Conquering the Smoking Habit
By D. Mitchell Lovette CH, CI
Founder, Hypnosis Group of Houston
First off is smoking a habit or an a addiction? Well, that often depends on who you are taking to. The National Institute of Health published a report revised in 2009; found here, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-addiction , which emphatically states that it is a powerful addiction. Lawsuits have been fought and won which would seem to support this conclusion.
What one person can challenge such a powerful study, especially when it is describes a habit from which they wish to be free. Not very encouraging news. How is a person to form any belief other than the idea that the tobacco habit cannot be easily overcome? Belief in the idea of the addictive power of tobacco products then creates “unbelief” in ever being able to quit. What starts out as experimentation with tobacco as a youth, then often develops into a cycle of dis-ease with life, distraction from those feelings with a tobacco product, frustration from the use of tobacco products, and then eventual attempts to quit. Then after a period, there is a growing dis-ease with life, re-starting the use of tobacco products, frustration from the use of tobacco, and again attempts to quit, etc… This pattern in itself, re-enforces the idea to an individuals mind that attempts to stop the use of tobacco is futile and further efforts should be abandoned.
Smoking: A Well Entrenched Habit or an Addiction?
As a Hypnotist, I along with many others, from our experience have come to believe that the smoking habit is just a well entrenched habit. This is not to deny that there are psychological/physiological effects which are contributing to the enforcing of the behavior. Although I have heard much from smokers leading me to believe that quitting smoking is mentally uncomfortable, I can’t say I have ever have ever heard of a person dying from the withdrawal from nicotine(Google Searched), or read of crimes commonly committed solely to purchase cigarettes. individuals who are smokers, are commonly placed in jails with no regard to providing cigarettes to protect from withdrawal symptoms. It is also routine for women to easily quit smoking when they discover they are pregnant.
In contrast, I believe it is generally assumed by people that serious crime is only commonly committed, to gain access to more physically/psychologically “addictive drugs”. It is also not uncommon for withdrawal from “addictive” drugs to cause serious complications including death, even while under medical supervision. With the belief firmly entrenched in the minds of smokers that the smoking habit raises to the level of addiction, what would explain the phenomena that every day, men and women are giving up the use of cigarettes and tobacco products permanently through the use of hypnosis. Often in as few as 2 sessions for the highly motivated and 4 sessions for those that must quit, but aren’t necessarily convinced of that ability.
The Subconscious Mind and Smoking
Another aspect which keeps the cycle of use going is the power of the subconscious mind to drive behavior. Through my interaction with smokers who wish to quit, I have observed that most of them continue to use tobacco products to the detriment of their health and social life, not because of an inability to stop smoking (most smoker have quit many times), but because of an inability to stop starting again. This is a demonstration of the power of the sub-conscious mind to continually re-enforce behavior it feels is “helpful”, while rejecting overwhelming and constant evidence to the contrary. The sub-conscious mind simply overpowers attempts by the conscious mind of regaining control. Subconscious belief that the use of tobacco is helpful to the person, once accepted at an earlier age, always overcomes the conscious will to stop. The person then feels failure, shame, public embarrassment from starting again which gives power to the unbelief of being able to quit. These feelings can then re-energize the habit to higher levels of use than before.
Belief and the Subconscious
How could this powerful belief that the use of tobacco would be helpful to a person be so firmly established in a person’s subconscious mind in the first place?
The answer is that no smoker ever approached smoking the first time, with complete valid factual information. If they did I’m convinced, there would be no one using tobacco products of any kind today. Many are exposed to incorrect but positively spun ideas about smoking as children or teens, which are then filtered through unformed judgment mechanisms, and readily accepted. The desire to smoke can also have come through the simple admiration of a parent, family member, celebrity, or friend who smokes. Whatever the initial impression, once smoking, dipping, or chewing tobacco is accepted as desirable and positive, the mind begins to pursue the fulfillment of that desire, despite the costs.
Maybe there are smokers reading this now, remembering the first thoughts they had when trying tobacco the first time, and how wrong those thoughts were in relation to their true experience since then. I ask them to consider; if you were the big brother or sister of yourself at the moment you were offered your first cigarette, based on what you know about smoking now, would you have stopped yourself from taking that first puff? I venture to say; all but the most uncaring would have made a fairly vigorous attempt at interrupting that first cigarette. They also might have had some scathing words for the person offering it!
Considering smokers’ beliefs in tobacco addiction, coupled with a un-belief in being able to quit, Hypnotists believe that another approach must generally be used in order to break the cycle discussed earlier. Although hypnotists are mostly forbidden from making health claims in regard to the effectiveness of the hypnotic process, there is ample evidence to the contrary. A few places to find factual information about hypnosis are two of the leading Hypnosis Certification agencies based in the United States:
The National Guild of Hypnotists – www.ngh.net
The American Council of Hypnotist Examiners – www.hypnotistexaminers.org
Hypnosis: Change the belief Systems and Stop Smoking
As a Hypnotist I have come to understand that the most effective method removing these well entrenched belief systems, involves first correcting the inaccurate knowledge that a person possessed when they first began the tobacco habit. This often involves a process of age regression of the tobacco user while in the hypnotic state, to the time just prior to the moment of introduction to tobacco products. The ability of a person being able enter into hypnosis with a skilled Hypnotist, is almost universally assured. It is also commonly assumed, they must be of normal intellect, can follow instructions, and any myths they believe regarding hypnosis are first overcome.
In that regressed state, the person under hypnosis is provided with the correct information regarding the damage that the use of tobacco will have on their life based on their history. Once the person has the correct information and has made a new choice to abstain from the use of tobacco, they are progressed back to the present and given imaginative imagery of a better future now that they are free of the effects of daily tobacco use. At this point they are considered to be a non-smoker and they receive direct suggestions relating to the truths about how a life free from tobacco products will benefit them in all ways. Once emerged from hypnosis the subconscious mind will then easily begin acting to re-direct behavior toward these new positive goals. The change for most is often immediate and long lasting. Other individuals benefit from further sessions to deal with underlying emotions. Not properly dealt with feelings of; boredom, anger, guilt, loneliness, inadequacy, fear, stress and sadness create a feeling of dis-ease. The need to distract from those feelings through the use of tobacco, alcohol, food etc. we as Hypnotists, believe can be overcome through a process which is simple as 1-2-3!
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