Smoking: have you been thinking about quitting?

The rate of smoking in Australia has gone down over the past decade as many of us have decided that the costs of the habit picked up in our youth is too high.  We want to live longer and healthier lives.  The average life expectancy for people who smoke is at least ten years less than for those who do not, and up to 20 years less for those living with mental illness (Quit, 2017).  

Did you know that smoking actually increases anxiety and stress? The sense of relief felt when a person has a cigarette comes from the fact that they are preventing themselves going into nicotine withdrawal.

People who do decide to quit experience improved physical well-being as the smoking-related damage that has been done to their bodies repairs itself, they have more money at the end of every week, and feel good about protecting their loved ones from the effects of passive smoking.  They feel better as they take back control from their addiction.

Clinical Psychologists can play a key role in helping people to quit.

How Clinical Psychologists can help you to stop smoking:

If you have been thinking about quitting smoking or perhaps have tried and not succeeded, Clinical Psychologists can help you by:

  • creating a non-judgemental environment in which you can explore the function and costs of your smoking
  • providing information about evidence-based treatments including behavioural strategies and pharmacotherapies such as nicotine replacement produces and/or medication
  • assisting with identifying achievable goals and related strategies to support you quitting.
  • acknowledging the challenges to changing behaviour and helping to strategize around managing obstacles.
The next step:

At psych180, our Psychologists have extensive training and experience in assisting people to make changes. Contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

For further information: Quit Smoking

Quit Victoria

 

Breathing Your Anxiety Away

 

Not only is breathing key to our survival, it can be a quick, easy and transportable strategy for relaxing and managing anxiety.

Breathing is something we do naturally, yet many people are not reaping the full benefits of this simple tool. The way in which we breathe greatly influences our physical and mental health.

Breathing deeply, i.e. using the diaphragm to draw and exhale breath, and at a calm rate has been shown to decrease unpleasant physical symptoms of stress and anxiety (including panic), regulate emotions, and assist with feeling more relaxed. It is a useful technique for gaining control when you are suddenly faced with acute anxiety symptoms, but also regular practice and mastery of this skill can be effective for chronic anxiety management. For example, you can decrease the severity, duration and regularity of panic attacks. You may even be able to prevent them from occurring. Relaxed Breathing

So, what kind of breather are you?

A simple way to find out is to sit comfortably, placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Close your eyes and breathe normally.  Which hand is moving the most?  Are you breathing through your mouth or your nose?

If the hand on your chest expanded, with little movement in the one on your stomach, you are a shallow breather.  This style of breathing is typical of people who are stressed and is likely to be contributing to your anxiety.  Count up to three as you breathe in through your nose.  Hold the breath in your lungs for three, before exhaling through your mouth for another three beats.  Repeat! There’s nothing to it.

Taking a minute or two each day to slow your breathing will help you to feel much more in control of your anxiety!