Ayurveda on Addiction: Cultivate New Good Habits First

iStock_000002843763XSmall.jpgGoal setting is all well and good if you have a resolve of steel and self-discipline to match. But many of us don't. The trouble with trying to give up this or achieve that, is that we set the bar too high and then when we can't reach an unfair expectation, we feel disappointed, lacking in resolve, useless etc


Ayurveda presents a far healthier and happier way to make positive life changes, and that is to cultivate new supportive habits before you go trying to stop dead with things you’ve been doing for years. I'll use the habit of smoking as an example, but this principle of cultivating positive habits that add up and out number the "bad" ones could be applied to anything...

Steps to Stop Smoking without Giving Up Smoking

If you're worried about your smoking habit and it's potential ramifications on your health, instead of focusing on "giving up" how about focusing on adding actions to your day that support your health and make you feel better? How about adding a 10 minute walk to your day every day? Or taking up the habit of drinking fresh fruit smoothies? What about trying a meditation technique to reduce stress and help you feel calm and positive about your life?

By adding small self-supportive acts that help you feel better about your life, you can gradually shift your focus from uncomfortable feelings that you should stop smoking, to positive feelings that you are taking steps to care for yourself and your health better.

How is this going to help you stop? Most, if not all, addictions are anxiety driven. Smoking gives temporary relief from anxiety, you feel better for a while, then the anxiety returns and so you feel the urge to smoke again. Stopping cold only increases that anxiety which makes it all the harder to stop, and can ultimately be the cause of starting again.

It's no use waving health warnings under a smoker's nose, They already know. And that too adds to their anxiety. By introducing tiny, easy to incorporate, actions that are good for your health and help you feel better, you are doing something to reduce anxiety naturally, which is a good start in reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked, simply by reducing the cause of the urge to smoke in the first place with a higher value activity.

New Positive Associations for an Old Habit

Many smokers enjoy inhaling smoke deeply for the first one or two puffs of a cigarette. Learning a deep breathing meditation technique is a great way to get your body used to some healthy deep breaths in addition to those associated with smoking.

Many smokers like "having something to do with their hands" - learning a self-help acupressure routine to reduce stress and anxiety, or even a specific routine that naturally reduces addictive cravings, is  a useful way to have something else to do with your hands.

Did you know that your body has a series of acupuncture points that you can tap with your fingertips to deal with feelings of anxiety and stress? You can use them to reduce cravings too.

Baby Steps to a Smoke Free Day

Don't underestimate the power of little self-supportive steps. Over time these little changes and adjustments could turn out to be exactly what you needed to let an unwanted habit fall away as, over time, it is outweighed by better and gradually more appealing choices.

Adding Positive Actions to Your Day

This article wasn’t supposed to be specifically about smoking, that’s just my working example. The point I wanted to make is about habits in general and how it’s much kinder to yourself to develop good healthy supportive habits and focus on those and enjoying the benefits of those rather than stopping cold and denying yourself your current ways of evading stress and anxiety.

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