Even today with our research and remedies, Cigarette Smoking remains one of the most detrimental habits in which an individual can choose to participate. One might think that since the days of "I Love Lucy" (when smoking was romanticized and thought of as nothing but cool), that we’d have wised up and learned our lesson by now.
But there’s more to this type of habitual participation than meets the eye (there has to be), because even though we know that the side effects of this "hacking causing habit" are responsible for more preventable diseases, disabilities and death than any other … yet we’re still puffing up a storm.
Check out these statistics from the CDC:
"Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults still smoke cigarettes."
Trying to rid ourselves of harmful habits can be like to trying to rid ourselves of our passive aggressive, hurtful—so called "friends."
We know we don't really like them but these sadistic sidekicks possess a seductive kind of alluring charm that numbs us to the truth. "Even though we know they're gonna hurt us," we just keep coming back for more.
In addition, just like other detrimental health habits, the numbers alone prove that scary statistics aren't enough for most to even attempt a change.
It has to be an inside job so to speak. The motivation must come from the person's own inner guidance about partaking of something they 'KNOW full well' is harming them. That plus the WILL of a WARRIOR to want to leave it all behind.
Unfortunately, even when a decision to make a healthy lifestyle change has been reached, many of these harmful habits are harder to depart from than anticipated.
Like leaving an old friend (even one that has harmed us), we're left with a chunk of time and space to fill. This is what I call 'Dangerous' time; time to think about what we've lost and reminisce about how much we had enjoyed it.
In the case of smoking, we miss the smell of the tobacco, the feel of the paper, the tastes of the first drag and the buzz that it leaves behind as we blow rings of white vapor from our lips.
Sounds a little too well-put now doesn’t it?
You guessed it—I used to smoke!!!
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Smokers come in all shapes and sizes and Ex-smokers often rise up to Champion the Cause for Quitting, 'thank you very much!'
The addictive nature of tobacco is beyond a powerful pull. Without something to distract us from the place it used to holds in our hearts, we’re left fully vulnerable and weak to its allure.
We must distance ourselves and find a new friend to take its place; one that will bring healing not harm; one that is good for us; one that also leaves us with a chemically induced buzz. But this new buzz must make us healthier each time we visit this new friend's backyard.
Where do you find a replacement like that? I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
Its name is called EXERCISE and the side effects are mood lifting, pain killing, and heart disease reducing. The byproducts are the little friends it leaves behind called ENDORPHINS! Think of them as your friendly little tobacco buzz replacement!
Exercise is unfortunately the best-kept secret for breaking the harmful habit of smoking WIDE OPEN and replacing the addition to nicotine, thereby leaving it for good.
Not what you were expecting I’m sure.
The lesson here really is twofold:
First—in order to break a habit, we must first find a way to REPLACE the HABIT! It's just that simple. It's much easier to replace one than to break one with nothing left to fill its place.
Second—Exercise is the best habit-replacer, ever! Especially when the habit carries with it a "feel good" trick of a side effect that draws you into its lair.
Exercise is the only bad-habit replacement I know of that leaves us feeling like we can rule our world with the power of its feel-good (good for you) endorphins.
So put down lighter, lace up your sneakers and head for the door. Your new friend “Exercise” will be there to greet you. This friend will stay with you, side-by-side and step-by-step as you Power Walk your way to Wellness.
Until Next Time,
Live well and Be Strong…
* From the CDC’s article "Tobacco Use"
Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer At A Glance 2011