The best time for you to quit smoking was right after your first cigarette, the second best time is now!
We use clinical hypnotherapy to help people quit smoking, but does it work? And if so, why?
First, let’s talk about the science of smoking. If you’re a smoker, have you ever stopped to think, really think, about what’s going on in your body, and in your mind, when you smoke a cigarette? Do you remember when you smoked your first cigarette? How did you feel?… For most of us, we felt nauseous, light headed, some of us may have even thrown up… One thing’s for sure. It is likely that it was very unpleasant. The reason for this is that cigarette smoke is poisonous. Nicotine is a poison. A thimble full would be enough to kill a horse. Luckily there are only trace amounts in a cigarette, however, there is still enough to poison our bodies and to trigger our natural physical responses to being poisoned.
If we persevere and keep smoking, after about 10 days our bodies become physically acclimatised to the frequent poisoning and our brains release endorphins into the body to counteract the poison. It is this release of endorphins, the body’s natural opioids, that is the only enjoyable part of smoking, because endorphins make us feel relaxed and calm… However, in order to trigger this feeling we are having to poison ourselves with a powerful poison. And the worst news for smokers is that if after smoking a cigarette we feel 100% poisoned, the release of endorphins only makes us feel 20% poisoned… If we didn’t smoke at all, we would feel 0% poisoned!
When we treat people with clinical hypnotherapy to help them quit smoking we always ask our clients what they like about smoking and what they hate about smoking. Most people when they are asked about all the things they hate about smoking can give you a long list: it’s smelly, it’s dirty, it’s expensive, it’s bad for my health, it’s a terrible example for my kids, my partner and/or my kids hate it, it’s making me ill, it makes me feel bad about myself. When they are asked about what they love about smoking, the list is very short, it’s usually something like “It relaxes me” or “it makes me feel calmer”… It doesn’t. The endorphins your brain releases in response to the poisoning are what “relax” you. Not the cigarette itself. Your body would also release endorphins if you stabbed yourself in the leg with a knife. Would you stab yourself in the leg 20 times a day in order to experience the feeling you would get as the brain released endorphins in response?
Now that we have explained what’s happening physically, what about what’s happening mentally?
Well, smoking is a habit. It is also something that we normally associate with other activities, perhaps it’s waking up in the morning, or when having a coffee break, or a drink, when driving or watching the TV. Maybe it’s when stressed at work? Whatever the association, it means that when we are in these situations or experiencing those feelings it causes us to reach for a cigarette.
We often also believe, at a deep level, that our lives might somehow be worse without cigarettes, that we might be more stressed, less relaxed, less able to cope with what life throws at us.
What’s interesting is that habits, beliefs and associations are all components of the subconscious mind, not the conscious mind. So, if we want to break the habits and the associations that make us want to reach for the cigarette packet, if we want to change the deep belief that we will somehow be worse off if we quit, we need to access the subconscious mind.
That’s where clinical hypnotherapy comes in. Hypnotherapy, through a very pleasant process of progressive physical and mental relaxation allows us to quieten the conscious mind and thereby access the subconscious mind. We can then set about making the changes that you want and with this help enable you to quit cigarettes in a way that is far easier and more enjoyable than you might ever imagine.
Why can’t we just quit through will-power? The answer is we can!… But it’s much, much harder, as anybody who has tried may have found.
In clinical hypnotherapy we believe that there is a powerful force that resides in the subconscious mind we call ‘the Protector’. Now, the Protector is fiercely protective of our wellbeing, but it tends to see things in black and white… So if it believes that we need cigarettes to get us through our day, it can twist this belief until it becomes “we might die without cigarettes”. When we try to overcome this belief with will-power, it’s a bit like trying to stop a runaway train by shouting at it. We may be full of good intentions, but our will-power resides in our conscious mind, so firstly, we are setting up a conflict between our conscious and our subconscious minds. Secondly, will-power is designed as a temporary over-ride in our minds that allows us, for instance and God-forbid, to run into a burning building to save a loved one, despite the fact that we know fire is dangerous and might burn, or even kill us. Once we are out of the burning house, the Protector re-establishes the status quo and reinforces our belief that fire is dangerous. If that didn’t’ happen, we might be dangerously suggestible, changing our minds about the things that might hurt us.
When we set up a conflict between will-power in our conscious mind and the Protector in our subconscious mind it’s a conflict that the Protector nearly always wins… Eventually. Because it plays the survival trump card… “You might die without cigarettes”. No wonder it can be so frustrating trying to quit smoking using will-power alone!
When we are in hypnosis, however, we can access the subconscious mind directly and we can persuade the protector, by removing the negative programming and replacing it with positive programming, that cigarettes are what we should be protecting ourselves against, and that smoking is undesirable, dangerous and foolish.
So, clinical hypnotherapy can be a powerful treatment for people who want to give up smoking, but for hypnotherapy to be really effective it also relies on something from you… 100% commitment to quitting. If you think you are ready to quit now and are 100% committed contact us and in just one 2 hour session you could be 100% smoke free.