The father of a friend recently had a heart attack and was told to stop smoking – immediately! ‘Cold turkey!’ That’s not easy. I know, because I did it myself once and though it’s more than twenty years ago, I remember it very well!
The hardest thing about no longer smoking was the ‘foggy brain’ I got; the clarity of mind I had felt when I smoked, seemed to elude me without. That is, until I happily discovered that when I took a deep breath in, followed by a lengthy exhale, it didn’t matter that there was no nicotine filling my lungs, the much needed clarity of mind followed swiftly thereafter! Turned out, it was as much the deep breathing that had made me feel calm and focused as anything! What an aha moment!
I often wonder how many smokers are aware of this, of the significance of the inhale and exhale, of just the breath? Over the years, as I’ve shared this information with clients, many have used the knowledge to quit smoking very successfully. Most recently, one told me; ‘Whenever I feel the need for a cigarette, I just take a deep breath in, exhale in the same way I would have with a cigarette, and keep doing it until the craving goes away. It usually only takes three breaths!” Deep breathing, it seems, is good for more than ‘merely’ managing stress and emotions (although some would say managing a craving, is just managing another emotion.)
(PS: I hear my friend's father is managing well. I wonder if he's used the breathing thing?)