5th September, 20140 Comments
Quitting smoking can be a real challenge. Most people I see who give up smoking have tried several times before and usually know how to give up, but have been tripped up by something unexpected; a life event or a moment of weakness. So giving up is usually a lot easier than people think, it's staying off that is the real challenge!
Why is this?
Arguably, giving up smoking is as hard, if not more so, than any other drug. It's legal, it's easily accessible, it's still relatively socially acceptable and it's quite cheap particularly if you have a reliable supply of duty free's! Smoking is associated with lots of occasions and feelings as well. It can act as a reward, an opportunity to take a break, get the office gossip, a destressor a diversion from boredom, an aid to dieting, a good friend to alcohol and the list is endless. It's all these associations that make smoking a challenge to quit.
In order to continue smoking you have to remain in what I call ' the smoker's trance'. This is an ability to block out all the strong evidence that smoking can kill. When you realise how poisonous the chemicals are in cigarettes and the link with premature death, it's quite scary the risks you are taking with your own life. Now as I say this, you might be thinking of that distant aunt who smoked for fifty years and had a long and happy life! So there are always exceptions to the rule.
The thing is, every cigarette you have, is like playing Russian roulette with your health; you don't know if you are an exception or the rule.
I gave up smoking using cognitive hypnotherapy on February 16th 2008 at 10am. That's how significant this event was for me! I was such a hardened smoker from tha age of 14 and I'm not proud of it, but I smoked my way through 3 pregnancies and had a strong 30 year habit. On the day I gave up, I wasn't sure even if I wanted to or could give up.
I use the same approach today as my colleague used on me and I still get great results with the odd exception - someone who tries to be superman or wonder woman and puts an obstacle in their way too big to overcome and hasn't told me about it!
So the good news is that it really is possible to quit smoking for good and in my opinion, hypnotherapy is the best way to do it. Your mind is playing huge tricks on you and it's not your fault, it's just the way the brain works. Usually people start smoking when they are younger to belong. Belonging is an important human need and so the brains aoociates fags with this and other things along the way. So every time you want to belong - e.g. hang out and hear the gossip at work - it triggers the nicotine craving and so it goes with all the other triggers associated with the habit. This happens unconsciously. Even if consciously it makes no sense to poison yourself, it just keeps happening - a very powerful mind trick!
How does cognitive hypnotherapy help?
So there are two elements to giving up. Firstly stepping out of the trance and understanding the real effects and consequences of smoking and secondly retraining the mind to meet the needs we are tricked into thinking are met with cigarettes in different, healthier and more effective ways. In essence, with hypnotherapy, it's about retraining the mind and it is a lot easier than you'd think.
What about willpower?
Willpower is really important particularly in the early days. Wanting to give up smoking for yourself has to be the starter for 10. Willpower is a conscious activity though and hypnotherapy works at an unconscious level through relearning how to meet the needs the mind thinks cigarettes are meeting.
Willpower on its own can work but it's a white knuckle ride and it doesn't need to be so hard when you use cognitive hypnotherapy.
I'm guessing you are reading this if you are thinking of giving up or know someone who is. Here's the choice: - Do you want to play Russian roulette with your own life? or - Experience the real freedom that ditching this habit brings and the knock on physical and psychological effects of that?
Most clients I help to give up smoking say 'if I can do this, I can do anything'.
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