Many people who quit smoking find mindfulness helps them cope with cravings and work through stress and depression.
Mindfulness is one more way to help you manage withdrawal. Practicing mindfulness can be hard. It is a skill that can take time and practice to get the benefits. But trying to be mindful in your daily life can help you care for your whole self: mind, body, and soul.
Mindfulness is slowing down to pay attention to what’s going on around you at the moment. It is being fully aware of the thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings inside you, plus what you see, hear, touch, and smell around you. Mindfulness means letting the present moment be what it is, whether good or bad.
Fact: The worst withdrawal symptoms only last a few days to a couple of weeks. Stay strong!
Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods and other techniques, such as guided imagery, to relax the body and mind. Guided imagery allows you to use all your senses to direct your imagination to a relaxed, focused state. Mindfulness is a skill you can practice in all areas of your life. Mindfulness can:
- Help you manage nicotine cravings or feelings of withdrawal when you are quitting smoking.
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Increase positive emotions and enjoyment in daily life.
- Encourage healthier eating habits.
- Improve relationships.
If you have a busy schedule, it can be hard to slow down and notice the little things. A great way to start practicing mindfulness is to set aside time every day to slow down, pay attention to your breathing, and “reset” yourself. Setting aside even one minute, several times a day, can have a big impact.
Stop. Breathe. Think. Sometimes all you need to de-stress is a time-out.
Using Mindfulness in Your Quit Journey
Being mindful can help you get past a craving. If a craving hits, try to:
- Stop, take a breath, and notice what’s going on right now. How does your body feel? What thoughts are you having? Notice what is happening and take in the experience.
- Imagine your craving like an ocean wave. It might feel like it gets bigger and bigger. But eventually it will become smaller and less intense, just like a wave.
- Recognize the physical feelings in your body that mean you’re becoming stressed. Take a moment to step away from what you’re doing and notice your breathing.
- Take a walk outdoors. Walk slowly and really focus on being there. Notice what you see, hear, and smell.
- Involve yourself fully in something you enjoy, like a hobby. You’ll get positive effects from keeping your brain busy and having something else to think about instead of the craving.
- Take a journey in your mind. Think of yourself at the beach or in a garden or the mountains…anywhere you want. Close your eyes and think about what it would feel like to be there right now. Enjoy all the little things in this beautiful place. Focusing on something else can help you get through your craving easier.