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How you CAN stop smoking with mindfulness

smoking tied toDo you know that researchers from Yale recently did a study on a 4-week mindfulness training course?

They found it was more effective for stopping smoking than the American Lung Association’s ‘gold standard’ treatment.*

How can that be?

How can that be when we are constantly being told that smoking’s a physical addiction?

How can that be when we’re told the solution is will power, nicotine patches and electronic cigarettes?

Let me level with you. I really don’t know how that can be. But I do know this: I quit through mindfulness practice.

My experience

And I have to be honest with you: I was not by any means a social smoker. I was completely addicted:

smoking dudeIn fact, he first thing I would do in the morning would be to reach for my packet of fags.

And the rest of the day would largely be planned around the intake of cigarettes.

I would be thinking of the next one whilst I was still puffing on the one I had lit.

Sometimes I would smoke faster, just so I could fit two into the allocated work break.

And when I tried to quit by going out without cigarettes or money…

…I would find myself searching the ground for the cast offs of others…

…desperate to somehow fulfill that urge that was raging inside of me.

But as I said, I stopped. I mean I really stopped. No will power, no forcing. No hankering after the odd quick inhale of someone else’s fag!

No planning for one last cigarette before I die on a beach in twenty years time!

No, when I say I stopped, I really stopped.

The benefits of stopping

And here’s what happened almost as soon as I stopped:

  • I felt free
  • I felt clean
  • I could smelll
  • I had more time
  • Food tasted better
  • I no longer smelt of cigarettes
  • I had more money

I could go on – but seriously – do I need to?

The cigarette con

Most smokers I know have tried to quit before – at least once or twice.

And many live their lives with a date in mind of when they’ll actually quit. A date in the future. An avoidance of now.

But actually, that’s where the problem lies. Because if we want to stop smoking, we need to stop now. We need to live moment by moment in a state of not smoking.

Broken cigarette

And rather than giving in to the cravings, or dulling them with a substitute, we need to experience them – to see them for what they are.

And this is what mindfulness allows us to do.

How mindfulness works

Mindfulness allows us to see the arising of the craving. It creates space around the craving so we can distance ourselves from it. And it allows us to see it’s true nature.

And by some crazy mindfulness magic, that in itself is enough!

Now at Make Mindfulness Work, we lead courses in stopping smoking.

But here we’re going to give away our biggest secret – the main practice we use to help people stop smoking.

presentAnd it ain’t gonna cost you a penny!

Think of it as an early birthday present!

(Or a late one for that matter!)

All we ask in return is that you leave a comment below, telling us about your experience of the practice.

Stopping Smoking – The Foundation Practice

So first of all, every day, you need to dedicate one cigarette to this practice.

And it needs to be one you have a bit of time around. One where you can be alone and quiet.

And ideally you would do this at the same time each day.

So let’s begin:

First, sit down and place the cigarette packet in front of you – on a table, a chair, a rock or a stone! But in front of you.

Make sure you have a lighter. Then try and get comfortable.

And then follow these instructions:

Before Smoking:

  • Scan through your body. Make a note of how you are feeling. Then contact your breath.
  • Without altering your breath, just be aware of three full cycles of your breathing.
  • Look at your cigarette packet. Read any warning labels. Just be aware of it.

Cigarette-packet

  • Be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.
  • Pick up the packet. Feel it. Smell it. Put it back down.
  • Be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.
  • Pick up the packet. Take out a cigarette. Put the packet down with the cigarette lying on top.
  • Be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.
  • Pick up the cigarette. Feel it. Smell it. Put it back down.

Cigarette-packet

  • Be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.
  • Pick up the cigarette. Feel it. Smell it. Light it without inhaling.
  • Holding the cigarette, be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.

During Smoking:

  • Inhale slowly. Be aware of the sensations of inhaling. Feel the taste. Smell the smell.
  • Holding the cigarette, be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.

put out your cigarette

  • Exhale slowly. Be aware of the sensations of inhaling. Feel the taste. Smell the smell.
  • Holding the cigarette, be aware of one full cycle of your breath. Notice any feelings that are arising.
  • Repeat until you are ready to put the cigarette out.
  • Notice how much you leave on the cigarette before you put it out.
  • And be aware of one full cycle of your breath before you finally stub it out.

put out your cigarette

After Smoking:

  • Scan through your body. Make a note of how you are feeling. Then contact your breath.
  • Without altering your breath, just be aware of three full cycles of your breathing.
  • Make a mental note of how you found the practice

Theory

It’s kind of obvious really, but what we are doing is making conscious, the mostly unconscious process which is smoking.

Or, in other words, we are becoming mindful of the process of smoking.

And after than, we’re just letting mindfulness work its’ crazy magic.

A seeker asks the master, “Can I smoke while meditating?”
“No,” scolds the master angrily.
Another seeker then asks, “Can I meditate while smoking?”
“Of Course!” replies the master knowingly!

Like this post? Do you know we’ve just launched a Quit Smoking With Mindfulness Course?

Why not check it out – it could be just what you need to stop smoking!

* Mindfulness Training for smoking cessation: results from a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 119(1-2):72-80


1 Comment

  1. Phillip May 14, 2014 at 4:56 am #

    Ok I will try this today.

    Reply

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