned tobacco user. You are worried about the health effects of your use, and you wonder if you should quit or cut down.
Stage 2: You decide that you will gather information about tobacco, quitting or other health behaviors. You begin to actively explore your options.
Stage 3: You decide to take some steps to change your tobacco use and/or your overall health status -- e.g., observing your tobacco triggers, switching brands, cutting down, getting more exercise, taking vitamins, managing your stress more effectively, paying more attention to your family and friends, etc.
Stage 4: You make a firm commitment to reduce or quit, but do not specify a date or the strategies you will use.
Stage 5: You prepare a plan to reduce or quit, and identify strategies you will use to successfully complete it. You make a firm commitment to follow-through on your plan. You set a reduction or cessation date.
Stage 6: You reduce to your planned level, or you smoke your last cigarette, and successfully follow your plan for 24 hours.
Stage 7: You successfully complete one week of follow-through with your plan.
Stage 8: You successfully complete one month of follow-through with your plan.
Stage 9: You successfully complete your first three months of follow-through with your plan.
Stage 10: You successfully complete your first year of follow-through with your plan.
Keep repeating these stages until you complete Stage 10!
Tobacco, nicotine and smoke all contribute to helping the user manage such unpleasant feelings as depression or anxiety. This "corking effect" can help the user deal with frustrations or fears without becoming emotionally upset.
Anxiety and depression often develop as the result of cumulative and/or long-term stress. They can also be caused by inherited imbalances in brain chemistry, and can also cause imbalances in the brain chemistry to occur. In anxiety-prone people, the effects of the stress result in a frequent state of hyperarousal and tension that can amplify the stress. In depression-prone people, the result is the opposite: a state of numbness or "neutral" that blocks the tension from being felt, but also impedes the resolution of the stress.
The good news is that the occurrence and/or severity of depression and anxiety often can be lessened or eliminated through self-care treatments, exercise, psychotherapy, and/or medication. The more of these types of strategies that you can include in your reducing or quitting plan, the better your probability for success. They can also speed the recovery of your body from the effects of your tobacco use, and reduce or eliminate common problems encountered when you reduce or quit.
Causes of Depression When You Reduce or Quit Using Tobacco
If you believe that you are experiencing depression while you are in the reducing or quitting process, consider these possibilities for its cause:
The depression may be due to nicotine withdrawal. Consider using nicotine replacement therapies, nutrition, exercise, social support, nicotine replacement therapies, Zyban and self-care to help with this process.
The depression may have existed before you even started using tobacco, and is re-emerging now that you have reduced or quit.
It can also be a symptom of imbalances in your brain chemistry. Nicotine and smoking are both excellent mood moderators and brain chemistry managers. You may have been self-medicating with your tobacco use. Talk to your physician about possibilities, and get information about medical and psychological approaches for treating depression. Information is available on the web, local libraries, bookstores, and local non-profit mental health organizations.
The depression may be related to the quitting device or strategy that you are using, such as the patch, Zyban, or gradual reduction. Gather information about the strategy that you are using and other options.
Figuring out which of the above is the cause of your depression can be difficult -- trust your instincts, consult appropriate professionals, read up on the topic and follow your hunches. Often, your hunches are correct.
Causes of Anxiety When You Reduce or Quit Using Tobacco
If you believe that you are experiencing anxiety while you are in the reducing or quitting process, consider these possibilities for its cause:
The anxiety may be due to nicotine withdrawal. Consider using nicotine replacement therapies (gum, nasal spray, inhaler, patch), nutrition, exercise, social support, prescription medications and self-care to help with this process.
The anxiety may have existed before you even started using tobacco, and is re-emerging now that you have reduced or quit. It can also be a symptom of imbalances in your brain chemistry. Nicotine and smoking are both excellent mood moderators and brain chemistry managers. You may have been self-medicating with your tobacco use. Talk to your physician about possibilities, and get information about medical and psychological approaches for treating anxiety. Information is available on the web, local libraries, bookstores, and local non-profit mental health organizations.
The anxiety may be related to a quitting device or strategy that you are using, such as the patch, Zyban, or gradual reduction. Gather information about the strategy that you are using and their common side effects, and explore other options.
Figuring out the cause of your anxiety can be difficult -- trust your instincts, consult appropriate professionals, read up on the topic and follow your hunches. Often, your hunches are correct.
Depression can take a variety of forms and differing levels of intensity. It can range from being a mild twinge of uneasiness to a labyrinth of despair. The depression is often associated with a situation or relationship, but it can also highlight a melancholy disposition that experiences a chronic, usually mild to moderate, depression. Depression is often characterized by:
A depressed mood for most of the day, or for more days than not, for at least two years.
The occurrence of two or more of the following:
Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
Your symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of your life.
Anxiety can take a variety of forms and differing levels of intensity. It can range from being a mild twinge of uneasiness to an intense panic attack. Anxiety is often associated with a situation or relationship, but it can also be "free-floating" or spontaneous. Anxiety is often characterized by:
Heart palpitations (rapid or irregular heartbeat)
Fear of not being able to cope or going out of control
Holistic Strategies for Changing Depression and Anxiety
A holistic approach is strongly recommended because it imposes healthy interventions that can affect your life on many levels: body, behavior, feelings, mind, relationships, spirituality and self-esteem.
Learning to command the "relaxation response" and enhancing personal wellness are of prime importance to everyone's health. The probability of your success is enhanced when you adopt changes that promote a more balanced and relaxed lifestyle. It is very important to upgrade your level of physical health. Therefore, skills for stress management, relaxation, exercise, and nutrition, in addition to the traditional behavioral and cognitive (mental) skills that are usually recommended, are important parts of a wholistic approach.
It is easier to cope with cravings for tobacco or the common irritability associated with nicotine withdrawal if you know how to reduce your stress and tension through relaxation skills. It is also easier to identify and change negative self-talk when you feel physically healthy and strong. A holistic approach reduces your predisposition to counterproductive attitudes, feelings and self-talk.
The good news is that both depression and anxiety are highly treatable in a variety of ways:
Exercise regularly, or just get moving with gardening or housework.
Listen to relaxing or energizing music, and dance.
Eat nutritional, well-balanced meals with three to five food groups in each. Eat breakfast.
Take stress-relieving nutritional supplements.
Drink alcohol only in moderation (moderation is drinking no more than three drinks in a day, drinking no more than three days a week, and drinking no more than six to eight drinks in a week).
Drink caffeinated drinks in moderation (moderation is drinking two to three cups per day, and not drinking caffeinated drinks within six hours of sleep).
Learn to talk to yourself in a more positive and constructive manner. Use affirmations to counter mistaken belief and negative thoughts. Control the intensity and amount of your internal, highly critical thoughts.
Learn to perceive the opportunities for growth in your problems.
Learn how to prevent outside circumstances or people from causing you depression or anxiety. Practice de-sensitization skills.
Develop a personal mission and goals for your life. Set out on a personal mission quest.
Enhance your self-esteem by learning skills that improve your self-mastery.
Learn more about treating anxiety and depression.
Talk to your physician or psychiatrist about the use of medications.
Exercise has been called a "positive addiction" and a "healthy pleasure." Starting an exercise program is the single most helpful thing a health-concerned tobacco user can do. Exercise provides many of the same rewards as tobacco-mental sharpening, an increased sense of control and a greater ability to relax. Many successful ex-tobacco users report successfully eliminating their tobacco use after they started a regular exercise program.
Regular physical activity induces biochemical changes within your body. Some of these changes are similar to those produced
by nicotine. Exercise boosts catecholamines, producing increased alertness and mental sharpness. Sustained exercise increases the brain's production of endorphins, which produce euphoria and a pleasant sense of wellbeing.
Regular exercise helps you cope more effectively with the daily hassles of modern life. Exercise also decreases feelings of anxiety and depression. In addition, it produces more restful sleep, which in turn helps you stay calm and deal more effectively with stress.
Regular, gentle exercise tones your muscles and helps them feel more relaxed and strong.
Take a brief "exercise break" whenever you feel a craving. The aerobic and relaxing effects help to reduce stress and fatigue.
The act of maintaining a regular exercise program into your daily or weekly schedule provides a regular "Island of Peace" that can interrupt and reduce your stress.
Regular exercise can produce positive personality changes. You will experience a sense of accomplishment. You will feel stronger, more self-confident and in control, and you will feel a new sense of independence. Other positive effects can include feeling more motivated or resolute, feeling more emotionally stable, or feeling more imaginative. Some people even have exhilarating experiences!
Consult your doctor about beginning an exercise program. Your doctor will help you create a safe fitness program that factors in any special health concerns you may have. You may need to have a complete physical exam before you begin.
Find a form of exercise that you will enjoy. If you enjoy your exercise program, you are more likely to do it.
The best place for a beginner to start is to find a way to actively "break sweat" every day. Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, president of the Aerobics Center in Dallas and an author, recommends that tobacco users engage in gentle aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes for three or four sessions each week.
Walking is the safest form of aerobic exercise and the one best suited for the most people. Walking can be done anywhere and requires no special equipment other than a comfortable pair of shoes. You get to know your neighbors better and your dog will love it, too!
Begin with 15-minute aerobic sessions and gradually work your way up to 30-minute sessions. You can increase or decrease the
intensity of your exercise program by changing your length, pace, time, weight or resistance.
Vary your exercise activity and environment. Find a variety of places to walk or jog, purchase a piece of exercise machinery to use during inclimate weather, rollerblade, take your family and dog with you, take a yoga class or ride a bike. Keeping your exercise environment interesting helps to keep you interested in exercising!
Remember to take deep breaths often while you are exercising. Air is the primary food of both the mind and body. You will feel more relaxed and rejuvenated!
Round out your fitness program. Balance it with stretching or yoga postures, muscle toning or weight training, and aerobic exercise. Exercise your whole body. Your mind will benefit, too!
Incorporate more activity into your life so that you get more exercise in your daily routine. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, park your car far from the building entrance, walk rather than drive, or use your lunch hour to go for an invigorating walk.
Avoid obsessing about losing weight or sculpting your body with your exercise program. Place your primary focus on improving your health.
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