There’s something about smoking…
But what exactly is it about smoking that keeps us hooked into a habit that can last ten, twenty, thirty or more years – and for many people it’s a habit that can last a lifetime?
Perhaps it’s the way that smoking hooks into so many parts of our lives. Like a chameleon, it can change to suit itself. When we are stressed we think it calms us down; when we need to concentrate we think it achieves that for us too. It might help us to feel more confident or more sophisticated. It can be a friend that’s always there for us, come rain or shine, a crutch, something to lean on, something to “calm our nerves”.
But beneath all its clever disguises, smoking is a serial killer and a thief. It might stalk its prey for years, gradually diminishing resistance, destroying our bodies, robbing us of a long, healthy life, stealing precious time away from our families and thousands of pounds that could be put to far better use.
Some ex-smokers confess that smoking had become more and more difficult for them. Some resorted to carefully crafted stories so that they could sneak away to smoke. Perhaps a quick dash to the shops, a meander down to the potting shed, or the need to take the dog for yet another stroll around the block. They talk about lying to their children about these absences – after all, who wants to be the kind of role model that introduces smoking to children? The problem is the cravings to smoke come back quite quickly and when we are trying to manage these cravings it’s like we are not properly present in our own lives.
Quitting smoking is an absolute freedom that many smokers have forgotten. The experience of walking out of the house in the morning without having to remember your cigarettes and lighter is an exciting and liberating feeling. And when you can take a walk and breathe in deeply and feel the fresh, clean air filling your lungs and know that your whole body is healing – there is nothing that can describe that feeling and it’s far better than any quick hit from nicotine.
Every day we might wake up and say to ourselves that today is going to be the day when we kick the habit for good, only to find that willpower alone is not enough, and we are reaching for a cigarette as soon as that craving starts, often without even thinking about it.
It’s not just a vicious circle, it’s a deadly one and, what’s more, there never seems to be a right time to stop and that’s because the nicotine monster plays with our heads to keep us hooked forever, like a prisoner with a lifetime sentence.
When you make that decision to stop smoking, hypnotherapy can be a really good choice. It works on different levels to help create a really positive inner environment for becoming smoke-free.
To start with, it can relax you and allow you that space in which to really reflect about your smoking habit. That’s something we rarely do – putting smoking under the microscope is not very comfortable for our conscious mind. This is why we don’t like to read statistics about how many people die from smoking-related illnesses. That’s in the future and when we smoke we are very much only concerned with the present moment.
Then, using the beneficial hypnotic state, suggestions can be given which settle in the mind, making it easier than ever to walk away from the habit. Hypnosis works with the subconscious mind – the part of the mind where all our automatic responses and habits are stored. This is why it can be so successful.
We all know how quickly time flies and this moment right now will soon be six months in the past, and then it will be a year or two years ago. Life will move on, there will be changes, and one day it will be time to leave this world - our last days, filled with bittersweet memories as we reflect on the stories of our lives.
My sincerest hope is that when that time comes we will have lived long and happy lives, free from the shadow of regret that smoking casts on our lives day after day.
My own stop smoking date was January 2006, when will yours be?