30/05/2017 11:27 AM IST | Updated 30/05/2017 12:20 PM IST

The Mindful Way To Quit Smoking

It’s World No Tobacco Day on 31 May.

Cludio Policarpo / EyeEm via Getty Images

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set the theme for World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, as "Tobacco—a threat to development." The WHO has estimated that tobacco kills over 7 million people each year—while 6 million of those deaths are from direct tobacco use, around 8,90,000 are of non-smokers exposed to smoke.

I want to talk about more than the physical havoc caused by cigarettes—I want to discuss how this addiction percolates into other spheres of our existence.

Every strand of wisdom about the perils of tobacco is known. De-addiction camps are everywhere. Pictorial warnings depicted on tobacco products are getting larger. But here I want to talk about more than the physical havoc caused by cigarettes—I want to discuss how this addiction percolates into other spheres of our existence.

Play of emotions

We as humans have physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs. These are also yardsticks for measuring our success. When these four are fulfilled, we live comfortably or close to it. When we cannot pull off any one of them, we go into pain. Humankind today has a low threshold for failure and lacks the inner power to bounce from a setback. We might have cardboard-cutout goodness, but we are emotionally weak. A little bit of turmoil tears us and awakens the demons of vices within us. Lack of success becomes a haunting ache. Inability to succeed creates an emotional void.

From deliberation to addiction

Like they say—if something can go wrong, it will. When our mind is weak, our thoughts scatter. They go back to recount every other failure in the past. That deepens our emotional void. Just as a moth goes to the flame, our pain compels us to go out and seek something to fill this void. But that is not the point. The point is, we become gullible enough to lose our power to discern and walk towards wrong substances. We may take tentative steps but we get there. One such dangerous substance available as commonly as mud is tobacco, in the form of cigarettes as well as other products. We shall restrict this discussion to smoking which is a beast by itself, starting with deliberation and turning into addiction.

A fall from grace

We were the same beings who once relied on God, faith, prayer, meditation, intuition, positivity and family. Faith and prayer gave solace. Meditation empowered us. Intuition guided us. Positivity protected us. Family loved us. We were heroes so to speak, until cigarettes took over our existence. They became companions in joy, sorrow, pain and gain. They became our panacea, our be-all and end-all. This marked our emotional and spiritual fall!

Creatures Of habit

Having become habitual smokers, what happens if we do not get access to cigarettes for even a day? The dependency is shocking. Desperation rises through our gut and furious emotions engulf our mind. We become slaves to a substance that has already caused enough damage. It creates an emotional void.

Mind over matter

In my earlier blogs, "Happiness, Let's Talk" and "How What I Think Shapes My Destiny", I wrote of how our emotions and habits are our creation, independent of people or substances.

Let's be clear. Did smoking shift me from failure to success? No. I used it as a stimulant to feel good. Feeling good, I worked hard and became successful. Smoking had nothing to do with success. I could have also used my inner power as a stimulant to feel good, worked hard and become successful.

Even though we have all the facts, what stops us from giving up cigarettes? We have repetitive negative thoughts about ourselves— we are weak, addicted, cannot quit despite trying. Also, family and friends send us negative energy in the form of anger and frustration since we smoke. So we are getting disempowered when we actually need emotional power to give it up.

Kick the habit

Our thoughts make our reality. So let us create a set of elevated thoughts—called affirmations—to quit smoking. When we say these affirmations to ourselves with total conviction for few days, they act on our body and mind and intellect. They heal us and empower us internally. So we will no longer need cigarettes to fill an emotional void, for there will be no emotional void!

From tomorrow, let us begin our day saying the below affirmations five times, creating the scenes and visualising them. Then, through the day, we will repeat them once every hour. At the end of day, we will go to sleep with these affirmations as our last thoughts for the day.

Affirmations:"I am a powerful being. I can do anything that I choose to do. My body is my temple so I keep it pure, clean and hygienic. I have quit tobacco. My happiness and pleasure are not dependent on it. I see myself in control, I don't get tempted even when everyone around me smokes or uses tobacco in any form. I am the master of my senses, am a happy being, that is my innate nature."

Affirmations have a construct that we already have/are what we want in reality! So notice that the right thought is "I have quit tobacco", not "I will quit tobacco" or "I will try to quit tobacco."

Unleash inner power

Inner power is our need, spirituality offers the means. Let us spend at least 15 minutes every day (preferably in the morning so it sets the tone for the day) reading or listening to anything that empowers, anything that leaves us positive, happy and compassionate. We will no longer depend on people or substances for emotional wellness. We will internally create our happiness and radiate it to everyone we come in contact with, throughout the day!

Brahma Kumaris offer de-addiction programmes for tobacco users worldwide.

You can reach BK Shivani at

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