Tuesday, August 30, 2016

5 Library Resources to Help You Stop Smoking

Let's Talk About Smoking

It's no coincidence that smoking is referred to often as a "habit" rather than an "addiction." It is both, no doubt about that, but the habit part is the biggest roadblock to stopping. 

Think of any other activity you do multiple times a day and have done for years. Listening to music, for instance. Now think of stopping all music. No more singing along in the car, no more dancing in the shower or out with friends, and no more quick songs at work to break up the day. Music still exists, other people enjoy it around you (especially that weird lady who sings in the supermarket), but you have to stop the same way you started: because you decided to.

That's what stopping smoking is like. While there are over-the-counter and prescription medications to help you with nicotine cravings (talk to your doctor before using them), few smokers who stop think about all the little triggers they have that drive them back to the habit. Old places, activities, rituals, and other parts of your day have to be changed or avoided. It's a distraction from those triggers and developing new habits that the library can help you with.

The following are five library resources you can use to distract you when you have a craving:

Research (Know your enemy)

No amount of information in the world is going to change your mind to stop smoking until you make the decision yourself. Once you have, though, why not arm yourself with knowledge? Go in-depth with library books and databases such as Medline. If anything, you can find some gross pictures to hold you off one more hour.

Exercise (Get up and move)

You might have heard that stopping smoking causes weight gain, and that's true. Smoking is an appetite suppressor and adding to that, you may replace smoking with snacking. Break that habit with exercise. The library's exercise collection contains dozens of books on activities big and small. When you get those cravings to light up, take a walk or do one of many small exercises found in our book collection.

As with any dramatic health change, check with your doctor if you have any issues or preexisting conditions.

Learn (Express yourself)

Speaking of new habits, why not learn a skill? Mango might be the perfect way to distract yourself with a language lesson. Mango also has a smartphone app (iPhone or Android) so you can learn on the go. Think of all the ways you will be able to express yourself now that you have the lung power to do so!

Test (Practice makes perfect)

I know what you are thinking, what does taking a test have to do with not smoking? This is all about distraction and maybe learning something. Learning Express Library has dozens of practice tests to do, from ACT to ASVAB. All the tests are free and they all take some time to complete that you will not be smoking.

Also, it looks more impressive. When your boss asks what you're up to, instead of taking a cigarette break or taking a quiz about which 80's sitcom character you are, you can say you were trying to get a better SAT score (even if you were just clicking "C" on every answer to see what kind of score that gets you).

If you do feel like learning something instead of seeing how fast you can complete the US Citizenship test, there are post-test answer sheets that will explain the correct answer.

Watch (Simple distraction)

Having those cravings but do not want to do anything active like go for a run or learn something? Watch a video either from our DVD collection or from Access Video. While Access Video does have videos on smoking cessation, maybe you just want to take a few minutes to watch historical footage or true crime videos.

Access Video on Demand (In-Library Use)
Access Video On Demand (Home Use – click link and enter library card number)

Stop (For right now)

No matter if you do any or all of the above or find some other way to fill your time while not smoking, remember this: You are not smoking. Right now, in the present, while you read this, you are not smoking. For the first few weeks of stopping it will be right there in your mind, something you could be doing. (Let's be honest, this topic did not come to me out of thin air.)

You might have noticed in this post I did not say "quit." That's intentional. Any long-term smoker will tell you quitting is difficult. "Never" is a giant word that should be used seldom in life and giving yourself ultimatums can lead to disappointments.

Stopping is easy. You're not perfect. You may have another cigarette or cigar at some point, but for right now you are not smoking and it's easy to not do something. You made that decision and you can make that decision again in the next minute or the next hour or next week when a random craving hits. It's easy to decide to distract yourself.

Just remember that if you need a distraction, the library is here for you.

Oh, and there's always music (Just don't play too loud or you'll hurt your ears.)

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