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Want to quit smoking? See your doctor, try the 4 D's
BY CHRISTY STRAWSER
If your resolution is to quit smoking in 2010, there have never been more resources to help.
"Prioritize based on what could kill you first, so start with smoking," says Bobbi Ebsen, a psychotherapist who handles addiction issues and marriage counseling at the Relationship Institute in Livonia.
A visit to your doctor should be the first step.
"It's still a battle, but medications can relieve the side effects of withdrawal," says Laura Sullivan, pulmonary rehabilitation coordinator at William Beaumont Hospitals.
Sullivan instills the four D's in her patients to get through cravings: delay, deep breathe, drink water, then do something else.
Here are more tips:
Spread the news. Make yourself accountable by telling family and friends your goal. It's hard to light up around people who know you're trying to quit.
Write it down. Commit to keeping a journal that tracks your goal. Write down the stress triggers throughout the day that had you reaching for a cigarette.
Whether it's giving up smoking or some other healthy change you're trying to make, "people lose track of what they do every day and convince themselves they're doing better than they are," says Jennifer Gray, owner of Body Beautiful Boot Camp, which has five locations around metro Detroit. "Fooling yourself is harder when you see it in print."
Get a buddy. Having contact with others reaching for similar goals is crucial for staying motivated.
"It's too easy to let things go if you're on your own," Ebsen says.
Smokers can get a guide to quitting at www.smokefree.gov and group support through Nicotine Anonymous (www.nicotine-anonymous.org), a 12-step recovery program for smokers. You can also call the state of Michigan's quit line at 800-480-7848 for support, tips and free packets of information.
Many local hospitals run smoking-cessation programs, including the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Details are listed at www.mhealthy.umich.edu/tobacco.
Prepare. Before heading out to a place where you know people will be smoking, visualize how you'll get through it.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail," Ebsen says.
Calm your mind. Try using meditation and yoga breathing techniques to get past temptation.