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Does Mindful meditation really change the brain of an addict?According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, the more often one “mindful meditates” the thicker the brain region of the frontal and temporal lobes get. This is the part of the brain engaged in controlling behaviors, decisions and emotions. Mindful meditation shown to reduce that activity in amygdala (part of limbic system responible for fear and anxiety).
When the activity of the amygdala is reduced, it affects the parasypathetic nervous system and counteracts stress and anxiety responses in the body by lowering cortisol and adrenaline in the blood stream.Neuroscientists have examined that meditation creates new neural networks in the brain.
Mindfulness meditation research reveals practicing mindful meditation results in being able to manage emotions and decistions better (Maer, 2003, Brown, 2007, Grossman, 2004).
In this step, you will stay away from your drug of choice and just examine what is going on in your mind.
Set a date for this rebooting period. Set a date anywhere from the next day to 2 weeks. Do not schedule your start date much further than that unless you need to. Plan to keep a journal. During this rebooting period you will not use your drug of choice for an extended period of time. It is up to you how long you should do it. But take at least a day without your addiction.
During this period you will reflect and introspect your body sensations and brain messages. You will analyze and critique how you feel. While doing this you will write this information in a journal.
During this period you will gain intimate information about yourself. You may feel the full effect of cravings and urges, just analyze them and use the “4 step method” to asses, analyze and redirect your attention. You will need to gain understanding about yourself and about the emotions and sensations you feel without your drug of choice. You will be trying to feel what your cravings are really like during this period.
Try to understand your body and brain’s messages. Some questions to ask are: are the cravings mental or physical? How strong are those cravings or urges? Really examine and analyze your brain and body. What is going on inside your body? Take time to meditate and observe from a third person perspective. On a scale from 1 to 10 how powerful are those cravings? Do you feel any emotional discomfort? These are the type of questions you should bee seeking answers for.
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During this rebooting period, you need to write down all the information about yourself, how you are feeling, how strong the feelings are and what times of the day are your cravings the strongest? Do you feel a bit depressed, anxious or bored? Analyze these emotions.
Why do you feel depressed? What makes these emotions worse? You may find out that you can gain great insight to your brain and thought patterns. Realize that during this period it is normal to feel a bit down or anxious. You probably have depleted or malfunctioning neurotransmitters in your brain from your history of using your drug of choice.
By using the principles of mindfulness meditation, you can learn to analyze your bodily sensations, emotions and mental states from a 3rd person perspective. This is extremely helpful to you.
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