National No Smoking Day

man breathing and exhaling breath on a cold morning

This month, we are focusing on some important national days to recognise:

  • 10th March – no smoking day
  • 11th – 18th March – nutrition and hydration week

When I saw these, I immediately started to think of the course that myself and Leanne met on, and each gained our nicknames (Pace and Dasher – stories for another time!). Bear Grylls, and all survival experts speak of the importance of  OXYGEN – WARMTH – WATER – FOOD for the basics of survival.

I thought this was quite fitting for our themes for March, since we need oxygen for both breathing and warmth:

BREATHING WELL (no smoking)

DRINKING WELL (hydration)


Basic human needs to be at our optimal health! Even when these things are in excess for most of us, it can be a struggle to get right, so hopefully this blog will have some useful reminders on how to improve on them!

I’ll start with why smoking; and now ‘vaping’ are such important issues. It seems that smoking has thankfully been reduced MASSIVELY; but just in case you are battling the addiction, as some of our team have done (and announced the very REAL difficulties of letting that habit go!); here are the main health issues related to smoking.

When you smoke: Carbon monoxide is inhaled and enters your bloodstream, decreasing the amount of oxygen that is carried in the red blood cells. It also increases the amount of cholesterol that is deposited into the inner lining of the arteries which, over time, can cause the arteries to harden. Nicotine also increases blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries (vessels that carry blood). This can all lead to heart disease, artery disease and possibly heart attack. 

The BENEFITS of quitting smoking:

Of course, the MENTAL challenges of quitting, may not always be so clear cut, so sometimes we need to do some extra inner searching for WHY we smoke, and how best to replace those needs with long term and realistic solutions.

How to quit smoking

  • Plan your quit and talk about
  • Remain accountable (buddy system)
  • Save money (The average smoker would spend around £180-200pm on cigarettes!) Imagine the flights we can get for that!
  • Quit with a friend
  • Identify the cause of triggers: drinking/ socialising/ talking on the phone etc,.
  • Stay busy (cravings last 5-10mins)
  • Replace the habit: chewing gum, walking, squeezing a stress ball, deep breathing.
  • Mindful routines: yoga, meditation, breathing techniques.
  • Workout the stress
  • Nicotine replacement therapy

Some triggers are easier to plan for than others. Often, the most difficult triggers to sidestep are emotional in nature, and can range from experiencing stress and anxiety to feeling happy and satisfied.

Let’s take a moment to look at the most common replacement: VAPE

Pros and cons of VAPE

It seems a great way to replace the smoke and Carbon Monoxide and Nicotine associated with smoking.  However, e-cigarettes and tobacco products contain many dangerous toxins. The best thing you can do for your health is to quit the habits entirely.

Don’t spend the rest of your life chained to a nicotine addiction. Thousands of people kick the habit every year, and you can be one of them. It may not be easy, but you can do it!

Breathing technique to repair the mind and body

I would think the ONE BEST tip to help with mind and body repair and recovery, is breathing. Mass benefits for very fast and simple and ‘non spiritual’ techniques.

I am a big fan of Wim Hof’s style of breathing, to quickly and easily increase oxygen in the body, release happy hormones, improve immunity, and also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (the one that RELAXES AND REPAIRS YOU!)

Try just one or two rounds, and see what you think!! (Even better with some relaxing music on in the background.)  Very simply, his technique comprises of the following:

  • Sitting somewhere, or lying, in case you feel dizzy. Relaxing and becoming mindful of your breathing.
  • Breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth, going for deep breaths into the belly each time you do this.
  • Do 30 x breaths in this way. Then take a full breath in and all the way out.
  • Take one big breath in, and then release to around 70%. Hold this one for as long as you can. (Maybe 30-120s depending on your lung capacity etc).
  • When you cant hold any longer, breath in and hold for 10sec at the top of the breath before letting it all the way out slowly. Taking a few seconds rest, and then going into your next round.
  • He suggests 4 rounds of this 30 breath cycle. And you can begin to set intentions as well. Perhaps on each breath in you TAKE IN joy, or healing; and on the exhales you would RELEASE anger, or fear etc.
  • I find it so easy and VERY effective for an immediate lift in energy, spirits, and clarity of mind!

Watch the video above where Liz show’s you how to do the Wim Hof breathing technique. Please have a go and let us know how you are get on!

If you are a smoker looking to quit or want to help a friend or family member quit you can refer to the NHS resources for help and support information.

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