Get started right away:
Accept that you are addicted to smoking.
Accept that you can change.
Make an appointment with a doctor to discuss quitting smoking.
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling.
Practice mindfulness meditation to overcome cravings to smoke.
Roughly 20% of Americans smoke cigarettes. Most people who smoke have unsuccessfully tried to quit. If that is true for you, don’t feel bad!
Smoking cigarettes is the most difficult habit to quit. Men who have quit injecting heroin have told me that doing so was much easier than giving up cigarettes.
Stephen Stahl, a renowned psychiatrist, says that smoked nicotine from tobacco cigarettes is the most addictive substance. Judson Brewer, professor of psychiatry at Yale University, calls smoking “the mother of all addictions,” and “the hardest addiction to quit”.
If you have previously tried to quit, try again...and again and again. You can do it!
Let’s go through the 5 Steps to Quit Smoking:
Step 1: Accept that you are addicted to smoking. In order to change, you must accept reality. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Just confront the reality of your situation without feeling strong emotions. Don’t tell yourself that you are weak or that you’re not able to quit.
Step 2: Accept that you can change. You were not born addicted to smoking—you made a change to become a smoker and you can change again. Quitting is very difficult but it can be done!
Step 3: Make an appointment with a doctor to discuss quitting smoking. There are medications that can help you. Nicotine gum and patches are available at your local pharmacy. You don't need a prescription to buy them, but talk to a pharmacist for help selecting the dosages that are right for you. To save money, buy the generic products. There are also prescription medications to help you quit, one of which is also a medication that is used to treat some types of depression.
Step 4: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling. You can dial this number for on-the-spot counseling to help you quit. Hours of availability vary by state. The National Cancer Institute also provides a toll-free hotline that you can dial to talk with an expert. You can read more about options for help by telephone here.
Step 5: Practice mindfulness meditation to overcome cravings to smoke. You can start by following the program on this website. More and more research studies are showing that mindfulness meditation can also be helpful in quitting. Even if you're not ready to quit yet, start practicing mindfulness meditation because it can benefit your overall mental and physical health. If you start learning mindfulness meditation now, you will know how to use it when you are ready to quit smoking. If you would like to take a high-tech approach to using mindfulness in quitting smoking, there is an app for that. It was developed by a prominent physician and scholar and it is based on sound scientific research.
Dr. Benjamin Williamson is a board-certified psychiatrist. He earned his medical degree (M.D.) from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan where he also completed his residency training in psychiatry. He currently practices psychiatry in coastal North Carolina. In his free time he enjoys surfing, organizing activities related to ocean conservation and Vipassana meditation.
Disclaimer: Creating peacefulness is not easy and requires a commitment to training. What we are offering is an "on ramp" to the path toward peacefulness. You can experience some benefits right away, but you will benefit more and more the longer you travel on the road.