Four months before that smoky birthday, Celsi, now 41, started using a technique she had read about in Creative Visualization, a book by Shakti Gawain. First thing in the morning and whenever she caught a quiet moment, she imagined a huge cigarette wearing boxing gloves, bullying her. Next, she visualized punching back. Finally, she pictured herself growing larger than the cigaretteshe was wearing the gloves, knocking it out. "The technique took only a few minutes and helped me realize that I was in control, not my cravings," she says.
By the time her birthday arrived, Celsi felt so confident that once she stubbed out her last cigarette, that was that. She’s never smoked again.
Why it worked
Some people think visualization sounds goofy, but research supports it. In a University of Akron College of Nursing study, researchers found that two years after ending the habit, twice as many of the creative-visualization users remained smoke-free, compared with those who hadn’t used the technique. Proponents say it helps reduce the stress and anxiety associated with quitting, so quitters feel more confident and motivated to stop. “Whatever it was, it gave me what I needed to quit,” Celsi says. (Find out more about visualization at the Academy for Guided Imagery’s Web site.)
Celsi's story was first published alongside the profiles of other quitters in the September 2007 issue of Health magazine. We called everyone in July 2008 to see how things were goingand no one had started smoking again!
What about you? Did you quit? Are you struggling with cigarettes now? Please email us at email@example.com (with "Quit Smoking" in the subject line) and share your strategies and struggles. You may help someone else overcome a nicotine dependence.