Can you smoke mindfully?
That seems like quite the contradiction. Can you smoke mindfully, and what exactly does that mean?
Participants in the Mindfulness Training for Smoking (MTS) groups walk in the door wanting to quit. But they don't walk in already quit. Understanding that fact I fully realize that during the group break, participants will go outside and smoke. In fact I will even call it a "smoke break."
Not at all. First I acknowledge what is true. They are here because of a nicotine addiction. But instead of smoking as if on autopilot, I ask them to change the way they smoke. Do it mindfully.
This means smoking outside, alone, with no distractions and without talking to anyone in person or on the phone. Smoke with complete awareness of what you are doing. Use all your senses and even imagine the smoke particles entering into your lungs and following them to your heart and throughout your body. Notice the experience in as much detail as possible.
By smoking mindfully it loosens the bonds between smoking and former life patterns, like talking on the phone. It serves as one more mindfulness practice during the day. The more this is practiced the more you will be able to maintain mindfulness for more and more of the time.
In MTS participants learn to identify triggers, and with the development of mindfulness and other skills, put some space between that trigger and the automatic reaction to smoke. The group shares their experiences normalizing each's person individual responses.
Viktor Frankl said "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies the opportunity for growth and freedom." The more one practices mindfulness exercises and meditation, the wider the space between a trigger or urge and smoking. Until eventually, the smoking stops completely.
I'm available to talk more about how MTS can help you or someone you care about stop smoking.