Nobody can deny that smoking is deadly. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable deaths all over the world and negatively affects almost every organ in your body.
So why, then, do people continue to do it?
There are several reasons. Sometimes it’s social pressure – everyone is doing it, and you want to fit in.
Many people take up smoking as a way to relieve stress, and this quickly snowballs into addiction.
Everyone is different and will respond differently.
One method that many find helpful and effective is meditation. It helps you quit your smoking habit in a few different ways.
Regardless of how you get started, it’s extremely hard to quit, and the longer you keep going, the harder it gets.
Much of the time, people get to the point where they don’t even want to smoke anymore, but they simply can’t stop.
Overcoming Smoking Addiction: Why is it hard to quit smoking?
Even though everyone knows it’s bad for you, quitting is so hard that many aren’t able to do it for many years, or even at all.
The reason it becomes too hard to quit comes down to science and biology.
Tobacco is an addictive substance, and as you consume more of it, your body will crave it.
You’ll respond to the cravings by smoking, only to build stronger cravings over time.
It quickly spirals out of control, and quitting becomes difficult because quitting becomes a negative experience.
You’ll experience withdrawals as your body lacks what it craves for a time. The more addicted you are, the worse this will be when the time comes to quit.
The thought of this difficult and uncomfortable process is enough to keep many people smoking regularly for years despite not wanting to.
How can meditation help smokers quit?
When you think about quitting, meditation probably isn’t what first comes to mind. There are popular things like the patch, the gum, etc. These are effective for some, but they are a less than natural approach.
Meditation works in a few different ways to help smokers quit:
This is true of meditation overall. When done correctly, it will reduce stress for anyone. For smokers, this may help them crave cigarettes less often if they were only doing it to relieve stress.
Cigarettes are only temporary stress relief. You feel the relief at the moment, but it doesn’t last.
With regular meditation, you’ll eventually start to feel less stressed overall as you begin learning how to accept your surroundings and circumstances.
With less stress hounding on you regularly, you’ll have fewer occasions where you’re tempted to pick up a cigarette.
Much like relaxation, mindfulness is a good thing to have in your life regardless of whether or not you find yourself addicted to cigarettes.
However, the way mindfulness transforms your life may just help you leave smoking in the past.
Many people go about their day on autopilot. They let things happen without giving them a thought, and this includes reaching for a cigarette in times of stress or cravings.
Mindfulness teaches you to be more aware of your thoughts, actions, and emotions.
Becoming more away helps you manage everything better. By accepting your feelings and allowing yourself to embrace them, you’ll be able to more easily change your behavior.
For example, rather than reaching for a cigarette out of habit, you’ll be able to catch this impulse before it happens and choose something different instead.
Meditation changes your brain in positive and effective ways.
One of the biggest changes it causes pertains to self-control. It’s been shown to enhance the connectivity between the regions of the brain that link to self-control.
For many, it’s a lack of self-control that so often stops them from quitting. They may very well want to stop, but they can’t control themselves when a craving comes along.
If meditation is effective for you, it may begin to change your self-control before you even realize it.
Soon, you won’t find yourself reaching for the cigarette so automatically.
How using meditation to quit smoking can be beneficial?
If you’ve chosen meditation as a means to help you quit smoking, you’ll experience many other benefits as well.
Quitting your habit is a bonus when you consider the amazing things meditation can do for you and your life:
- Enhances empathy. Meditation can fire neural connections that regulate positive emotions, such as empathy and kindness. It can change the way you look at people, and ultimately how you treat them.
- Improves cognition. Studies have shown that regular meditation improves many areas of the brain, including problem-solving and decision-making.
- Reduces stress. Smoking isn’t the only negative side-effect of stress. Stress can cause you to gain or lose excessive amounts of weight, it can lead to anxiety and depression and negatively impact your relationships. Meditation helps relieve stress in all areas of your life.
- Improves emotional health and wellbeing. Along with cognition, meditation can improve your self-image and sense of self-worth. Meditating helps you become more mindful and aware of yourself and your emotions.
This lets you connect better with your own mind and repair any negative thoughts that had been permeating.
Regular meditation has been found to reduce the likelihood of developing depression and other mood disorders
- Increases attention. Meditation forces you to focus on the present and be in the moment.
Regular practice puts the mind in harmony with itself. It can help you pay better attention to your day-to-day life while increasing concentration.
These are some of the main benefits you will experience when you add regular meditation into your day.
Keep at it, and you’ll find your life will improve overall in multiple ways.
Meditation to Quit Smoking
There are many types of meditation, all of which are practiced differently and bring different results and benefits – though, at their core, they are still meditation.
You can play around with the following types of meditation and see which ones you best respond to.
Sleep meditation is when you achieve a state that is between being asleep and awake. It’s known as putting yourself in a “yogic” sleep, where your body is entirely relaxed and “asleep,” but you are mentally aware and alert.
This type of meditation essentially allows you to achieve maximum relaxation while remaining aware and able to focus on the relaxed state of your body.
The easiest and most common way to practice sleep meditation is to use a guided audio session. They are usually around 40 minutes long.
A “subliminal” message is a concept or affirmation that surpasses your conscious mind and goes straight into your subconscious.
Many associates this idea with science fiction or supernatural stories, but the concept is a real one.
These hidden messages are inserted into music, for example, just below your level of hearing.
As you listen to these subliminal tracks over and over, your mind will begin to accept the affirmations and ideas as true.
This may be particularly effective for those who wish to quit smoking as you can instill messages of strength, self-control, and whatever else through the subliminal affirmations.
This method of meditation is one of the most common and widely practiced. Mindfulness helps you develop a better sense of self and your identity. This is achieved through regular, focused meditation.
To do this, simply set aside some time where you can focus and think of nothing else. You’ll want to ensure you can stay very still for the duration of your session, so find a location and a comfortable position.
For many, this means sitting up straight, legs crossed, and arms at rest.
For the duration of your session, try to focus only on your own breathing, and don’t become distracted by anything else.
Start by committing to five minutes a day. Soon, you can increase it to ten minutes, and perhaps add a second session at the end of the day.
Once you’ve mastered the meditation, an ideal session is 20 minutes each day. Doing this regularly will begin to increase your mindfulness, and you’ll reap the benefits in many areas of your life.
This is a unique type of meditation that puts your mind into a natural and effortless state of calm and rest. It’s often associated with gaining wisdom. While it’s not a type of meditation that uses chanting, it does involve the use of mantras.
A mantra is a specific thought that is suitable and beneficial to you. The mantra is used to help the mind settle down.
In transcendental meditation, the mantra is simply a sound and not a word or phrase as with other forms of mantra meditation. This creates a razor-sharp focus and quiets the mind.
For someone struggling to quit smoking, this type of meditation is extremely useful for reprogramming your mind and finding the calm, quiet strength it takes to quit for good.
Scientific Proof on Quitting Smoking
Regardless of why you’re unable to kick the habit, there are so many potential methods that can help you quit. Some are backed by science, and some have only anecdotal evidence.
If something works for someone, then that’s great. However, not everything is proven.
One method that does have some scientific proof for its effectiveness is transcendental meditation. An extensive study was conducted on this method that lasted more than two years.
The study compared two groups – one that attempted to quit using transcendental meditation, and another that tried to quit without practicing the technique.
By the end, the study demonstrated that those who were practicing transcendental meditation had higher rates of quitting and even a decrease in smoking than the group that didn’t practice.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can mindfulness meditation help you quit smoking?
In short, yes, it can help. It’s ‘not a magical, easy solution, and there’s no guarantee.
However, there is much evidence to support its ability to help some people. Everyone responds to meditation differently, so it will affect everyone on different levels.
However, the way it alters your brain and shifts your attitude. Also, perspective can all help you reduce stress naturally and gain more self-control to help you quit.
Can you hypnotize yourself to quit smoking?
Yes, it’s possible to do this. Self-hypnosis is one thing you can try. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and relax.
Focus on taking deep breaths and transporting yourself to a tranquil, relaxing place.
You can try to achieve hypnosis by counting backward from ten. Once you’re in the right state, you can start suggesting to yourself that you quit smoking. To come out of the hypnotized state, count back up to ten.
If you’d rather not do it yourself, you can have someone else hypnotize you who knows what they’re doing.
Ultimately, it will have the same effect – you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, and your brain will have been pushed in the direction of the suggestion that was made – in this case, to quit smoking.
If you want to know more about hypnosis, check this out: What is hypnosis?
Can quitting smoking kill you?
When done safely and properly, quitting smoking won’t kill you. However, quitting a heavy and extreme addiction to smoking can have negative effects on your body.
If done carelessly and left unchecked, these effects can cause death.
If you want to quit, do your research and consult your doctor. Follow the advice of all medical experts in the method of quitting you want to try.
What is the best way to stop smoking?
There is no one single way that is a guaranteed fix for everyone. However, some methods are more effective than others.
The patch is a popular method that has worked for many people.
As outlined in this article, proper, regular meditation is also extremely effective in naturally quitting smoking.
Are there medications available to help you quit smoking?
Yes, there are a variety of medications available to help you quit smoking.
If meditation alone isn’t working well for you, your doctor may be able to prescribe any number of medications that are proven to assist in smoking cessation.