We all know someone who is addicted to smoking – either ourselves or an acquaintance. Once an individual starts smoking and develops a habit out of it, quitting can be extremely challenging. Nicotine, the active compound contained in cigarettes, is one of the most addictive drugs in existence. It hijacks our brains’ reward system and creates a state of dependence. Once addiction kicks in, the part of your personality that’s attracted to rebellion, self-medication and pleasure-seeking gains ascendancy. The other part that desires to maintain a healthy lifestyle becomes inconspicuous. But if you wish to stop smoking, meditation can certainly help.
How can meditation help smokers to quit?
Most people smoke cigarettes when they’re stressed out. Others smoke so they can feel normal or blend in. Although people try different techniques to stop smoking, meditation has been scientifically proven to be an effective technique that smokers can implement to quit this unhealthy practice. In one study, a group of smokers were subjected to two years of Transcendental Meditation (TM). 51% of the participants quit smoking within the 2 years, while 30% reduced their frequency of smoking significantly. These results were far better than those of the control group.
There are various ways that stop smoking meditation helps addicts to successfully quit smoking. They include:
- Reducing the major smoking trigger: stress
As stated earlier, stress is a major contributor of smoking. When smokers get anxious or stressed, they immediately feel better after taking several cigarette puffs. They enjoy that brief period of relaxation despite knowing that smoking is hazardous to their health. The truth is, smoking merely covers up underlying issues such as stress and anxiety. If you desire to stop smoking, meditation will effectively help you deal with stress by inculcating more self-awareness and compassion. Less stress means you won’t find a reason to light that cigarette.
- Developing mindfulness
Most smoking habits turn into addictions when the incessant cravings begin. When an individual enters this stage, he/she picks up a cigarette and smokes it without considering its harmful consequences. But when smokers start practicing meditation, they start recognizing their deep-seated emotions and feelings. When a person meditates, they are committing themselves to look at, experience and gradually learn to accept their current mental and physical states, whether good or bad. In the same way, smokers can learn to accept what they are experiencing and how they feel. They can further reshape their behavior using mindfulness. Whether or not you stop smoking at this stage, meditation will allow you to develop more kindness towards yourself and others. We can say that stopping smoking would be a very kind thing to do for ourselves. Gradually, this kindness can gradually can grow into a genuine compassion.
- Boosting your self-control
Researchers have unearthed that the brains of long-term meditators differ from those of non-meditators. When you start meditating, your brain starts re-wiring. Those parts that are responsible for bringing negative emotions such as stress and depression shrink in size whereas regions associated with calmness, compassion, empathy and self-control develop immensely. As your self-control increases, you develop a stronger willpower to stop smoking. Meditation is therefore a viable alternative for those individuals who have tried everything else but failed. Studies have also showed that smokers who start meditating usually end up curbing this habit naturally, without even realizing it.
Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to stop smoking. But if you could find an effective technique to finally quit, wouldn’t you give it a shot? Meditation to stop smoking is a great alternative that is even being accepted by medical experts around the globe. You don’t need a lot to start this meditation program – simply have an intense desire to quit smoking along with a willingness to look at yourself. Try finding a meditation class around you and join it. Alternatively, you could get services from a myriad of professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping drug addicts transform their lives.
Trying to stop smoking? Meditation apps and resources abound. Try the Mindworks – Guided Meditation App and experience the transformative power of daily guided meditation. You will also get access to Mind Talks from authentic teachers such as Tokpa Korlo, a sobriety activist who formerly struggled with addiction.