Breathing Space London

mindfulness for health

Mindfulness Based Smoking Cessation at Breathing SpacePicture of someone after meditating

Breathing Space runs six-week courses in Mindfulness Based Smoking Cessation (MBSC) - once a week for two and a half hours per week. MBSC is a meditation-based course that helps you become more aware of the habits of thinking that can lead into addictive behaviour. It's a way of learning how to be with your experience without the need for a cigarette. Breathing Space pioneered the MBSC course and is one of only two providers in the UK. Book now

With the right combination of clear thinking, a sensibly staged plan for stopping, and mindfulness meditation, anyone can free themselves from the nicotine habit - easily and painlessly.

When you give up smoking the real work is in the mind. By bringing us into a more spacious relationship with our minds, mindfulness meditation practice:

  • Wakes us out of 'automatic-pilot' - the mode in which we are prey to unconscious habit patterns
  • Allows us to get inside our minds, to deconstruct the thoughts and feelings that compel us to smoke
  • Opens a crucial gap between craving and reaching for a cigarette, freeing us to make a conscious choice
  • Helps us acknowledge and work with our desire for a cigarette
  • Helps relax and soften any symptoms of stress that arise when we stop smoking
  • ...and it can even make the process fun!

What happens on an MBSC course at Breathing Space?

During the course, you will learn how to develop 'mindfulness' through meditation. Mindfulness means being aware of what is happening in your experience - in your mind and your body. This forms the basis for learning to tolerate difficult experiences without the need for a substance or other addictive behaviour. You will learn this in a group of up to 25 people, with the course leader guiding you through a series of meditations. The course also draws on ideas from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you challenge negative thinking. You don't need to have any previous knowledge or experience of meditation or CBT to come on an MBSC course.

Sharing your experiences with other people on the course

You will also meet in smaller groups to talk about your experiences of the meditations. You will not have to reveal anything you do not want to. The course focuses on current experience and how to work with your thoughts and emotions - it is not about trying to find the cause of your addiction.

MBSC course home practice

The MBSC course includes some home practice. It's important you do as much of this as you can, because it takes some effort to learn the skills you need to break long-held patterns of thinking. You will be given CDs to take home with guided meditations to practise every day between the course sessions. You will also be asked to do a few brief daily exercises and keep a simple diary of what you have been doing.

Committing to MBSC courses

We understand that it is often difficult to carve out time in an already busy life to come to all six classes and do the home practice. But we'll be encouraging you to do what you can to help yourself stay well. The practices are not a quick fix. Like any tool they can only benefit if you practise using them. So the more you can commit to practising between classes the more you will benefit from the course.

Book on an MBSC course