The first time I was asked, “what is different about you since you quit smoking?” I was asked this question during an interview for a documentary on using mindfulness to relieve oneself of addiction. My first thought was, “I am a nicer person.” Being interviewed by a professional interviewer type person, that answer was so not going to be enough. I continued on with, “i am able and willing to see other people better or clearer even. i am more aware of how others might be feeling or what they could be thinking.” Stay Tuned on July 4th. link available July5th
I can see that the way others react or act is not a reflection on me. maybe they just stubbed their toe 2 minutes before seeing me and it still stings. the way i interact with other people is what matters.
I quit smoking. I have done it using a mindfulness app I ‘accidentally stumbled upon’. I knew I had to/wanted to/needed to quit. I was in a fog wondering how to go about it. then One thing happened that led to another. that thing appeared to lead to another thing which led to another then another and another. Today I am smoke free and grateful.
I feel as though I have somehow moved from using Mindfulness practice to quit smoking to Mindful Living.
This was not My Plan.
My Plan was to use Mindfulness in an attempt to better control the ever powerful anxiety I experience. I needed to get a handle on this monster and pills were no longer a viable solution. I needed something better. Apparently I was ready for something better.
Enter MINDFULNESS. I should add the word Again to that last sentence. I had my 1st introduction to mindfulness 28 years ago. second exposure 15 years ago. I now see that these experiences have prepared me for where I am right now. Right Now! Right Here! Not worrying about a future that might never happen. Not dwelling on a past I cannot change.
not the worst place to be!!
Changes…. not in any particular order and not a compete list. Keep in mind these are not changes I planned. I did not sit down one night and make a list of things I wanted to change in me. To be honest, i did not know i needed to change. want to change? Not even a little.
The only change I desired was to no longer smoke
to be smoke free.
- i no longer have the need to get everything done right now. for example : i want to finish writing this post. i am not going to die if i save it and finish it later. last year or even last month, “ineedtodoit! doitnow! cantwait! mustgetitdonenow! nomtterwht.” just a tad anxiety provoking from inside. no outside trigger needed.
- i smile more. not because life is so freakin awesome and I have no reason not to smile but because if i smile, maybe someone who is lucky enough to see me smile will smile. then someone else might smile and then someone else….
- i am calmer. inconveniences and other people’s stupid behavior that would have once throw me into fits of panic/anger/depression/disappointment affect me in a different way. i am able to take a tad bit o time and breathe. This breathing thing is not new to me. People in my life have been suggesting it forever and a day. Regular, consistant mindfulness practice got me to remember to breathe when I need to.
- I am nicer. i already talked about that. I have always been a relatively nice person, but now I am even nicer and to more people.
- i sleep better. not longer, Better. I wake up earlier, yet less tired. more refreshed
- life is the same. pleasant and unpleasant things are always going to happen. That is Life. That is not going to change, But…. i can change. I deal with life’s obstacles in a new way. i am capable of dealing with the life stuff in a way that i was never capable of before.
- i stopped biting my nails while I quit smoking – it took me awhile to even notice my nails were growing.
- i eat slower and enjoy what I eat. quitting smoking definitely makes things taste better, but i enjoy that better taste more. Food was always just something I ate so I didn’t fall down. Now I take the time to savor every bite. I’ve begun experimenting with a variety of new recipes as well.
- I am more capable of thinking before i speak. I have always either talked too much or not at all. Now when a thought flies into my brain I am able to stop, breathe, give myself a chance to decide if this thought needs to exit through my mouth or do I let it go.
- I feel feelings. this is a direct result of the mindfulness app I used to quit smoking. The app suggested instead of fighting the cigarette cravings, i might try to really feel them. Truly feeling the craving and seeing it for what it truly is. Watching it leave without my having to smoke, made my mind stronger, made the next craving a bit easier to deal with. Doing this over and over again helped me form a new healthy habit. I am now applying this same technique to feelings.
- I am able to feel what is going on in my body quicker. i am a diehard jaw clencher. I always have been. Today I am able to notice my clenched jaw quicker than ever before. Once I am able to identify that I am clenching my jaw, I am able to take steps to stop it. My jaw, teeth,dentist, and head are grateful.
- i worry less and Care more
Now, how to end this. Do I even have to end this? Do I want this to end? The answer is so simple. No. I am on a new journey and I choose not to end it too soon. I finally truly and completely believe that I am Going to be okay. No, wait, I AM OKAY!!!!
To summarize. I exposed myself to mindfulness practice in an effort to relieve self of debilitating anxiety. An App that uses mindfulness to help relieve oneself of unwanted habits found me. My desire to quit and the repetition of that App not only relieved me of my habit, it opened me up to a whole new way of thinking and feeling and living.