Letting Go of Bad Habits!

Having once been an avid smoker many, many years ago, I understand the nature of addiction and the potential hardships of breaking any unhealthy behavior pattern. I chose to write about smoking but you can consider any bad habit you might have that you would like to drop.

Next to food, nicotine has proven to be one of the most addictive substances, so if you or someone you care for still clings to smoking, chewing or vaping, read on!

There is so much help available for smokers that even the heaviest can break this unhealthy habit. A good place to start is with your GP, where you can voice your desire to quit and your need for support. You can get gum or patches to help with the physical cravings and counseling, nutrition and acupuncture for the mental/emotional component.

Massage can be a wonderful way to calm your cravings and reward yourself at the same time. While on the table you will enter an altered state of consciousness, if you choose to, which allows body and mind to disengage from the everyday stress of being a new non-smoker. You will feel uplifted, energized and self-assured.

When I decided to quit after almost 20 years of smoking, I planned months ahead because I knew it might be hard. I created a calendar with my proposed quit date and wrote in as many pleasurable activities as I could for immediately after. I adopted a positive mindset and told myself there was simply no way for me to ever smoke again…ever.

When midnight on that date rolled around, there I was smoking a last cigarette and feeling really anxious. I told myself as the deadline passed that I was already a non-smoker and that the worst was over. I had already quit! I cleansed for a couple of days (my first cleanse) and encouraged myself every day by saying over and over; “I’ve already been a non-smoker for two days now, for three days now, for four days now”.

As time passed the physical cravings began to diminish but I continued to need mental and emotional support for many months afterwards. This is where many people fail when they think they can go it alone. All it takes is a stressful event or a casual invitation and you can be right back smoking again.

I absolutely dissociated from smokers and environments where I used to smoke. It’s a well-known fact that we must change our surroundings, social engagements, and friends, if necessary, to stop any habit. There’s too much risk involved for our minds to easily give in.

There’s also the ritual involved in any habit. For smoking, it begins with purchasing the cigarettes and matches or a lighter, then opening the pack, taking out a cigarette, lighting it, taking the first puff, there’s the feeling of holding a cigarette between the fingers and between our lips, how we tap it to loosen the ashes, how we put the cigarette out and how we dispose of them. The oral sensation of smoking also plays a role and is most likely why so many people take to eating more upon stopping, not to mention, food tastes so much better. Find a healthy hobby to replace the habit.

Even later on, I would sometimes dream that I was smoking and wake up in a full-blown panic! As I said, the addictive mechanism is strong and it can be very unsettling when this happens. Just remember, you’re dealing with not only the conscious mind but also the subconscious mind. In reality, you’re making a choice for your health and no amount of “using” dreams can deter you.

If you want to give yourself an enduring gift of better health, I encourage you to quit a nicotine habit and keep in mind the ways that massage can help you succeed. Here are five ways massage can help you be powerful in embracing a healthier life:

  1. Positive reinforcement – You remember that you absolutely can do this!
  2. Altered state of consciousness – Refresh your outlook, think again.
  3. Part of a healthy lifestyle – Very important to see yourself differently.
  4. Calm your cravings – Find your calm and grounded center over and over again.
  5. Massage as reward – We all need a pat on the back, especially when letting go of a bad habit.
Feel Better, Stay Well. Body Dialog Massage.

Long Distance Travel Tips

I blogged about my travel experience to England in 2014 and have provided tips on my Body Dialog Massage Facebook page about how to prepare yourself for your big travel plans. Here are some of the worst mistakes of long distance travel and how to avoid them.

 
Sleep/Wake Pattern
The number one no-no is to decide that no matter what time zone you’re destined for, you will rigidly maintain your sleep/wake pattern until the day you leave. This first mistake is so foolish it makes me cringe to write it. Travel is all about loosening up your schedule to try some new things so start now!
 
A week before you fly, find out the time difference between where you are and your destination and also when the sun rises and sets there at that time of year. Start adjusting your bedtime by a half hour or so a night (within reason) to get you closer to the nighttime hours during which you’ll be sleeping when you arrive.
 
While in-flight try to stay mostly awake if it’s daytime at your destination and mostly asleep if you’ll arrive first thing in the morning. There are multiple sleep aids to help you achieve a decent outcome. I have used Kava kava, valerian root and also melatonin with good results. I have also used Stress/Sleep Formula drops by Desert Willow and Somnolin tablets from Metagenics. Acupuncture can set you up with points to stimulate every hour or so of your flight to help you feel as human as possible upon arrival. Some people find that a neck support pillow can help and some airline seats have little ‘wings’ you can pull out to rest your head against. Sometimes an eye mask can be helpful when your fellow travelers want to look out the window all night or use their reading light. Personally, I take a small travel pillow and put a blanket over my head, which is also a signal that I prefer not to be woken for meals. If you do this make sure your seat belt is loosely fastened outside the blanket.
 
Once you’ve arrived, go to bed at a reasonable time for that time zone and no matter what, avoid long naps for at least the first few days. So if your normal bedtime is 10:00 p.m. do not go to bed at 8:00 p.m. or allow a second wind to have you reading until 1:00 a.m. A quick nap is okay if your head is drooping but longer naps can rob you of precious sleep that night. Again, use a sleep aid if you need to. This really will help your body clock adjust more quickly.
 
Personally I rarely take even an aspirin but with over 40 years of international travel experience, I have found that the travel itself can be incredibly grueling and my body recovers more easily from a little chemical (yes, as mentioned above) or natural help than it does from a severe lack of sleep.
 
Hydration
Here’s a tip from fashion diva, Carolina Herrera: “When I was living in Los Angles, I always booked a moisturizing milk-and-honey massage the day before flying to Spain. It was heaven – I never got dry plane skin or felt stiff from sitting in one position.”
 
Take an empty water bottle on board and go to the galley to get it filled often. Most airlines will do this for you, but not in the cabin where everyone would then want the same thing. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one or two drinks since it will further dehydrate you and contribute to feeling yucky later.
 
Nourishment
Take along some decent snacks from home that you will actually want to eat in-flight in case the meal provided (if there is one!) is not to your liking. Don’t eat everything they provide to get your moneys worth and don’t eat foods you would normally avoid. Food tends to sit in the stomach at altitude and digests much more slowly. You get the picture.

 
Stretching & Moving
Check the airline magazine in your seat pocket for stretches to do while seated and get up when you can to walk up and down and stretch some more. Remember, hydrate, eat light and stretch!

 

 
Kim Cattrall, actor remind us, “I’ve realized that the most important thing I can do to look good is just treat myself well, whether it’s getting a nice long massage or just lying low and not going out every single night”.
 

With just a little attention to these details you can look and feel your best and be ready for your first day of fun and discovery!
 

Feel Better, Stay Well. Body Dialog Massage.
 
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