Can Meditation Help You Stop Smoking?
Meditation has been widely studied and shown to be a powerful tool to help stop smoking cigarettes, (as well as most other addictive habits). While meditation has innumerable health benefits, I think the primary reasons it is an effective tool for quitting smoking boils down to 3 main points:
- It raises your awareness.
- It increases willpower and resilience.
- It helps you stay positive in the face of challenge.
Meditation Raises Your Awareness
First up is your level of awareness. While it may not happen overnight, one of the primary benefits of meditation is its ability to help you to become more self-aware and begin to operate at a higher level of consciousness.
As you raise your energy and move into higher levels of consciousness, you stop feeling trapped in your negative habits. Smoking begins to seem more like a choice the ‘old you’ used to make, and less like an appealing activity you want to do now.
For some, this change can happen instantly. A sudden shift in perspective may help you to become acutely aware of how smoking deterioates your health and relationships, and cause you to create a strong aversion from which you never go back.
But, for many people, raising self-awareness takes time and patience. It may be a gradual, stop and go, feeling, as you first start to think about quitting, then try and fail, and repeat, until gradually the mental stamina you’ve built during meditation starts to kick in and tip the scales in your favor. That brings us to the second point…
Meditation Increases Willpower and Resilience
Whenever you’re trying to break a bad habit and start good ones, you’re going to need to get through a few bumps and obstacles along the way.
There is a gap between wanting to do something, and actually having the level of commitment and follow-through to make that desire a reality. This is where willpower and resilience come in.
We, by default, will always move towards our habits, so it takes a strong force to resist a strong habit like smoking. As you build up a meditation practice, you’ll find that your mind becomes stronger, and more able to resist the urges that once drove you to smoke.
Again, this doesn’t happen overnight. Just as you would gradually build muscle by going to the gym and lifting weights, meditation will gradually build your mental stamina and endurance, helping you to overcome the urges when they arise.
Meditation Helps You Stay Positive
Perhaps most importantly, a consistent meditation practice will help you to maintain a calm, centered, and positive state of mind.
If you are trying to quit and addictive habit like smoking, then this presence of mind is an essential skill to develop. As you re-orient yourself towards the positive aspects of your life and learn to find joy within you, you become less dependent on cravings that stem from an external source.
Related Post: Does Meditation Make You Happier?
In the short term, this helps you kick the habit by remaining focused on your goal to quite, but over time it also means that smoking will gradually become less relevant for you. You simply won’t have the same strong cravings, because your mind detaches from the act of smoking, and you begin to dissociate cigarettes and happiness, as you find more and more joy emanate from within you.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, you may want to try this guided hypnosis meditation to stop smoking.