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Alternative Methods for Quitting Smoking

Alternative methods to quitting smoking can complement more traditional methods, such as quitting cold turkey and using nicotine replacement therapies, and can augment each other as well. You can attend support groups, use the nicotine patch, and learn to meditate. You want to find methods that boost each other’s effectiveness, giving you maximum quitting power.

Some of the methods described here are not covered by most health insurance plans. Check with your insurer to find out what your particular plan does and doesn’t cover.

  • Join a support group: Support groups provide emotional and cognitive support for your effort to quit smoking.

    Nicotine Anonymous is the prototypical support group for smokers and ex-smokers. Like other 12 Step programs, Nicotine Anonymous is free and asks participants to surrender their will to a higher power and to rely on the accumulated wisdom of those who have been down this path before and have succeeded.

    You attend Nicotine Anonymous meetings and listen to other people describe their quitting efforts. You learn how other people have quit successfully. You may get a chance to speak about your own experiences with tobacco; most people who do so find it to be an emotionally rewarding experience.

  • Trying hypnosis: Many people try hypnosis in their effort to quit smoking. Some of them have succeeded. Consider self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is a form of meditation, and yet another way to approach yourself in a state of quiet and calm and reach a deeper and hopefully lasting understanding.

  • Meditating: Formal meditation, as in yoga, is another level that complements the mindfulness of “being here now.” If you’re really living in the moment, you may not need much in the way of formal meditation training. Nonetheless, if you pursue training in one or more of the many schools of yoga and meditation, you’ll find yourself on an incredible journey that requires time, patience, dedication, and skill. The formal mind and body techniques are best learned from experienced teachers in these disciplines.

  • Exercising: Quitting smoking can be a double blessing for you. Not only are you getting rid of a life-depriving and financially costly habit, but you’re also launching yourself in the direction of a number of awesome new possibilities. Which of the following activities have you dreamed of doing but couldn’t because of limited stamina or lung power?

    • Jogging

    • Running a marathon

    • Climbing a mountain

    • Whitewater rafting

    • Riding a bike

    • Sailing

    • Playing tennis

    • Joining a baseball or softball team

    Once you quit smoking, your capacity to exercise and the enjoyment you get from it will increase exponentially.

  • Trying Acupuncture: Alternative approaches such as acupuncture show promise and can complement nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, and sheer determination to quit. You can think of acupuncture as a kind of fast-food yoga: You get the well-being boost without having to do the work. If you decide to try acupuncture, make sure that the practitioner is certified. If possible, talk to his or her other patients to determine whether they have had a good therapeutic experience.

  • Experimenting with vitamins, herbs, and supplements: There is a great deal of interest in the use of antioxidant vitamins like A, C, and E. They’re called antioxidants because they work as cleanup molecules, attaching themselves to highly charged and potentially cancer-causing free radicals such as those that are found in cigarette smoke and food additives like nitrites.

    Many people believe that if they load up on these vitamins, they will dramatically reduce their chances of environmentally induced disease (disease caused by pollutants in air, food, and water). Antioxidants may prevent a number of diseases. Research is still being done.

  • Getting in touch spiritually: Spirituality can be your way of looking at and understanding things and your ability to appreciate the beauty and harmony inherent in things. You may even appreciate the chaos and fury at the heart of nature and find the flame of spirit abiding within it as well.

  • Checking out other methods: Literally hundreds of therapies, interventions, and other methods for quitting smoking and promoting lasting health exist. You want to know about these other methods because people may recommend them to you as quit-smoking resources.

    Here are some examples:

    • T’ai chi

    • Yoga

    • Feng shui

    • Aromatherapy

    If you decide to follow through with these or any other nontraditional methods, make sure to check the background, certification, experience level, and past successes of the practitioner(s).

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