Hypnotherapy: Stomp out the Smoking Habit

People seem to connect hypnosis with smoking. When I tell people that I am a hypnotherapist, the first thing they usually say is ‘Oh, so you make people quit smoking.’ The next comment usually is a question, ‘Does it work?’

If there were a magic wand, pill or patch that actually made people quit smoking, I seriously doubt there would be any smokers in the world. But I do know that of all the remedies to assist people in “kicking the habit,” hypnosis is at the top of the list for effective help. The reason people connect the word hypnosis with quitting smoking is because it works.

As a former smoker, I can tell you I have tried just about everything. I tried gum (with and without nicotine), exercise, homeopathic remedies and even a patch. I set deadlines and more deadlines. None of those things worked for me. It was so hard to give up something that seemed to have helped me through tough times, sadness, shyness, boredom, anger and even fun.

For many people, cigarette smoking is harder to give up than drugs and alcohol. People continue to smoke, even though they know that it could very well lead them to an untimely and painful death. Why is it so hard to quit?

One of the things I learned while attempting to stop this habit, was that I could quit. I quit, but I always started again. I even smoked in addition to the nicotine gum, patches, etc. … I didn’t feel good, but I kept doing it over and over until I met a hypnosis student, who invited me to be her experiment.

I was willing. I was so frustrated, and I really wanted to quit. I didn’t even enjoy smoking. It gave me bad breath. My clothes always smelled like smoke. I got headaches from smoking. Cigarettes were getting really expensive, and I smoked over two packs a day. I was just sick of it. My friend (the student) told me she thought I was ready. She said most smokers are just looking for a quick fix, and there just weren’t any to be found. She told me I seemed very willing to quit, but it was my imagination that stopped me. I didn’t quite get what she meant by that, but I was willing to try it.

The session itself took only about 20 minutes. I got very relaxed and I did my best to pay attention and tried to figure out what she was doing. Some of the things she said didn’t even make sense. I didn’t believe this would work; I didn’t see how it could make a difference. I even heard everything she said. I found it to be relaxing, but I didn’t think it would work for me.

After the session, she asked me if I thought I was hypnotized. I told her I didn’t think so, and I heard everything she said. She promptly told me hypnosis does not make a person deaf! I left her house, wishing I did not have the desire to smoke, but I did. I got in the car, lit up a cigarette feeling like a failure one more time.

As the days passed, I began to remember some of the things she had said. She said if I smoked, I was making a decision to do so, and that weight gain (from quitting smoking) was only a self-fulfilling prophecy. She said I would have no symptoms of withdrawal when I quit, and I wouldn’t miss smoking at all, and that I would feel so good I would never want to go back to it. She told me I would start doing things that made me feel energized and healthy, and I would start to notice things that slowed me down.

After a few weeks, I was still smoking. I found myself sort of daydreaming about running, which was interesting because I always hated running. I was really getting tired of having to smoke all the time and it was becoming very inconvenient. I actually started to smoke less, and exercise more! I started to feel better and I started to recognize that smoking was making me tired.

About eight weeks after my one hypnosis session, I decided to quit. I threw my cigarettes in the trash. I felt good about it, but I was afraid of having withdrawals from nicotine. Several hours passed. Nothing. I woke up the next day and felt really good. A week went by, still no symptoms. I have to say I was surprised the only thing I noticed that could have been any kind of withdrawal symptom was I felt uncomfortable about what to do with my hands! That was it. I started to remember even more of what the hypnotist had said and I realized that all the suggestions she gave me were working. I was exercising, not smoking, and I was not having “withdrawals.”

Why did these suggestions work, when all the other things I tried did not? One of the main reasons is when the will opposes the imagination, the imaginations wins. I wanted, or “willed” to quit, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking about being uncomfortable, gaining weight, having withdrawals, etc. … the list was endless. I had no idea those thoughts were actually motivating me to keep smoking.

It wasn’t until I started focusing on the good things about not smoking that I was finally able to quit. What happened? My imagination was working together with my will. My story is not unique, except that most people who use hypnosis to quit smoking quit after the first session. It took me two months after my first session, but the important thing is that I did quit smoking, for good.

If you have a desire to quit smoking, start by visualizing yourself as a non-smoker. See yourself feeling good, looking good and enjoying being smoke-free. Feel how good it feels to breathe fresh air instead of smoke. Think about the money you will save and what you will buy with it. Practice this daily until you feel that you are ready to stop. If you have trouble doing it yourself, seek the help of an experienced hypnotherapist for a session or two. If you have tried to quit and it hasn’t worked yet, don’t give up. Your health is well worth the trouble.

And when you do quit, remember this:If you don’t smoke one cigarette, you will never smoke again.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.