If you’ve recently decided to quit smoking, first of all — congrats! It’s not always the easiest decision to make, or to stick to, especially if you’ve used smoking as a way to help you deal with stress in the past.
One of the things that makes sticking to a cigarette-free life difficult at times are cravings. Even though cravings typically only last five to 10 minutes, they can feel pretty uncomfortable. While you may be aware of some methods that help ease cravings (using Nicorette’s Coated Ice Mint Lozenges, which help provide lasting craving relief, is one great method), what if there was a way to reduce the stress that can sometimes lead to the craving for a cigarette?
Well, studies are beginning to suggest that there may be a way to do just that — with meditation.
Easing Chronic Stress With Meditation
While research is still ongoing, there has been some very interesting findings around a regular meditation practice and the reduction of chronic stress. Recent research also says that regular meditation practice may possibly induce relaxation, decrease depression, improve sleep, improve pain management, and reduce emotional reactivity.
The best part about meditation is that you don’t have to be some kind of yogi guru to start practicing it — you don’t even need to leave your house! There’s also a myriad of different types of meditation, from mindfulness, to mantra, to guided, to tai chi, so you can pick the one that works best for you and your personality.
How to Start Meditating
If you’re looking for a way to ease the stress that may be contributing to your cigarette cravings, it’s really as easy as one, two, three:
1. Find a quiet place
Whether it’s your bed, a couch, or on a yoga mat, just make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed!
2. Focus your attention
Use your breathing, a word, or an image to help focus and clear your thoughts. Don’t worry if your thoughts wander initially — like any new skill, meditation takes practice. Just try to refocus your thoughts back whenever you notice them getting away from you. In time, this should happen less often.
3. Be open
No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do what you can to stay open and non-judgmental of how “good” you are at it. After all, meditation is meant to ease stress and anxiety, not cause more of it!
No matter what method you decide to use to help ease any stress associated with quitting cigarettes, what matters is that you find something that works for you. And take heart — the worst of your cravings should only last a few days to a few weeks after smoking your last cigarette!