Mindfulness to Quit Smoking

Once you’ve developed a nicotine dependency, it’s difficult to quit. What may have started out as having a few weekend puffs at the local bar has transformed into an unshakable habit. And once you try to beat that habit, the grasp of tobacco dependence holds you tight. Letting go of that grip will take some resilience and patience with the process and with yourself. But whatever action you choose to quit smoking, it’s important to know that it has worked for others and that even if it doesn’t work for you, keeping trying until you find something that does. And the first part of finding that action or actions which will help you quit is really being aware of yourself and the cigarette in your hand.

Be Aware of Yourself

Awareness is something we take for granted. We often think we’re aware, but really, we’re just reacting or responding to whatever’s in front of us. We’re on autopilot, which is why it’s difficult to recognise why we want that cigarette. It makes us feel better, sure. But how did smoking become something we need instead of something we could choose? Nicotine dependency may be the obvious answer, but the point is to acknowledge that every time the need to smoke arises. And from there, you can start practicing quit smoking mantras, and mindful smoking.

Mindful Smoking

Over the past decade, the term “mindfulness” has gained traction in the popular culture mindset and is typically linked with meditation. But before jumping headlong into the meditative arts, get familiar with mindfulness first. Mindfulness is about examining the moment you’re in, questioning what’s happening around you, what you are feeling, and why you are feeling it. Awareness, on the other hand, brings you back to the moment so you don’t float off in the thoughts and observations of mindfulness. When applied to smoking, the practice is known as mindful smoking. 

Mindfulness and Awareness

Here’s an example of the differences between mindfulness and awareness. You’re at a work meeting and you start practicing mindfulness. Your boss is addressing the team. How does she sound? Is she nervous or angry? How are your colleagues? One colleague looks upset. Is it because of work or something personal? How does the room make you feel? Then your boss asks you a question and you’re caught off guard because you were too busy practicing mindfulness. This is where awareness reminds you to stay in the moment, focus on what you need to be aware of now whilst gently observing and questioning your current experience of the situation. Maintaining this balance of awareness during mindfulness takes practice. However, using mindfulness to quit smoking will be one of the best mental tools at your disposal.

Practicing Mindfulness to Quit Smoking – Before

Practicing mindfulness can take a bit of adjusting because it requires you to switch your brain over to observation mode. Before you light up, take a step back and ask yourself what you’re feeling. The goal is not to make you feel guilty or to even stop you from having the cigarette you’re about to have, it’s just to prompt self-awareness. Do you feel you need a break from what you’re doing? Are you stressed? Are other people around you about to smoke? 

Practicing Mindfulness to Quit Smoking – During

Now focus on what you’re feeling while you smoke. You’re feeling stressed, why? Is it because you’re unhappy with your circumstances or relationship? Or are you smoking simply because it’s time for a cigarette break? Why? How does it make you feel? Does it make you feel relaxed? What would happen if you didn’t get that smoke break? You don’t have to come up with clear answers, just accept whatever responses and feelings you observe. Mindful smoking is about opening a door to understanding yourself and embracing where you’re at in any given moment. And it’s with that open door, you can start to tackle your nicotine dependency. Now add quit smoking mantras while you smoke.

Quit Smoking Mantras

Quit smoking mantras are phrases you can repeat which help reprogram your mind towards quitting smoking. The struggle to quit largely comes from the mind; you’ve probably tried to quit in the past and have felt your tobacco dependence kick in as you start craving a cigarette and eventually succumb to its call. Finding mantras to repeat to yourself will positively code your mind, allowing subconscious receptiveness to advance your quit smoking journey. When you tell yourself quit smoking mantras, acknowledge what you’re doing now, because you need to own that action first. Then follow it with how you will change. Here are some examples: 

I’m smoking now, but this can be my last one if I choose.

I like the feeling of inhaling the contents of this cigarette, but I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to stop.

I enjoy the time out I’m getting from this cigarette, but at the cost of my health. I can stop smoking.

As basic as these statements are, repeating anything like this combined with mindfulness helps you break nicotine dependency. Get creative. Make up your own mantras. You are the architect of what works best for your mind.

Practicing Mindfulness to Quit Smoking – After

Now focus on what you’re feeling after the cigarette. Do you feel calmer? Do you feel guilty? Why do you feel guilty? Do you feel uninspired to go back to whatever you were doing? The point of all the questions through each phase of each cigarette you smoke is that it builds a connection with yourself and with your subconscious. You’re becoming mentally stronger, and it’s that mental edge which will help you quit smoking for good.

Keeping it Up

Repetition is the key to any good habit or goal. Mindful smoking can feel like a chore, especially when all you want to do is not think about it. By committing to mindfulness each time you smoke though, it gets easier, plus you’ll find your self-awareness increases in other areas of your life. By mastering mindfulness, the unseen negative mental elements which connect you with wanting to smoke begin to carry less power, and those mindfulness questions you ask yourself begin to offer solutions for breaking away from tobacco dependence.

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