By Joanna Malinowska
Please read this article if you have already successfully stopped smoking and you want to make sure that you will never start smoking again. If you only plan to quit smoking and you are about to choose the best method, my best advice is to have hypnotherapy in the first place, making sure that you choose real hypnotherapy and not some magical stage-hypnosis cure.
Firstly, I want to congratulate you. You have become a non-smoker, and you are a real achiever as you have probably done it by a method other than hypnotherapy – if you were using hypnotherapy, you wouldn’t need to read this article today. Now you want to stay a non-smoker, and this is the second step – to stay a non-smoker no matter what happens in your life.
Before I explain how hypnotherapy can assist you not only to stay a non-smoker but also to avoid all possible side effects of quitting smoking, like withdrawal symptoms, gaining weight, drinking more or being cranky, I need to make sure that you understand and remember the most important message.
Each day, even each minute, of staying free from smoking makes you stronger, healthier and adds to success. Even if you failed and have had a few smokes, keep going. It does not mean that you are a failure, it just means that you will find better ways; but if you want to succeed, you will succeed.
And congratulations again – you stopped smoking. How can hypnotherapy help you now?
Firstly, if you stopped smoking using some nicotine replacement products (such as patches or lozenges), you may still be addicted to nicotine. In this case you can use the deep hypnotic trance to remove the addiction to nicotine. When in a deep trance, you can access the deepest part of the subconscious mind that is steering the body and you can remove the addiction instantly, letting go of any withdrawal symptoms. You will sleep like a baby and your body will replace the nicotine in a natural way, so you will feel great.
Secondly, if you stopped smoking by using a prescription medication, like Zyban, Prexaton or Champix, you may need some assistance when you stop taking the medication. This kind of medication should be used with caution and only when prescribed by a doctor, and if there are side effects they also need to be reported to your doctor because they may be serious. The medication helps to let go of the physical addiction, but when it is stopped, hypnosis can be used to strengthen and extend its positive effects.
If you stopped “cold turkey”, without any help, it is quite likely that you are still addicted and you fight the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. And it may be that you succeeded through this difficult phase, just having an occasional craving from time to time. Congratulations, you are doing well, but even if you do not smoke for a long time, it is better to balance the body in hypnosis and remove even the last remaining traces of addiction.
The next step is to make sure that you are not affected by the habit of smoking. Habit is the automatic reaching for a cigarette in some common situations. It usually takes at least six weeks to replace old habits, but they may also kick in when we are unguarded – even years down the track.
Most new non-smokers stay vigilant during the first few weeks, avoiding cigarettes after food or during breaks at work, but then they may become drunk and they automatically start smoking at the pub, or strong stress hits all of a sudden and they find themselves smoking. Hypnotherapy allows old habits to be removed instantly and completely, because automatic habits are stored on the subconscious level, exactly the level on which this automatic reaching for a cigarette comes from.
The final step is to remove all psychological reasons for being a non-smoker. This is where hypnotherapy is brilliant. Smoking is most often a psychological addiction, not just a physical one. The physical addiction is not that difficult to overcome – even with the cold turkey approach – and without any help it takes only a few weeks. However, most smokers use cigarettes to help them deal with stress or anxiety, to have “me time”, a short break, or to overcome strong emotions, etc.
This kind of psychological addiction is the reason that many people who quit smoking feel strong cravings in some situations, even years after they had their last cigarette. When you look at it closely, this craving usually has a strong emotional component, but on the body level it can be blinded by a cigarette, or by a drink, or by some food. So you smoke or eat to deal with stress or emotions.
Hypnotherapy can assist in two ways – firstly, by finding and implementing better ways to deal with stress and better ways to feel good when you are upset, etc. When it is done with hypnotherapy, we make sure that the smoking is replaced with an acceptable behaviour, instead of overeating or drinking as usually happens when people quit smoking. The danger of putting on weight is closely associated with trying to fill this empty hole, as some of my clients call it, with something else other than smoking.
However, you can do much more with hypnotherapy. With a skilled and experienced hypnotherapist, you can address the real reasons for your psychological addiction and let them go, leave them in the past. Hypnotherapy uses a wide range of therapies performed in hypnosis. The psychological addiction is always a very personal issue and requires a personal approach, because everybody has different reasons for smoking, different triggers, different events from the past affecting them, and different subconscious beliefs. The skilled and experienced hypnotherapist who combines counselling and psychotherapy with hypnosis can help you not only to resolve the psychological cravings but also the underlying issues, even depression and anxiety.
And there is more. This is like a fairy-tale, because in a deep hypnotic trance you can visit the future and experience the benefits of staying a non-smoker. You can visit your fitness activity a few weeks from now, you can enjoy a long run without puffing, you can go farther into the future and see how the freedom from addiction and good health will benefit your family, and you can go to the party and see how you enjoy socialising with people on another level.
Hypnotherapy makes staying free from smoking easy. It is the most effective way to dissolve all possible temptations which could drive you back to smoking – like a physical addiction to nicotine, the long-lasting habit of lighting a cigarette situations, and mental or emotional dependency. Hypnotherapy is also enjoyable. You will learn to relax deeply; you will build real motivation and strong mental muscle, bringing joy and understanding to your life and becoming not only absolutely committed to staying a non-smoker, but seeing the fun side and enjoyment of your new freedom.