Can Mindfulness Help You Get Tobacco Free… And Stay That way?
Millions of people who have quit tobacco will tell you — finding ways to deal with the ups and downs of quitting is key. While there are many different methods, there is one that’s been gaining lots of traction: Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a researched-backed method that many people like NFL quarterbacks and stand-up comedians use to reduce stress. For those quitting tobacco, it’s also a powerful way to kick cravings. Simply put, it is an all-around GREAT tool for beating tobacco.
The best part about exercising mindfulness? There is no limit to how many times you can practice per day. Our recommendation? Start small — once or twice a day for a minute at a time and go from there.
Let’s dive into mindfulness and how it can help you conquer tobacco now — and for the rest of your life.
A Mindful Start
Mindfulness uses a combination of breathing and other techniques like guided imagery to help you focus on the present moment. To start, bring your mind to a relaxed and present state. Try imagining yourself in the mountains, on a beach or in the forest. As you place yourself in a relaxing scene, think of how the breeze feels or what the birds sound like.
While you are sensing what it’s like to be in this place, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Be aware of your lungs as they fill with air. Then feel how the air leaves through your mouth.
Negative thoughts may enter your mind, but don’t fight them — simply acknowledge they’re there. Don’t try to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead, focus on how it feels to be present and pay attention to your breathing as the air enters and exits your lungs.
How Do I Fight Cravings?
When a craving hits, it can be difficult to think of anything else.
If you can step away from what you’re doing when a craving hits, do it. Go outside and take a walk. Or do a small chore like the dishes or tidying up. Do whatever you can to bring yourself back to the task at hand.
While you’re doing these tasks, focus your attention on the tiny details of what you see, hear, smell and feel. Notice emotions as they pass through your mind. Don’t judge yourself or your feelings. Just notice them like an interested observer, and let them take their course. By giving nonjudgmental attention to your feelings, you’ll notice that they pass more quickly.
You can also close your eyes and imagine yourself back in your peaceful place — the beach, the forest or the mountains. Imagine the pine smells of a forest, feeling the grains of sand between your toes on the beach or the crisp mountain breeze.
Think of mindfulness as your secret weapon. Take a few minutes each day to develop it, and soon it will be your superpower.
There are many resources for practicing mindfulness — from books to YouTube to smartphone apps. Here are just a few of our favorites.
- Mindful.org: This is a great one-stop-shop for everything mindfulness. Get articles and tips as well as links to articles and guides.
- Calm App: Calm is an app available for download on your smartphone or device. PLEASE NOTE: Calm is a subscription-based app, but there is a FREE resources page. It includes a variety of great ways to get started on your mindfulness journey.
- Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or follow @OKHelpline on Twitter and Instagram.
Quitting In Mind
Many people who quit and stay tobacco free say that mindfulness was key in helping them conquer tobacco. The good news for you? Learning mindfulness isn’t difficult, and you already have what you need to get started — the will to quit!
Remember, practicing mindfulness only takes a couple of minutes, and each time you do it, your cravings lose a little of their power. Plus, mindfulness is proven to help reduce stress in all areas of life.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline
As always, FREE help to quit tobacco is just a call or click away. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is here with the tools, resources and support you need to quit.
Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit OKhelpline.com to get started.