By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
Many clients ask me what exactly happens when you quit smoking with hypnosis. Like you, they have heard this and that, but it was all a bit vague. You are left with a lot of questions because hypnosis as a smoking cessation technique is still shrouded in mystery.
In this article:
Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this page you will understand that hypnotherapy to quit smoking has many benefits to offer.
So now allow me to talk you through what happens exactly when you quit smoking with hypnosis. But for that to make sense, let me start from the beginning and first answer another question: What is so special when you quit smoking with hypnosis?
Stop smoking hypnosis proposes to resolve your smoking addiction by working on your mind.
The basic underlying idea here is that smoking addiction is not overwhelmingly a physical addiction. You see, once you stop smoking, the residual nicotine will have left your body within a week. So, if it’s not a physical addiction then, really, quitting should be easy.
But that is not your experience. And it isn’t the experience of the vast majority of smokers. They try to quit time and again, and end up relapsing time and again.
What is making quitting difficult is the psychological addiction to smoking.
This psychological addiction to smoking has come about by how you originally conditioned yourself to become a smoker.
I can hear you thinking: Wait...what do you mean, I conditioned myself?
When you started smoking first, there was a settling in period. Think back to when you started smoking. Think back to your very first smoke.
What age were you? What were the circumstances?
matter what exact image arises in your mind about having that first
cigarette, I am pretty sure you didn’t enjoy inhaling those fumes. Am I
Back then, your body responded in a natural way, with stomach cramps, nausea, or shortness of breath. Because your body still knew back then that it was smoking poison.
But then, you may have enjoyed the label that came along with smoking. Maybe it made you a ‘rebel’. Maybe smoking made you belong. Maybe it made you feel more grown up than you were at the time. You may have liked the company you were in when smoking. Or maybe smoking was just what everybody did, and you probably didn’t want to be the odd one out.
And because there were these social pay-offs you continued to smoke. You told yourself you liked smoking. You taught your mind to override the natural response of your body to tobacco. Eventually your body got used to regular exposure to toxins and you stopped feeling so sick every time you lit up.
A little while later, a rhythm of regular nicotine cravings
set in. You had to top up the toxins at regular intervals or you would
feel very unsettled. You told yourself that you needed to smoke in order
to stay calm. Of course you would never feel as calm as a non-smoker.
Meanwhile, you started to interpret certain situations as triggers for smoking. Your first cup of tea or coffee in the day. When you sat down to take a break. Before going to sleep. You put in place smoking habits.
And that is how you conditioned yourself to be a smoker.
So if smoking addiction is not really a physical addiction, why can’t you just stop?
You have probably tried, maybe more than once.
In your conscious mind you know smoking is bad for you, right?
The health hazards of smoking are taught as part of the school
curriculum now, so you will have heard at least once or twice about what
tobacco does to your body.
You will have heard that smokers
have a high risk of developing lung cancer and emphysema, for example.
Every time you buy cigarettes or tobacco you will see the graphic images
on the packets of destroyed lungs and amputations as a result of
smoking. If your decision making involved the conscious mind and the conscious mind only, would you continue to smoke?
It wouldn’t make sense, would it?
So, what is the reason you do continue to smoke?
The reason you do continue to smoke is that by now this psychological addiction to smoking is handled by the subconscious mind.
conscious mind, our day time waking mind, has only so much capacity to
process information. So when your system deems conscious awareness is no
longer necessary to carry out a task successfully, the sequence is then handed over to the subconscious.
After some time in the conditioning process, you stopped being consciously aware
of your smoking triggers, physical responses and belief systems. The
entire process became automated. Most of the decision making around
smoking then happens at a subconscious level. In other words, it happens
in realms of thought you hardly notice.
It’s like learning to drive a car.
Initially you had to think about every single move you made. Then you
became more and more comfortable driving. Driving was handed over to the
subconscious mind. Nowadays, you’d find it hard to explain how exactly
to switch gears. Your subconscious knows how to. You don’t have to think
about it anymore.
With smoking, that is exactly where the problem is. The habit is now out of conscious awareness. There are emotions driving it. And, like it or not, emotions will usually win out over rational thought. So you continue to smoke.
As a result, you don’t know where to start to dismantle this complex psychological addiction to smoking now that the ‘habit’ has become automatic.
That’s why you can’t just stop smoking.
And that’s where stop smoking hypnosis comes in.
So what exactly happens when you quit smoking with hypnosis?
I have talked about how the smoking addiction becomes ingrained and ultimately handed over to the subconscious mind.
Hypnosis is the ideal tool for working with the subconscious mind.
When you quit smoking with hypnosis, the quit smoking hypnotist will first have a consultation with you to establish your personal emotional and situational triggers to smoking and your underlying belief systems about smoking. Your personal program of hypnosis for smoking will be built around those.
In order to get access to the subconscious mind the quit smoking hypnotist will guide you into a slightly altered state of consciousness characteristic of hypnosis. You can reach this relaxed state through self hypnosis for smoking also.
In this state you will be very relaxed both physically and mentally, but you will be more alert than usual. In this state, your subconscious mind will be very receptive.
The quit smoking hypnotist will then re-educate your subconscious mind with the appropriate messaging. This messaging, also called suggestions, can come in various forms:
At different stages the hypnotist may just be talking to you about smoking.
At other stages, they may ask you to imagine certain things. This is because the subconscious mind loves and often thinks in images. Images help the suggestions to sink right in.
And, at various points during a session, the hypnotist is likely to ask you to imagine how something feels. This is because the subconscious mind controls emotions. Here, the hypnotist is working directly at the source to instill the correct emotional responses to smoking versus quitting.
When you quit smoking with hypnosis, it’s all about reprogramming your subconscious mind. When working with you in hypnosis, your quit smoking hypnotist can guide you to:
And in this way, you can easily quit smoking with
Breaking down the psychological addiction to smoking could take some time. Think about how long you have been smoking. Give yourself a month for every year that you have been smoking. Expect that it will take work until you can finally stay quit.
I was never a heavy smoker. Yet it took me three attempts to quit until I was finally ready to stay quit. So, I know it isn’t easy. But I also know it can be done. And having worked with clients who quit smoking with hypnosis, I have come to value hypnosis as a powerful tool in this process.
In the comments underneath, let our community know if you will give hypnotherapy a go to help you change your life and leave the old 'habit' behind.
In the meantime, here is to your health and well being.
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