Just under three percent of smokers who try to quit without aids are successful. If you use nicotine chewing gums or patches, for example, you can double your chance of success – but then only six out of a hundred will achieve their goal. There are also many other methods, tricks and aids that are supposed to help you quit smoking.
To find out what it really helps scientists from the universities of Texas and Oregon have examined all published studies on the topic and the results in an article in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences published . They come to the conclusion that anyone who wants to quit smoking should start meditating .
Does meditation help with quitting smoking?
This is how mindfulness meditation works
Create a calm atmosphere and take around ten minutes.
Sit upright in comfortable clothing on a chair or firm pillow. Your shoulders and face are relaxed, your hands rest on your thighs or in a bowl on your lap.
Close your eyes, focus your attention on your body. Feel where your body is connected to the floor or seating. Feel the natural heaviness of your body.
Concentrate fully on your breathing for a while. Breathe into your stomach and feel your abdominal wall: it bulges out when you inhale and decreases when you exhale.
Now bring a beautiful picture to your inner eye: a forest, a beach, an ocean, whatever comes to mind. Linger there, look around carefully, imagine the noises there too.
The exact technique can be learned in courses and then applied at home. Providers are adult education centers, church educational institutions, alternative practitioners and doctors.
A study in which students were divided into two groups proved to be one of the most effective: one half was supposed to meditate five times a week for half an hour – the other half did normal relaxation exercises at the same time. There were smokers and non-smokers in both groups. The aim of the meditation was to strengthen self-control, which is impaired in addicts but which is crucial for successfully quitting smoking. None of the participants knew about the aim of the study.
After two weeks, the scientists recorded the number of smokers smoked cigarettes. There was no change in the group doing the relaxation exercises. It was different with the smokers who meditated: They smoked 60 percent less on average.
Unconscious smoking cessation
The curious thing about it: “The students changed their smoking habits without noticing it,” said one of the study authors Yi-Yuang Tang, professor of psychology at the University of Texas. “If we asked them about their smoking habits, they responded intuitively, for example, with 20 cigarettes a day. When they looked and did the math, they noticed that they had only smoked 10 cigarettes in the last few days. ”
Before meditation can become an integral part of smoking cessation, the effect has to be proven in further, larger studies. If it is then equally effective, mindfulness meditation could become an integral part of smoking cessation – and significantly improve the previously poor chances of success for smokers.