Saturday, January 20, 2007

Stop Smoking

What does it take to stop smoking cigarettes? Self-Hypnosis? A patch? A sympathetic friend? An admonishment from your doctor? A simple switch to pumpkin seeds?
If you are one of the millions who smoke cigarettes, it is no doubt that these questions have floated through your mind time and again. No matter what approach you take to try to stop smoking cigarettes, one thing I have learned is this: You cannot do it using will power alone. Will power may be a component of the solution, but it does not get to the heart of the matter.
In order to stop smoking, you have to cease beating yourself up about it.
Something fundamentally needs to shift in you. The craving needs to disappear. If you have tried being harsh on yourself and that tough approach has not worked, then you have to go easy on yourself. Try going to the opposite extreme and see what happens.
Will power is a feeling of over-effort, a determination to be in control. Will power goes hand in hand with being harsh on yourself. It is an honorable way to tackle things, but unfortunately, it is one that is uncomfortable and usually offers just a temporary solution.
You have to seek deeper. IN order to truly stop smoking cigarettes you have to look within and remove your negative attitudes first. In order to quit the smoking habit, you must first attain a very high degree of self-acceptance for the fact that you do smoke.
"But I already accept myself for smoking!" you may be screaming. Hmmm. Look carefully. Be honest. Be radically honest! If there is even a slight degree of uncomfortableness about not having quit smoking, then you are judging yourself in some way. Judgment locks the craving in place. It has a locking effect because the craving in you is a natural "rebel." If you judge the craving, then that makes the craving fight back even stronger. The "craver" in you rebels and makes you want the cigarettes more intensely
On the other hand, if you let the craving be ok as it is, not being harsh on it, giving it room, not fighting against it, it MUST subside over time. Try it. You have nothing to lose. Smoke slowly. Let your self enjoy every inhale. Let yourself relax with ever exhale. Once you have mastered this practice of acceptance, THEN put your attention on quitting. I am certain you will notice a difference.
At the very least, you will not be as unhappy about learning to stop smoking cigarettes as you were before. Beating yourself up for smoking or for not being able to quit smoking is just as much of a killer as the smoking itself. Beating yourself up kills your mood.
So, take the Zen approach instead. Let yourself feel at peace with the smoking, and then take appropriate action to quit smoking (a patch, a pumpkin seed, or whatever). Make self-acceptance your truest goal, and your goal to stop smoking cigarettes will come much more easily.


Maki said...

Hi Oliver,
I visited here by chance or by another reason. Would you mind if I asked you why did you choose the words "naughty maki" as your blog address? Believe it or not, I used to use the address, so I'm really curious to know it.


Cool Hand Makiko

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