How will hypnotherapy help me to give up smoking?
January is that time of year when many of the estimated 10 million adults who smoke cigarettes in the UK consider stopping for good. Reasons often cited are the extortionate costs and pressure from loved ones, as well as the anti-social nature of smoking, including having to leave social situations to satisfy cravings, foul-smelling clothes and hair and bad breath.
Smokers are all too aware of the health risks that will lead to roughly half of all cigarette smokers dying prematurely due to smoking-related diseases. Lung cancer is possibly the most talked about cancer risk linked to smoking and yet mouth, throat, nose, lip, bladder, stomach, kidney, cervix and pancreatic cancer are all potential killers for smokers. In addition, heart disease is a major cause of fatalities in the UK and it is estimated that around one in six cases is caused by smoking.
If that wasn’t enough, it is believed that smoking affects the fertility of men and women, sometimes leading to problems conceiving. In addition, on average, female smokers go through the menopause up to 2 years earlier than non-smokers and are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Also, smoking can affect both your sense of taste and smell and you are more likely to develop facial wrinkles and have dental hygiene problems, including gum disease, if you smoke.
So with the evidence stacked so strongly in favour of reasons not to smoke, why do so many people still do it?
Well, you may be interested to learn that smoking is more of a psychological habit than it is a physical addiction. This means that even when a smoker uses a form of nicotine replacement to overcome their cravings, their mind is potentially hard-wired in terms of their ‘habit’, which is what eventually draws so many back to cigarette smoking.
Hypnotherapy seeks to help smokers to grasp the psychology behind their smoking addiction, thereby assisting them in quitting once and for all. It is not the rational, logical part of the brain that drives people to smoke. No, that is the part of the brain that will come up with a long list of all the reasons why not to smoke. It is a more primitive part of the human brain that wills someone to light up and it is, understandably, this part of the brain that is somewhat confused by the thousands of chemicals smokers introduce into their body when they puff on a cigarette. This primitive part of the brain will send out messages such as, ‘I need to smoke to relax’ or ‘I have to smoke after a meal’, all of which are falsified by this part of the brain that does not lead with logic or reason.
As people get older, they can find it harder and harder to kick the smoking habit. This is because the primitive, emotional mind works harder and harder as the rational, logical part of the brain grows in strength. As the list of reasons to quit smoking grows longer, the primitive, emotional brain will go from sending out messages, such as, ‘I really enjoy smoking’ to creating belief systems like ‘I need to smoke’ or even ‘I am a smoker and that’s it; I’m not going to change now.’
Are you ready to stop smoking?
If you are considering using hypnotherapy to help you to stop smoking, it is important to ensure you are choosing to quit for yourself. Hypnotherapy is most effective when you really want to give up and are seeking that little extra help to take the final step to a smoke-free life. If, however, you are stopping because friends or family are pressuring you to do so, you may not get the results you want.
A solution-focused hypnotherapist will spend approximately three quarters of your two hour session gathering information about your current habit and linking that to a range of information about how the brain works and the psychology behind why you smoke. The final part of the session will be using hypnosis at which point your hypnotherapist will look to change your thought patterns by making suggestions while you are in a trance state.
Hypnotherapy works by putting you in a deeply relaxed state where your mind is more open to suggestion, which, in the case of stopping smoking, will be linked to the mental rehearsal of breaking the habit and the positive benefits that will arise from this.
You can look forward to improved health just 20 minutes after your last cigarette as this is the time it takes for your pulse to return to normal. After just 8 hours, your circulation will have improved, after
24 hours your lungs will start to clear out smoking debris and within 72 hours your breathing will be easier and energy levels will increase.
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy for stopping smoking is not a magical process and, therefore, will require a concerted effort on the part of the person quitting smoking to ensure they stay smoke-free, but the benefits are vast. The ultimate aim of stop smoking hypnosis is to help people to take control of their addiction and to develop new patterns of thinking that promote healthier behaviours so that they can live a freer life.
Sonia Diiorio of Hypnotherapy Wiltshire is a Solution-Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist based in Trowbridge