A doctor at Yale has taken a unique approach to smoking cessation using the mind. Dr. Judson Brewer explains a concept he called “Mindfulness.”
“So I was really focusing on staying on that trail, and at some point there was no me, no bike, not even a trail. There just was,” said Brewer.
For Dr. Brewer, that exhilarating bike ride is just one experience with Mindfulness.
Dr. Brewer, the medical director of the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, added that he uses those moments to explain that unlike a bike or a gravel trail, you can’t see it, but you can feel it.
“What is Mindfulness? Paying attention in the present moment and just being in that moment. Not getting caught up in any particular aspect of it, just being with that moment,” said Dr. Brewer.
In fact, Brewer said Mindfulness can even impact the moment you light up, causing a smoker to concentrate on what they are really feeling when they crave a cigarette and allowing that feeling to pass.
The doctor’s research supports his theory.
“That found that indeed, it was very helpful for people. You know, we had twice the quit rates of the American Lung Associations Freedom from smoking, this gold standard treatment. Twice the quit rates. That’s pretty good,” said Brewer.
Brewer didn’t quit there, he decided to package Mindfulness in an app.
“Welcome to craving to quit. A three week program that will help you quit smoking,” said Dr. Brewer.
It provides multiple ways to remind smokers to stay mindful, like a body scan.
“Pay attention to what’s at the top of your head, scan down to your forehead, what does it feel like? You know is it tightness, tension, burning,” said Brewer.
The app has only been on the market for a few months, but Brewer said he has already heard from his first successful quitter and he expects there will be more. In the meantime, he plans to continue to tout the power of Mindfulness for everyone’s lives.