Rituals. Prayer. Albums. Playlists. Dances. Meditation. Making a cup of tea. Vaping. Smoking a dart.
What do all of these share? They all have a similar effect on the human brain. In the last 20 years, scientific discussion around prayer and meditation as an effective means of dealing with anxiety, depression, or just modern life, has become more and more common.
The most relevant example of a study such as this is the study published by SAGE, called ‘A Randomized Trial of the Effect of Prayer on Depression and Anxiety’, wherein a minister investigated the effect of person-to-person prayer on depression and anxiety.
Basically, the study investigated whether or not prayer could help with mental illness. The results were largely positive, with most of the patients self-reporting having improved depression or anxiety symptoms, while the control group (who received no intervention) had little to no change.
Interestingly, similar effects have been observed in artists, musicians and also practicers of meditation. So what is it that’s shared between all of these activities (and also potentially vaping)? Well, as someone who is by no means ‘religious’, I see the common factor being that all of these practices involve a purpose, progression and process.
In prayer, you’re generally reciting a list, or a predefined prayer. Most people’s nightly prayer (if they pray nightly) doesn’t change dramatically over the course of their life. Musicians are playing a sequence of notes, one that they’ve likely practised hundreds of times. An artist sitting and creating is going through a process, for example; sketching, tracing, transferring, inking and painting. If you get home from work and you like to listen to an album to calm yourself down and get back to baseline not-work-mode, you’re using the same functions as someone praying or meditating.
Basically, purposefully executing a ritual or process can help some people de-stress and deal with the negative symptoms of mental illness.
So how does this relate to vaping?
Well, I would suggest that vaping is not so different to some of the above rituals. You’re going through a process; you get your vape, maybe a cup of tea, check the level in your tank, turn the thing on and start puffing. The deeper you go into vaping, the more of a ritual it becomes. Upgraded to a wattage controlled mod? Now you’ve got an extra step in your process; checking your wattage. Replaced your tank with an RDA? Now you’re dripping e-juice every few puffs. Got a sweet mechanical mod? Well, your ritual just doubled in length.
I’ve had a lot of customers really confused with things like RDAs and Mechs, not understanding why one would want a device that is ‘less easy’ to use and requires constant upkeep. Well, the ritual nature of it helps me with my overall health.
Interestingly, proficiency in your ritual has a bearing on its efficacy. If you’ve never meditated before, you’re unlikely to notice any benefits upon your first attempts. Likewise, with the ritual of vaping, the more ‘into’ it you are, the more value it has for you.
In terms of quitting, some people find that simple starter kits aren’t enough for them, and I believe in a lot of cases, this is because a lot of the ritual is lost. Think of it this way; your ritual of smoking used to go something like this: Make a cuppa (optional). Roll or select a cigarette. Go outside (generally). Light cigarette. Smoke cigarette. Stub out cigarette and either place it in the same ashtray as every other butt you smoke, or flick it like every other butt you smoke.
Contrasting that with a starter kit’s ritual, you may see why some people might not feel totally satisfied: Make cuppa (still optional). Go outside (optional). Vape. I’ll bet a lot of people are simply picking up their vape and puffing on it absently as they perform other tasks. I’m not saying don’t do that, because I’m guilty of that as well. I’m simply imploring you to make sure your vaping has, at least once a day, some level of enjoyment, involvement and ritual.
My vaping ritual goes something like this: Disassemble mech mod. Clean all of the contacts. Clean my RDA cap and drip tip. Take a battery from my charger, checking the wraps for any tears or holes. Reassemble mod and insert battery, making sure that it is oriented the right way. Test fire away from my face. Add some drips of something mild, and then I’ll vape until my wicks are dry.
Now, I don’t do this every time I want a puff on my vape, but I do this very regularly, once every day or two, and I’ll do bits and pieces of it here and there, fairly consistently.
So my point is; If you are struggling to stay away from your cigarettes, or maybe you’re finding that you can stay away from them, but it’s still not quite doing it for you, maybe it’s not the fault of the vape, or the juice, but rather that there’s no real ritual involved. You’re not getting the release you’re used to. So to those of you with this struggle, try to set yourself up to succeed. Make vaping something that you are involved in, make it a ritual, and enjoy the shit out of it.