Have you heard the expression “Life just flies by”. I believe this statement to be very true for many of us. It encapsulates in four words, the very essence mindfulness, which is to use our whole being, our feelings, our mind, and be present every moment we spent on this world. Or life will just flies by.
Mindfulness works hand-in-hand with habits and in this post we will discuss about the most powerful of the (bad) habits, smoking. Smoking mindfully is the first step in quitting. Even if you are not a smoker, you can apply mindfulness to other areas of your life which you might want to improve, such as eating mindfully for example. But for today, let’s dive into the world of smoking and addiction.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practise of being aware of yourself, in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress but not only.
Here are some traits of being mindful.
It’s hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it.
Live in the moment.
Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. Find joy in simple pleasures.
Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend. Don’t be over-critical of yourself (or others).
Focus on breathing
When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute helps a lot.
Do you remember when you tried to ride a bicycle for the first time? Have you ever tried to master a new musical instrument?
Most likely, any attempt to synchronize a new set of complex actions are always difficult. But slowly, over time and with endless repetion, certain actions become skills, and those movements like balancing on a bike, start to require less conscious awareness until everything flows so naturally, and they require no effort.
All these automatic movements are guided by one of the most powerful inner forces which drives human behavior. This is the subconscious mind.
The function of your subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data. Its job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed. Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept. This is how habits are built.
- Actions that we do everyday which require very low effort from our brain to achieve are part of our subconsious mind.
- Habits are built based on our subconsious mind.
Mindfulness and smoking
Everything that is in our subconsicous lies deep inside us. And it is impossible to fight with our subconsious mind. Instead we need to the subconsicous actions to the conscious. This can be done by bringing awareness to our actions. The same stands for smoking. This is the first step of quitting smoking.
- Smoke as much as you want but with awareness. Consider smoking like a meditation, but this is the only thing you do.
- Don’t talk on the phone, don’t drink or eat while smoking.
- Then pay attention to only smoking and check-in with yourself. Bring your full focus to that particular cigarette.
- How does that feel?
- How does the cigar look like?
- How does it smell? What are your body sensations?
Don’t be judgemental. Just take your time, smoke slowly and with all your senses. Like nothing else matters.
What to expect
What I expect will happen after a few days or weeks, by bringing awareness to your actions you will one day say “This is non-sense. What is the point?”
This conclusion or any other you may come to is coming from your consious mind. The consious mind questions everything. You might think about it like the police department, but I prefer to think of it like our science department. Scientists bring logic, facts and theories together to create a sense of understanding of this world. In the same way your consious will probably tell you that smoking is bad for your health that it is an addiction a drug that you can do without. This is the first step of getting rid of the addiction.
Getting rid of the addiction does not mean that you quit smoking. Only that you have no need to smoke again.
Smoking mindfully is the first step of quitting smoking and why for every person it takes a completely different time. You need to build that mindfullness first. For some this might take a week for some several months.
Build this awareness until you have no need to smoke anymore.
- Brining mindfulness to our lifes and actions I strongly believe is the way to create purpose and a direction. The act of self-reflecting in an honest and non-judgemental way is how we can surface all those hidden feelings and those habits which are harming us.
- Smoking is probably the best example to use when it comes to mindfulness. The act of pick-up a cigarette and smoking it is deeply engraved into a smokers mind, and until this becomes a consious action it will be very difficult to change such a powerful act.