Is smoking undermining your self-respect?
It’s no surprise to me that many people are enquiring about stopping smoking with hypnotherapy at this time. Sudden rises in the cost of living and uncertainty about future utility prices are causing us all to look at our spending and where we can pare back and, of course, if you are a smoker, you know what an expensive habit it is.
People’s reasons for wanting to stop smoking are many and varied. Wanting to save money is certainly a motivating one but it is not necessarily the most common or strongest one. Often the reasons for wanting to quit are linked to how the person views themselves.
Feeling out of control
It is not uncommon for a client to turn up for stop smoking hypnotherapy because they have finally become tired of feeling they have no control over their habit but rather that smoking controls them. They may be filled with disgust that they smoke, hide their smoking from others and worry that they will pass the habit on to their children. One client recently described the mental conflict he experienced as a ‘confrontation’ with the cigarette.
I have also had a number of clients who want to stop because they view doing so as a prelude to making other important changes in their lives or indeed, they have been through a major event such as a relationship break-up and want to signal a fresh start for themselves. Doesn’t this just show what a powerful hold smoking can have over someone?
The power of habits
Habits are an interesting phenomenon, aren’t they? Created through repetition, our habits are either enriching or unhelpful. Most of us would like to have habits that support our well-being and get rid of those that don’t and often we are prompted in either direction by the circumstances that arise in our lives.
There are several good books on the market about how to develop good habits. One way to do so is habit stacking - adding the new activity you want to engage in onto something you already do. After a while, through repetition, the new regime becomes more natural and automatic. You have created a conditioned response and thus established a new habit.
The habit of smoking
Smoking is a habit for this reason. Smokers have created conditioned responses, for example:
- repeatedly tagging smoking a cigarette on to drinking a cup of coffee
- smoking a cigarette whilst on the phone
- lighting up as you leave the house to walk to the underground
Thus, the behaviours have become automatic. This is why many people feel it will be difficult for them to stop smoking. They can no longer imagine doing these activities without a cigarette in tow.
You can understand then why so many smokers come to revile their habit. How come I can’t leave the house without lighting up or when drinking coffee? What’s wrong with me? So the habit that most smokers deep down despise, eats away at self-respect and the notion of truly being in control of one’s life.
A future without smoking
As part of a stop smoking session, time is spent really building with the client how their life will be in the future without smoking. Often, the client’s whole demeanour changes at this point as they allow themselves to contemplate life without the tyranny of smoking. It is as if the habit had created a smoke screen as it were between them and the life they want to live. Given the time and energy that has to be devoted to smoking and the feelings of loss of control many people feel as smokers, this is not surprising.
A sense of achievement
Many people come to hypnotherapy to stop smoking feeling a degree of defeat. They have tried to give up smoking with limited success or they have stopped for a while and then gone back to it.
The desire to take back control is strong; no longer having your day punctuated by the need to feed the habit, making sure you always have enough cigarettes or tobacco and that sinking feeling when you smoke of doing something you don’t really want to do that you know isn‘t doing you any good.
Clients often state that they will feel a sense of achievement when they stop smoking, a statement that appears to be communicated from a deep part of the person’s being. For many people, stopping smoking is exhilarating and liberating. I have even had clients say when asked about their achievements when coming to hypnotherapy for other reasons, that stopping smoking was their greatest one.
The power of stopping smoking
That is quite something is it not to feel exhilarated, liberated, a sense of achievement and all the other positive things that people experience when they quit. No longer having your sense of self chipped away at on a repeated basis every day.
Getting motivated to quit
If you want to stop smoking, you will of course have some reasons why. But perhaps you could help yourself even more by spending some time really thinking about how your life will be without smoking and writing it down. Really get clear on what it will do for your life, your well-being and your self-esteem to quit.
How hypnotherapy can help
A good hypnotherapy treatment to stop smoking will address the different aspects of the smoking habit and be personalised to you. We have talked about how smoking is a habit created through repetition. The behaviour becomes automatic because the conditioned responses created are held in place at an unconscious level. Because hypnotherapy works at this level, it can help to break these associations, something that is much more difficult to do through willpower - a conscious approach.
You may feel you have no power to stop smoking but the truth is you have many resources within you that your hypnotherapist will help you access to assist you in your goal to stop smoking. And because the imagination is one of the ways we access the unconscious mind, there will be plenty of engagement of yours during treatment as well.
People generally know when it is the right time for them to stop smoking. It no longer fits with who they are or the person they want to be. This is important because, whatever method you choose, nothing can make you stop smoking. A treatment like hypnotherapy, however, can support your own desire to take back control over smoking.