Imagine, lighting a cigarette while nervously awaiting your COVID-19 test result. What if I’ll get so sick that I have to artificially get ventilated? A paradox.
Everyone who tried smoking cessation themselves knows that willpower is either something that you don’t possess, or maybe just not the key.
The latter now finds support from research that compared a standard smoking cessation program that is focused on quitting through cognitive control to a mindfulness training intervention.
In this randomized trial 88 nicotine-dependent adults with an average smoking behavior of 20 cigarettes a day received either Mindfulness Training (MT) or the classical Freedom from Smoking treatment (FFS) for a period of four weeks, twice per week. The MT condition consisted of various techniques such as loving-kindness, awareness of breath and the examination of how thoughts, emotions and body sensations can turn into triggers for craving and smoking. The FFS technique whereas focuses on developing a quit plan and identification of coping strategies.
The results showed that MT was significantly better at helping people to quit and maintain improvements. A later study further investigated the neural mechanisms behind this and assumes that MT can reduce the reactivity to cues in your environment that create cravings.
So, why not take a deep breath and say something nice to yourself until your test results are out the next time? Say Ciao Covid & Calm down with fresh air!
Brewer, J. A., Mallik, S., Babuscio, T. A., Nich, C., Johnson, H. E., Deleone, C. M., Minnix-Cotton, C. A., Byrne, S. A., Kober, H., Weinstein, A. J., Carroll, K. M., & Rounsaville, B. J. (2011). Mindfulness training for smoking cessation: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 119(1–2), 72–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.05.027
Janes, A. C., Datko, M., Roy, A., Barton, B., Druker, S., Neal, C., Ohashi, K., Benoit, H., van Lutterveld, R., & Brewer, J. A. (2019). Quitting starts in the brain: a randomized controlled trial of app-based mindfulness shows decreases in neural responses to smoking cues that predict reductions in smoking. Neuropsychopharmacology, 44(9), 1631–1638. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-019-0403-y
Blog Writer: Leonie Schwarz