‘Focusing on breathing’ practice gradually weakens the urge for smoking. One can quit over many months without any other aids.
How can I do it?
Try the following modes and use whatever works for you. Keep eyes closed whenever possible. Don’t try to change the pattern of breathing except for the ‘911 mode’. Let the pattern change on its own.
911 mode: This makes a quick impact. Breathe in through the nose or mouth quickly. Breathe out gently through the mouth, with your lips only slightly open. Focus on the sensation at the lips and the bulging cheeks while breathing out. In this mode, the out-breath is slow and long. You can use this to blow the urge away!
Tip mode: Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger. Breathe in and out three times, counting in the mind, every time you breathe out. Repeat the 3 breaths, at each of the next 3 finger tips. At the thumb, place the tip of the index finger at the base of the thumb and breathe 3 times. Now switch to the other hand and repeat the same practice. Continue practicing switching the hands.
Segment mode: Every finger has 3 segments, separated by 2 lines. Place the tip of the thumb at the top segment of the little finger. Breathe in and out once, without counting. Shift the thumb to the middle segment and breathe in and out. Move to the bottom segment and breathe in and out. Repeat the same steps at the next 3 fingers. At the thumb, place the tip of the index finger on its segments and breathe in and out once, at each segment. Now switch to the other hand and repeat the same practice. Continue practicing, switching hands.
Counting mode: While breathing in, feel the faint coolness inside the nose and on the top lip. While breathing out, count slowly in the mind. First out-breath, count ‘o-n-e’, second out-breath ‘t-w-o-o’ and third out-breath ‘thre-e-e’. Now repeat the same steps: count ‘o-n-e’ during the first out-breath and so on. Continue the practice as long as you like. Every time you lose focus on breathing or counting, get back to the practice, by counting ‘o-n-e’ during the next out-breath.
Sandwich mode (Breathing and smoking alternately): Practice the ‘tip mode’ only at the little finger. Light the cigarette. Take a single puff and stop. Breathe three times again as before. Take a single puff again. Repeat this sandwich pattern of breathing and single puffing, till the cigarette is fully done or you lose the urge to smoke and throw the remaining cigarette away. When you become comfortable with this mode, upgrade to breathing at two fingers, (the little and ring fingers) before every single puff, everything else remaining same as above. Next stage, is to upgrade to three fingers, then four and five. Finally to both hands.
When can I practice this technique?
You can practice it from the time you wake up in bed, till you again get into sleep, 16/7. This unique technique does not need any time allotment, place or posture and no rules or restrictions for the practice! Use all those bits of time when your mind has no task to do. It will become a spontaneous habit in a few months. Then the practice gets triggered by itself, reduces stress and weakens the conditioned reflex of reaching for a smoke. Here are some proven ideas.
Lying in bed, trying to get sleep: Use this technique when you are in bed and wish to sleep. No more insomnia!
On waking up: Use it again as soon as you are awake but in bed. Continue till you feel fresh and then leave the bed.
Waiting: Wherever you wait, use this technique rather than feeling bored or impatient – stuck in traffic, standing in a line, sitting at the doctor’s office, waiting for the computer program to load….so on.
Driving: Every stoppage at a red light is an opportunity for micro relaxation. While staring at the red light, practice the feeling mode till it turns green. Also use it during a traffic jam. No more road rage!
Traveling in Car / Bus / Train/ Air plane: Use this technique to pass time, relax and feel refreshed rather than fatigued at the end of the journey.
Walking: Use the ‘Counting mode’. Every time a foot touches the ground, match it with the number being counted. Repeat that number, till the out-breath ends. For example: during the first out- breath, one-one-one so on.. In a few weeks, you can practice even while running!
Work Place: Whenever you lose concentration, your mind wanders, any part of body feels tight or you feel stressed out, take a breathing break. Break that stress cycle in just a minute or two!
Under stress: Practice specially the 911 mode when angry, anxious, panicky or in some pain, till you regain control over yourself.
Good Luck in kicking the butt!