Meditation practices keep smokers from finishing their cigarettes.
Meditation makes you smoke less, moreover, even for smokers who are not going to quit: smokers simply stop finishing their cigarettes to the filter.
Meditation helps a smoker kick the bad habit, even if he wasn’t planning on quitting. Five hours spent on a mindfulness couch for two weeks allowed volunteers to quietly reduce their cigarette smoking by 60%. This is evidenced by studies conducted by American scientists, the results of which they Published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Non-smokers live an average of 14 years longer than smokers. Besides, every smoker is haunted by the sword of Damocles of more than 80 different diseases, and smoking is the number one cause of. The hardest thing for a smoker to do is just quit smoking in the here and now. Mark Twain once said: “Quitting smoking is easy… I’ve done it hundreds of times”. But even the most inveterate smoker can quit, and meditation can be an important tool in this process. How to meditate to quit smoking? If you think you have to sit in a lotus pose and repeat a mantra to do it: “I don’t smoke anymore. I don’t smoke anymore”, – You are sadly mistaken. This type of “meditation” Not only would not weaken the addiction, but it could make it even stronger. It’s like trying to sleep when you have insomnia – the more you try, the worse it is.
The Scientific Rationale for Meditation to Stop Smoking.
Researchers Michael Posner, University of Oregon professor and his former university colleague Yi Yuan Tang The researchers from Texas Tech University in Lubbock decided to work with another group of smokers – those who don’t mind quitting, but don’t even try. They recruited 27 volunteers with an average age of 21 who smoked about 10 cigarettes a day, randomly selected 15 people (11 men and 4 women) and meditated with them for five hours a day for two weeks. The rest were included in the control group, they also received the same number of sessions, only it was not meditation, but general relaxation. Another control group of 33 non-smokers of the same age were used in the experiments – they did not take part in the sessions, but only participated in the testing. There are many forms of meditation – focusing on the void, the chakras, the candlelight, the heartbeat, etc.д. The most traditional of these is the Buddhist “mindfulness” meditation. Most often, the meditator first focuses on the subtle sensation of air touching the nostrils during inhalation and exhalation. Researchers came up with a scientific name for it long ago: Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT). Before and after IBMT and general relaxation sessions for control group participants, volunteers were tested for carbon monoxide levels in exhaled air. Just as known ppm’s serve as an objective measure of the amount of alcohol drunk, these tests objectively show the amount of tobacco smoked.
Tests conducted before, immediately after, and two weeks after the meditation session showed that the subjects significantly (60% on average) reduced their tobacco use. This does not apply to the amount of cigarettes smoked – after all, you can smoke it all the way down to the filter, or you can throw it away after taking just two or three puffs. So before the carbon monoxide tests, many participants had no idea they were smoking less. In the volunteers in the control group, these tests showed no change.
To understand which areas of the brain respond to IBMT, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging. Preliminary imaging showed impaired activity in some brain areas (compared to a nonsmoking control group), indicating impaired self-control. After two weeks of IBMT, their activity had recovered, while that of the control group remained the same.
Perhaps the main takeaway from this work is that IBMT meditation not only reduces stress, but also increases self-control – it is what helped people who were not going to quit smoking, if not to forget about smoking, then at least to limit it significantly.
“We’re not sure how long the effects of smoking cessation will last,” says Professor Posner, “But while this is just the beginning of research, the results are encouraging. Perhaps in order to prolong the effect, the total duration of meditation should be increased”.
One meditation a day for 6 months saves cigarettes
Another area where relaxation can be of great benefit is in the abuse of drugs, alcohol and smoking. People who regularly resort to relaxation take fewer medications and are less likely to have bad habits.
To test the validity of these claims, G. Benson and Dr. R.K. Wallace did a special study.
Nearly 2,000 people were interviewed and trained to become Transcendental Meditation instructors. About 1,000 men and 800 women between the ages of 14 and 78 participated in the study.
On average they are all in meditation for more than 20 months. Participants were asked to recall all the drugs they had taken before the meditation session. Different categories of drugs were also considered, including marijuana, hashish, LSD, alcohol, and smoking.
In the 6 months prior to learning to meditate, 78% had used marijuana and/or hashish. After practicing Transcendental Meditation for 6 months, only 37% continued to use marijuana. After 21 months of regular meditation sessions, only 12% continued to use marijuana, an overall reduction of 66%.
Among those who took LSD, the number of those who used it decreased even more. Before beginning the practice of Transcendental Meditation, about 50% of the total number of participants had taken LSD. During the first three months of meditation, 233 people continued to use drugs, and after 22 months, 97% had completely given up.
In the same survey, participants were asked about drinking and smoking. Before learning meditation, 60% of respondents drank hard alcoholic beverages. After practicing meditation for 21 months, only 25% of them continued to drink.
Approximately 48% of the participants smoked before meditation, and 27% of them “avid smokers” (smoked one or more packs of cigarettes a day). After 21 months of regular meditation practice, there was a significant decrease: only 16% continued to smoke.
Perhaps regular use of relaxation can serve as an alternative to drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. The study found that the subjects stopped selling drugs, discouraged others from using them. They said the pleasure they got from meditation was much greater than after using drugs.
How to meditate to quit smoking.
The essence of meditation is to be fully aware of being in the present moment, here and now, with all your feelings, thinking and emotions. So it’s worth starting simply by smoking every – I repeat again: every! – cigarette intentionally. You don’t need to make a promise to yourself to quit smoking when your mind matures, you will quit on your own without even noticing it. It happens to all meditating smokers – one day you suddenly discover that you haven’t put a single cigarette in your mouth since last Thursday and didn’t even notice it. It’s a miracle! – everyone says.
So, we make a special conscious meditation out of smoking every time (!) Cigarette. How it happens? Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, put everything on the back burner and pull out a pack of cigarettes, concentrating completely on the process. Perform all movements three to four times slower than usual. Have you noticed that smokers almost always smoke on total autopilot? They are talking, writing, reading, communicating while holding a smoking cigarette in their mouth. Finish one and immediately, without realizing what you are doing, reach for the other. Awareness arises only when the ashtray is full or the cigarette burns your fingers.
Autopilot complete! Turn it off completely. Any slightest movement you make while smoking should now be recognized by all your brain cells. Take a cigarette, fully feeling its texture. Examine it, crumple it in your hands for a while, smell it and only then slowly put it in your mouth, feeling the texture of the filter with your lips.
Take out your lighter. There is no need to rush now. Feel it with your fingers, notice the shape and the color, press it, look at the flame that appears and only then bring it to the tip of your cigarette.
Take the first puff, it is the first one and therefore it is the one you should pay special attention to. Inhale the tobacco smoke slowly and with full concentration. Allow it to penetrate as deeply as possible into your mouth, throat, bronchi, and lungs. Regular cigarette tobacco can contain up to 300 flavors and aromas. How many shades can you distinguish now?
The world around you disappears. All of your attention is focused on the taste and smell of tobacco, the sensations the smoke causes in your mouth, throat and bronchi, in your nose and possibly in your stomach. You can close your eyes to get a better feel for that taste and smell.
Now you can exhale slowly, watching the jets of tobacco smoke come out of your mouth and nostrils. Take your time to take your next puff. First, with full concentration, notice the aftertaste of tobacco smoke in your mouth. What it feels like? What emotions does it evoke? What can you compare this sensation to??
Now mentally scan your brain and body. Observe with an impartial observer what processes are going on in your mind. How you feel? Mild dizziness? Dulling of perception? Irritation or peace? Joy or shame? Give yourself time to become fully aware of it.
Manipulate a lit cigarette before your next puff, look at the glowing tip, look closely at the smoke – smell it. What it smells and feels like in your nostrils?
When you are ready, take another puff. Here and now only your open awareness: the smell, the taste, the sensations in your mouth, on your tongue, in your throat, your bronchi, your lungs. Breathe out and focus on the smoke: the color, the shape, the smell, the heat, and the tickle in your mouth. If extraneous thoughts appear in your mind that take you away from the smoking process, pay attention to their appearance and let them go. Go back to the pure feeling of smoking.
That is, you need to smoke your cigarette to the end – to the filter, not distracted for a second, aware of everything that happens to you. And remember – you have to smoke every single cigarette, no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing.
You have smoked it, put it out and stop for a second. What you are feeling now? How your body feels? Head? Mouth? Throat? The Bronchi? Easy? The nose? Stomach? Did the cigarette make you feel different?? See all the changes in you with the eyes of a naturalist doing scientific experiments. Observe everything that you can mark and fix in your mind.
I’m not trying to convince you or manipulate your mind. Getting ethereal bliss from a cigarette? Great! Has it become disgusting? It’s okay, too! Now you have taken a smoke break? And it does. Don’t set any goals for yourself-just observe and record your observations. Meditation has no goals or tasks to accomplish. Meditation is a tool of pure, subtle observation and awareness.
If after a day (week, month) of such conscious smoking of each (!!!) Cigarette, you suddenly find that a few hours (days, weeks) have passed, and for some reason there is no desire to start a new cigarette ceremony, so the meditation has worked.
If even by following all the rules and being fully aware of the process, turning off autopilot and making no exceptions, you continue to smoke and have not even reduced the dose, then something is wrong. This happens in people who subconsciously use the components of tobacco smoke as a self-medication. So there’s something in tobacco smoke that cures you. From what? These conditions most often include depression, certain mental and genetic disorders, and abnormalities. In any case, this is a good reason to see a medical specialist and have an examination.