To Your Health
August, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 08)
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Meditation Can Help You Stop Smoking

What can meditation do for smokers? Turns out  a lot and may even help them quit the bad health habit altogether. New research shows that a certain type of meditation - mindfulness is useful for smokers if they are trying to quit the habit.

Mindfulness meditation is designed to help people to relax, focus on the current moment and, essentially, go with the flow of thoughts and sensations. It can help the brain become more focused and it can improve everything from stress to depression, according to various research studies.

In the latest study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers assigned 60 people -- 27 cigarette smokers and 33 nonsmokers with an average age of 21 -- to one of two groups. Each group went through five hours of training over two weeks in either mindfulness meditation or relaxation.

After the two weeks, the researchers gave breath tests to the smokers to see how much they'd been smoking. There was no change for those who learned to relax, but the measurement fell by 60 percent in those who learned how to meditate.

Five smokers who learned about meditation talked to researchers four weeks after the study and said they were still smoking less. The new study also found that the brains of the smokers who learned meditation techniques were more active in an area linked to self-control. Researchers also think reduction in stress may be an important reason meditation seems to provide medical relief.

If you have been trying to quit, this may be the answer. Try to take time out for yourself and meditate - it can improve your health dramatically.