What’s Your Reason to Quit?

The Great American Smokeout is just around the corner.  Are you – or a loved one – ready to reclaim your health from the clutches of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco? If so, then join millions of Americans on November 19th for the 32nd annual Great American Smokeout, and take the first step on the path of a tobacco free life.

At the heart of every achievement lies desire or a reason that spurs motivation. Think of this desire as the cornerstone for success. Now, sit down with pen and paper and list the reasons behind your desire to quit smoking. Include every single thing you can think of, from the largest, most obvious of reasons to the smallest. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

• I want to reduce my chances of lung cancer, heart attack, or stroke
• I want to play with my child without getting short of breath
• I’m tired of waking up with a cough, or coughing so hard that I make myself sick.
• I want more control over my life
• I’ve got better things to spend money on
• I don’t want my tobacco use to affect my child’s/spouse’s health
• I’m tired of the late night trips out for cigarettes, and going out in bad weather to smoke alone.
• I never accomplish what I need to during the day because I waste so much time smoking.
• I’m sick of the overflowing ashtrays, stinking clothes, hair, breath, and car.
• I’m tired of cracking the car window in the pouring rain or freezing cold to smoke.

Have your list at the ready, and add to it when more reasons come to mind – remember, there’s no reason that’s too small or insignificant to include. Carry your list with you, and read through it whenever your resolve starts to ebb. Having your list at your fingertips will help get your priorities back in order, and keep you on the path of success.

So, what are your reasons for quitting? Drop me a line, or share a comment – I’d love to be part of your smoking cessation success!

Related Posts: Get Ready for the Great American Smokeout, What’s Your Happy Place? How to Alleviate Stress

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What’s Your Happy Place? How to Alleviate Stress

While we’ve all heard that stress is bad for our health, very few people actually take this statement to heart. In addition to playing a role in inducing heart attacks and strokes, stress can increase blood pressure, damage white blood cells, contribute to digestive problems (constipation, stomach problems, and diarrhea) and wreak havoc with your immune system, opening the floodgates to more frequent colds and infections and undermining your long-term health. If you’re already suffering with a chronic illness – especially inflammatory conditions such as colitis and eczema, or   autoimmune disorders such as lupus, MS, or rheumatoid arthritis, getting stress in check is critical.

The best way to manage stress is by developing coping techniques. Coping techniques are as individual as personalities, so if one doesn’t work for you don’t stress about it – just move on until you find one that suits. For example:

  • Write – Putting pen to paper (or clicking away on a keyboard) is therapeutic! Writing about stressful events will    help put them into perspective and will provide clues to the sources of stress in your life.
  • Start a Hobby – Carve time out of your busy week to do something you enjoy.
  • Exercise – A regular exercise routine is one of the best ways you can manage stress. Taking a brisk, 20 minute walk five times a week is a great way to get started. Remember to stretch to relieve muscle tension.
  • Go to Your Happy Place – Though it may sound corny, guided imagery is very effective in reducing stress. With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in any setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Meditate – Slow down, pay attention to your body, and focus on the present. Sitting quietly without “doing” anything, and focusing entirely on the present moment for just 10-15 minutes each day is a powerful stress reducer.
  • Breathe – Develop a few deep breathing techniques to put into action whenever you need to relax or relieve stress.
  • Relax – Progressive muscle relaxation is an excellent stress reducing technique that combines deep breathing with muscle relaxation. To begin, you isolate each group of muscles, and then clench the muscle while breathing in, and relax the muscle while breathing out. Start with your toes, and work your way up to the top of your head.

Do some dabbling to see which stress reducing technique works the best for you. Remember, in the long run, relaxing and managing stress might just save your life.

So, are you stressed? What are you doing about it? Share your relaxation tips and techniques – I’d love to hear about them.

Using the Internet as a Healing Tool

We all know that the Internet is a great resource for shopping and current events, but have you considered using the Internet to research mysterious symptoms or chronic illnesses? If so, then you have crossed ranks and are now a member of the ever-growing population of e-Patients.   There are a number of ways to harness the power of the internet for medical research:

  • Diagnostic Tools – Although it isn’t a good idea to rely exclusively on online tools, they can offer assistance in finding the outlying symptom. For example, identifying a symptom that doesn’t quite synch with the rest of your symptom profile can help with a diagnosis, or rule out certain illness categories.
  • Blog – Writing is therapeutic, and a confidence builder. When you put thoughts into written words, you’ll strengthen communication skills, which will make asking your doctor questions or voicing suggestions and concerns a much easier task. Plus, when you keep a written record of your health journey, you’ll have a road map of your successes as well as of the potholes and bumps in the road.
  • Read, read, read! – (Did I mention that reading is important?) The Internet is filled with articles, blogs and sites with valuable information that may provide a clue to solving your medical mystery. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, learn as much as you can about your ailment as well as what measures you can take to prevent future problems.

With a little patience and diligence, you’ll learn to master what the Internet has to offer and will  be able to use the information you gather as a steppingstone for moving beyond your illness and regaining freedom and control over your life.

When Tolerance isn’t a Virtue

According to Ghandi, patience, tolerance, and acceptance are virtues we should all aspire to achieve. Though noble in theory, this aspiration can’t possibly apply to all facets of life. So when, if ever, is it acceptable to de-bunk Ghandi?

We’ve all heard someone say, “I put up with (fill in the blank) because of (fill in the blank)”, haven’t we?  My girlfriends say this all the time when talking about their husbands or significant others, and I’ve also heard the statement countless times in reference to parents, siblings, bosses, and in-laws. How important is it for you to try to get someone to stop storing, quit leaving the toilet seat up, or renounce some other trivial behavior? Honestly, it’s probably not very important at all. During these situations, acceptance is the key.

So, when is it acceptable not to be tolerant?

Any time your health is at stake. I’ve witnessed people tolerate the health challenges of stiff joints, stomach pain, migraines, and even random growths. By tolerating a health challenge, you relinquish all power over your health – and your life – to the symptom you are tolerating. Before long, you hand the reigns over to your stiff joints, stomach pain, or migraines and they start running the show, dictating what you can and cannot do.

What would happen if you changed your perspective and vowed to be more proactive with regard to your health? What if you made the decision to hold tight to your health with clenched fists rather than relaxing your grip and allowing it to slip from between your fingers? What if you changed your perspective to believe that there’s always something you can do when your health is at stake? Taking action and addressing these questions head-on is a challenge, but the reward you will receive – regaining freedom and control of your life – is well worth the effort. Remember, the journey of life is most fulfilling when taken from the driver’s seat. Don’t let your health challenges drive you down the path of impassivity and apathy.

What health challenges are you tolerating? What can you do to start regaining control over your health?

Restore and Replinish Your Health

What are you plans for a prosperous 2009? Whatever they may be, consider restoring and replenishing YOU. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Get rid of toxic relationships – Is your relationship causing you stress?  2009 may be a good time to examine your relationships and keep only those that aren’t toxic to your health and wellbeing. Toxic relationships can have toxic effects on your health. Consider this, every time you experience a negative emotion, it affects the biochemistry of every cell in your body!

  • Set aside “Me-time” – Setting aside time for yourself is one of the most underrated things to do. It’s great to do things for others, but imagine how much more you could accomplish if you take care of yourself first. If you’re not calm, focused, healthy, and happy, then you won’t be much help to others. Don’t neglect the self.

  • Do something you love – Start a business, take on a new hobby, or get involved in the community. You’d be surprised at how much better you’ll feel. Volunteer work in particular can have amazing benefits, especially for people who have high-strung, type-A personalities. Simply getting out of your own head for a while will give you a new perspective and let you relax in your own skin.

  • Restore and replenish bacteria Wait a minute . . . don’t bacteria cause infection and disease? Sure, sometimes bacteria can grow out of control, causing infection and disease. For several years, mainstream medicine focused on killing bacteria with antibiotic drugs – to such an extent that now many types of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. But now scientists know that antibiotic treatment often does more harm than good because there are good bacteria as well as bad bacteria. Whether you like it or not, bacteria are part of your body. In fact, there are more bacterial cells in your digestive tract than human cells in your whole body! Bacteria help with digestion, and they also assist the immune system. Pharmaceuticals and poor diets can wipe out your good bacteria. Restore and replenish bacteria with yogurt, kefir, or probiotic supplements.

  • Focus on your health – It’s no secret that Americans are becoming sicker by the minute. Our society is plagued by chronic illnesses like obesity and depression. What do you need to do to get your health back on track?  Take some time to decide and then take action! You’ll be much healthier and happier in the long run.

    Signing up for a FREE Trial Session is one way to start focusing on your health in 2009.  Go to www.goodhealthcoach.com.