How a 'Self-Compassion Lift' can Boost Recovery

Have you made multiple attempts to quit smoking to only find yourself reaching for that cigarette to cope with your perceived failure? Perhaps you are disappointed or angry with yourself for starting to smoke in the first place. Regardless of which narrative is running through your mind these negative self-judgements represent a significant barrier to your recovery–a lack of self-compassion.

Just as we can smoke on auto-pilot our patterns of self-criticism also tend to operate on auto-pilot. Many people who have a strong desire to quit smoking are unaware of the impact pervasive negative thoughts can have on their feelings toward themselves as well as their behavior. They are also often unaware how these maladaptive thoughts hold them hostage and under the constant command of cigarettes.

Self compassion does not involve ignoring or approving of our mistakes, however it involves complete self-acceptance of who we are despite them. It represents an instrumental component of the recovery process as it has both psychological and physical benefits. Studies have shown how self-compassion helps to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and also helps to activate the release of the chemical oxytocin, which is associated with reducing cravings. Given stress is often identified as one of the primary triggers people smoke, a sense of self-compassion is clearly essential in helping to release one from the chains and bondage of smoking addiction.

So, ask yourself where you are on the self-compassion scale. Do you think you could benefit from a ‘self-compassion lift’ to help boost your recovery? If so, metta meditation, also known as loving kindness meditation, is a specific mindfulness self-care method for strengthening self-compassion. Practicing this daily can reduce stress levels, increase self-acceptance and strengthen emotional immunity to help accelerate your recovery. So, why not take a lift that can help release you from the captivity of cigarettes and propel you further along your journey to smoking cessation? Your freedom awaits!