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  • Writer's pictureRyan Luby

The healthy habit every smoker does, that you don’t

Updated: Apr 4, 2018

I have talked to a lot of smokers and the overwhelmingly common response they have about smoking is about how stress-relieving it is.

I have heard people even say they think it’s gross, and disgusting but it’s just such a release that they do it anyway.

There is an extremely common connection between smoking and stress-relief and somehow many smokers feel that smoking actually helps them relax.

And they’re right.

But why? I wanted to know why.

Sure there are some addictive properties in cigarettes but that isn’t enough to make this habit so common and even if it was why does everyone relate smoking to stress-relief.

It’s not because of any addictive ingredients, so it must be something else.

One day it hit me. I think I know why smoking is so relaxing..

So I started looking into cigarettes a little more to see if any other ingredients were associated with stress-relief and relaxation to try and disprove my hypothesis before I went any further.

I was excited as search after search nothing turned up.

So what is it? Are all smokers just dillusional and making excuses. Why is smoking relaxing and how?

I would argue the most addictive aspect of smoking has nothing to do with a cigarette itself or any of the ingredients… The reason smoking is not only addictive but also relaxing is because when you smoke it is the only time in your day that you are practicing deep breathing.

And most people don’t ever practice breathing at all, they just assume since we can do it without thinking, there’s no reason to practice. You’re wrong.

And any smoker could tell you the amazing feeling of deep breathing. The thing is, most smokers think the feeling they are experiencing has everything to do with the cigarette when the truth is it’s primarily a result of the breathing itself.

See, our unconscious breath that we do mindlessly is usually a more shallow, fast-paced breath. But when you practice breathing deeply, you instantly slow your heart rate, lower and stabilize your blood pressure and reduce tension in the body.

Whether you are a smoker or not you should practice breathing every day. As someone interested in health I am especially interested in low-risk and cheap ways to improve our health, and breathing is by far the simplest way to do so.

If you are a smoker try taking the same breaths you would to smoke, without a cigarette and see how you feel. Keep in mind the buzz you get from the cigarette is obviously not going to be there but I bet a lot of the same stress-relieving feelings will.

Breathing is the only thing we do unconsciously, that if done consciously could immediately change our state and improve our health. And there are amazing short term and long term benefits of breathing.

Think about it, if you took a few breaks a day just for a minute or two to take deep breaths, working to make each breath deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular how would you feel?

This is an easy health tip that every smoker has been experiencing since the first time they smoked, and anyone can easily take advantage of the stress-relieving benefits... minus the cigarettes. Give it a try.

Video: Dr Weil - 4-7-8 Breath: the benefits & demonstration

Article: Harvard Health - Relaxation techniques

Video: Max Storm - Breathe to Heal

Article: Psychologytoday - Science of slow deep breathing

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