Using Hypnosis to Quit Smoking
By Charles Hopkins
Published 05/18/2006 | Self Improvement
All habits, inhibitions, and mental blocks are stored in our subconscious mind. With each of these factors there are associated feelings and sensations. Some time in the past these emotional inputs - feelings and sensations - were experienced repeatedly. The repetition reinforced those emotions and made them more dominating than other emotions. The subconscious mind tries to re-live the experience, creates situations so that dominating emotions appear again and again and get further reinforced. As a result the subconscious mind creates and maintains self-made limitations.
To take an example, say a person has a habit of smoking. There are physical and mental sensations connected with smoking. The subconscious mind will try to experience those sensations again. It will create a situation in which smoking will become a "necessity". The data stored with the subconscious will be confirmed and the subconscious mind will happily conclude that smoking is a necessity.
To break any bad habit or limitations set up in the subconscious it will be necessary to change the conviction held by it. The stored emotions of bad habit will have to be replaced with desirable emotions. Hypnotism is one of the methods for changing the beliefs held by the subconscious mind.
There are two broad stages in the process of hypnotism.
2. Focus on the problem
In the relaxed condition the subconscious mind is more receptive. You will need to have some perfection in achieving relaxation by practicing stage 1 several times. This is a necessary precondition for hypnosis. After you are sufficiently trained in relaxation you can divert your attention to problem solving. By this technique it is possible to solve virtually any personal problems.
Try to recall an event in which you felt totally relaxed. It could be your recent vacation or meeting with old friends or time you spent in reserve forest away from daily problems. It could be any situation with which memory of your relaxation is connected. If you cannot recall any event you can invent one in your imagination. You can have a combination of real life and imaginary situations.
After deciding the situation you will mentally go there. Write down the steps for going there from your present position. Your steps could be something like this.
1. I am sitting comfortably on my favorite chair.
2. Now I am shutting out my worries.
3. My nerves have calmed down and I am feeling more relaxed.
4. My breathing is becoming more rhythmic and relaxed.
5. I am breathing more deeply. (Concentrate on your breathing for a minute or two.)
6. I am feeling that I have descended into Endcity Park. (Try to remember the park in detail.)
7. I am enjoying the natural surroundings, the smell of fresh air, all around there is feast for my eyes.
8. The atmosphere is so soothing and relaxing.
9. I feel totally relaxed.
10. I am totally relaxed.
After writing these steps, revise and remember them thoroughly because once you start the process of relaxation you cannot break to consult your notes.
In the entire process of relaxation you will be talking to yourself. You can silently talk to yourself or record your talk in your voice and play the recording when you want to relax. While recording speak in slow and soothing voice. For each step give sufficient time in your recording to experience the feelings as if you are really there.
When you are ready to start the process, sit comfortably in your favorite chair. Close your eyes, silently start talking to yourself and go through the steps one by one. (Or play the recording). Give sufficient time and stress to each step to capture the emotions. After you reach equivalent of step 10 given in the example above you can retrace your steps and return back to normalcy. You should practise these steps few times so that you are able to relax quickly at will.
Now you are ready to focus on your attention on resolving the problems. From step 10, or its equivalent, you can go directly to the next stage.
Focus on Problem Solving
There are several methods of concentrating on the problems. A method called 'pattern interrupting' works well for eliminating habits like smoking. In this method you start with writing the steps and feelings associated with execution of your bad habit.
If you wish to quit smoking, make a list of all the steps you take when you smoke. Following steps are only suggestive; you can make your own steps:
1. I am totally relaxed (you will be continuing from the relaxed position).
2. I have an urge to smoke.
3. I take out a cigarette. There goes my 50c (or whatever the cost of one cigarette).
4. I take out my lighter.
5. I can already feel the excitement of smoking.
6. I light my cigarette.
7. I am now smoking (remember the taste and the sensation of smoking).
8. My cigarette is over and I throw away the stub.
9. The evil act of smoking is over. At last!
10. Feeling of guilt.
11. Feeling of mischievous accomplishment because I finished my cigarette before Anita could see me smoking.
12. Comforting feeling that I will not be smoking for some time at least.
13. I am still relaxed.
14. What a great achievement it will be when I totally quit smoking.
After writing down the steps, try to remember them.
Next time after you are in relaxed stage start with the steps to focus on the problem. Try to re-live the experience. After completing the steps again think of steps 2 to 12 but not sequentially. Think of the steps in random order to break the pattern. Try to think of each step randomly about 3 times.
Now think of desirable steps. For example, you can concentrate on these steps:
1. I am totally relaxed.
2. It is good that my last cigarette is over.
3. It feels great just to think that I will not smoke again.
4. I am happy that I will not have to hide anything from Anita.
5. What a sense of achievement. I have finally quit smoking. I have done it!
6. This is the victory of my will power over my useless habit.
7. I am still relaxed.
After repeating those desirable steps few times you can slowly come back to your normal self.
Hypnotism has amazing power. When used properly it can bring about tremendous benefits. It is a formidable tool and should be used wisely.