Alcohol, tobacco and drugs; these are some of the most common substances that people can get addicted to. Getting addicted is easy but to get rid of your habit is hard.
Here are a few things that could help:
- Set a date: Addicts who tell themselves that they will quit tomorrow often never end up doing so. Set a date for yourself when you will have your last smoke and drink. Ideally, you should set this date a few weeks from the day you decide to give up your bad habits to allow yourself to be mentally prepared.
- Find new friends: Peep pressure is one of the most common reasons for an addiction to begin. Hence, the first thing to do when you are trying to give up a bad habit is to stay away from the people you associate with that habit and make new friends.
- Hold yourself accountable to someone: While you can give in to yourself, it is harder to make excuses for doing something when you are being held accountable by someone else. Find a mentor or a friend who will be there for you and who will ‘sponsor’ your deaddiction.
- Find your weak spots: Every habit is triggered by certain factors. If you have decided to try and give up a bad habit, identify the factors that trigger it and avoid them. For example, your morning cup of coffee may trigger the need for a cigarette. By replacing coffee with juice, you can make your morning a little easier.
- Take up a new hobby: A hobby is a great way to distract yourself from cravings. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are great as indoor hobbies while swimming is an excellent outdoor hobby. You could even try gardening or crafts.
- Exercise: One of the many benefits of exercising is that it can help boost endorphins and make you feel happier and thus less likely to crave cigarettes of alcohol. Aim for at least half an hours exercise each day.
- Maintain a journal: Some days are good and some days are bad. To give yourself a balanced view of your deaddiction process, maintain a journal. Write down your achievements as well as your pitfalls and be proud of what you have achieved for yourself.
- Help someone else: The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Similarly, with addiction, the best way to be strong and give up a bad habit is to help someone else do it. This way, you are forced to be a good example and give up the habit yourself.
- Ask for help: Do not be so proud as to not be able to ask for help when you need it. Remember, it is better to appear weak and ask for help rather than go back to your addiction.
- Don’t give up: Relapses are common but they do not have to be the end of your efforts. If you do have a bad day and have a few drags of smoke or maybe a drink, tell yourself that it’s ok. Identify the reasons why you gave in to yourself and start afresh from the next morning.
Treatment through Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness involves two primary elements: focused attention and open monitoring. During the practice of focused attention, attention is concentrated on a sensory object (often the sensation of breathing) while one acknowledges and then stops from distracting thoughts and emotions. Focused attention practices are often preceded by the practice of open monitoring. Open monitoring is a metacognitive state of awareness in the sense that it involves monitoring the content of consciousness while reflecting back on the process or quality of consciousness itself. This form of mindfulness practice is thought to reduce anxiety to a larger extent.