Thursday, February 26, 2015

Can Smoking Relieve Stress? The Effects of Tobacco on Emotional Wellbeing


A study coming out of the United Kingdom finds that - contrary to the 1 in 3 smokers who think smoking can relieve stress - smokers are 70-percent more likely to report they are anxious or depressed compared to non-smokers. This study was lead by University College London's Professor Robert West.

These study findings are consistent with an earlier meta-analysis study published in the "British Medical Journal". In that study, smoking cessation was associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as improved positive mood and perceived quality of life. Links to both research studies are below.


Perceived Stress Reduction Attributed to Smoking by Some Smokers


In my experience working with smokers who ask for help kicking the habit, those who express the belief that smoking helps them relax are less likely to successfully leave tobacco use behind. The truth, of course, is from a physiological and emotional standpoint the opposite is true.


Some smokers conclude smoking lowers stress because they often feel calmer and more relaxed after smoking a cigarette. What is actually going on, however, is the smoker feels calmer temporarily because of a change in thoughts and slower, deeper breathing. 


Unfortunately, what the smoker is breathing into his or her lungs is anything but healthy. If the smoker spent that same amount of time breathing deeply without the cigarette, s/he would feel even better physically and emotionally.


Smoking Effects on Emotional and Physical Health


In commenting on the most recent study findings, lead researcher Professor West commented:



"Quitting smoking could be the key to improving not only your physical health, but your mental health too."

Dr. Claire Knight, from Cancer Research UK which helped fund Professor West's study, added:


"Breaking that addiction and becoming a non-smoker is the best thing smokers can do to improve their health."

If you are a smoker the greatest gift you can give yourself and loved ones is to quit. Even if you have tried to quit in the past without success, recall what investment advisors have to say:



"Past performance does not necessarily predict future results."

Most ex-smokers try quitting multiple times before they ultimately succeed. Helpful actions include:


  • Find and magnify a big "Why" to keep you going. Focus on that big "Why" frequently to help you move toward your chosen smoke-free life.
  • Recognize the desire for a cigarette is really a desire to dampen stress and uncomfortable sensations. If you don't give in to the urgings, they will become weaker in about five to 10-minutes and usually disappear a few minutes later.
  • Do something other than smoking to relieve urges. Meditate, exercise, take a walk, call a friend or snack on healthy foods such as raw veggies. Avoid sugary or starchy foods.
  • Recognize that during the first few days after quitting you may experience periods of higher agitation. Tell yourself, "Yes, I'm feeling agitated, but it's only temporary. It's only a thought and feeling. This too shall pass".
  • If you experience agitated thoughts or emotions, simply notice them. Say or think, "Oh, there is a thought about cigarettes" and then turn your attention to the task at hand.
  • Use EFT to tap out cravings. To learn about EFT visit my Stress Solutions, LLC website at http://EFT-MD.com.
  • Seek help from a doctor, hypnotist, EFT practitioner, and / or smoking cessation programs in your community.

My Father's Experience:

In recalling the many attempts my father made to quit smoking before he ultimately succeeded, I'm reminded of President Calvin Coolidge's profound words about the importance of persistence:


"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Be persistent. Better health and emotional wellbeing are ahead.


Warm blessings,


Steve



photo
Stephen Carter
CEO, Stress Solutions, LLC
    


Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog are for informational purposes only. This and all other posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting on this website does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licenced medical professionals for any and all medical or physical conditions.

Article and Resource Links:

National Cancer Institute Smoke-Free Resource Site: http://smokefree.gov/
CDC Factsheet on Smoking: http://tinyurl.com/krhkrv8
CDC Guide for Quitting Smoking Site: http://tinyurl.com/kvje98h

Article Links:

"Anxiety & Depression More Common Among Smokers": http://tinyurl.com/o6myuu5

"Change in Mental Health After Smoking Cessation: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis":
http://tinyurl.com/o6myuu5 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Ways to Lower the Staggering Stress Cost of a Baby

Can the cost of stress related to a new baby really be calculated? Researchers at the University of Melbourne say, "Yes!".

The results are in. Researchers at the University of Melbourne have calculated the cost of time pressure and stress experienced by mothers in the first year of a baby's life. 


So how much does that little bundle of joy cost in stress dollars? A whopping $85,000!


Begin Stress Mastery Practices Early


At Stress Solutions, LLC we suggest expectant mothers and fathers engage in Stress Mastery practices well ahead of a child's birth. While the months before birth can be exciting and encourage greater bonding between mother and father, it also can be a time of uncertainty, worry, and tension. 


Life is disrupted and living patterns change. Any change can bring elevated stress. Even the most loving and caring people can experience moments when they snap at their partner or otherwise say and do things out of character.


Creating a Calm and Loving Space


So what can a couple do to create a calm and loving space before and after birth?



  • Recognize and verbalize the fact that during the time leading up to and beyond birth there will likely be periods of high stress for everyone, including other children in the family.
  • Establish a physical signal - a hand-touch for example - that lets your partner know you're sensing stress linked behavior. This signal must be established and agreed to before you're in the heat of emotion. Applying that touch or other agreed upon signal can then act as a cue for the other person to stop, breathe, and get better clarity. 
  • Engage in stress-lowering practices such as meditation, meridian tapping, bilateral tapping, or simply taking a short walk outside or to another room.
  • Apologize to your partner once the emotional storm has passed. The words, "I'm sorry" can be healing and calming for you both.
  • Smile, touch, and share often. Be present and listen beyond the words. Let your partner know you love them with words, smiles, and actions.

All of these suggestions lead to both people experiencing moments of calm and clarity. Once those moments are experienced, the storm subsides as positive thoughts and emotions begin to flow. 

Remember, calm and loving parents raise calm and loving children. Stress Mastery is a lifelong gift you give to your children and to each other.


You'll find information about the University of Melbourne study below.


With love and light,


Steve Carter


Stress Solutions, LLC
CarterMethod@gmail.com
www.EFT-MD.com
804-677-6772

Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog are for informational purposes only. This and all other posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting on this website does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licensed medical professionals for any and all medical or physical conditions.

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Researchers attach dollar figure to the stress cost of a new baby