The Truth about Quitting Smoking and Hypnosis
By Roger Elliott
If you have ever read a newspaper or looked at a community bulletin board, you've heard about hypnosis helping people to quit smoking. How, though, can hypnosis actually help someone to quit smoking?!
To start, consider this: you can't stop a smoker from smoking a cigarette by telling them about all of the dangers or about how worried you are about their habits. This can actually be counterproductive, as once they hear you they'll become more stressed and will actually smoke more. Smoking is not only a bad habit, it is also a whole psychology, and when one becomes a smoker, they actually buy into the psychology, making it virtually impossible to get someone who doesn't want to quit smoking, to quit. Even someone who wants to quit smoking will have a difficult time simply because they will become so stressed out over the process itself which can lead to the further need for a cigarette.
Is someone who smokes actually brainwashed? It is definitely a subject up for debate. Some people say that someone who smokes does so because they want to. Others, however, believe that a smoker becomes a smoker due to the psychology of the situation, not because they actually want to smoke and fill their lungs with nicotine.
Most people start smoking when they're young. They are given a cigarette by a friend or classmate but in most cases, they aren't aware of the health and social complications smoking can cause. They are told, however, that it's "cool" and that "everyone is doing it". This causes the individual to want to smoke so that they can fit in, which is a natural desire. What that person doesn't say is that smoking will destroy the 'feel good' chemicals in the brain, also known as serotonin, and that other health complications include more wrinkles and poor eyesight, and poor artery health as the habit continues. The longer you smoke, the greater your chances of softened gums, tooth loss, and serious organ problems. Not only are the health consequences of smoking quite serious, but the financial concerns are too. It costs thousands to maintain a smoking habit over several years. Unfortunately, young smokers simply aren't aware of the dangers involved.
"You Can Die Other Ways"
People who smoke are the first to give you a list of reasons as to why they continue to smoke and refuse to quit. These can range from the serious to the silly, and often include:
- "I could die in a car crash tomorrow."
- "It's just cool."
- "My grandfather/uncle/mother smoked every day of their life and they lived a full, long life."
- "I can't stop - it's addictive."
- "I only smoke when I'm bored."
- "It's just who I am."
- "I need to do something with my hands/mouth."
- "Smoking is the only comfort I have in my life."
- "Smoking won't kill me."
These denials are usually out of fear - fear that they will try to stop smoking but will be unable to quit, making them label themselves a failure. There are times, however, when someone is able to fall out of love with smoking. This is when hypnosis can have a great effect as well as the biggest chance for success. Unfortunately a number of people are influenced by friends or are driven by stress to smoke again before they seek hypnosis, continuing the cycle of trying and failing to quit.
Smoking is actually hypnotic. You can tell this not only because of how it makes you feel (relaxed and calmer), but also because it works on triggers. How many times have you heard someone say that they only smoke when they drink a cup of coffee, or when it's their break time? These become triggers, and they are what becomes the devil's advocate to the smoker; these triggers allow them to believe that they aren't smoking much when, in fact, they are killing themselves day in and day out. They also mistakenly believe that they are addicted, physically, to cigarettes, when, in fact, it is simply the unconscious triggers that cause them to continue to smoke.
Try, for instance, clicking your fingers every time you have a cup of coffee or each time you go on break. After awhile, this would become an unconscious twitch, if you will, and you would begin clicking your fingers without realizing that you were doing it. If you tried to stop yourself from clicking your fingers when you had a cup of coffee, you would actually feel irritable and "not right", simply because you didn't click your fingers while you had cup of coffee. This, in many ways, is very similar to smoking. If you stop smoking, you feel nervous and edgy, not necessarily because of the lack of nicotine, but because you're so used to having a cigarette at certain times of the day that it feels uncomfortable to not have one.
The Hypnosis Effect
In the many years that I have been helping people to quit smoking, I have learned one thing. No matter how many cigarettes a person smokes every day, they are really only smoking a few. Why do I say this? When you have your first cigarette in the morning, or when you have your lunch break, or right before supper, you may actually enjoy them. The other ones? The cigarettes that you smoke when you are driving home or when you're preparing dinner? These are often cigarettes that sneak into your day. These are the ones that you aren't prepared for or the ones that you actually enjoy. They are a mind set that can be broken.
Quitting is uncomfortable for many, but hypnosis can be used as a tool to help destroy the mind set that keeps you connected to your cigarettes. It can help you to break those associations from your body and give you the opportunity to quit smoking a natural way. That can make quitting simpler than you'd ever imagined.