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Hypnosis: New Hope for Smokers

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Health

Does anyone have a kind word anymore for smokers? If you smoke, you are maligned by strangers, ostracized from public places and taxed beyond belief by local and state governments. Social workers accuse you of child abuse. Environmentalists blame you for pollution. Doctors harp about your health. And the simple act of buying a pack of cigarettes can consign you to the poorhouse.


In the United States, an estimated 24 percent of men and 19 percent of women are smokers. These people are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.


Smoking is a ball and chain, imprisoning you as surely as though you were behind bars. You are inexorably tied to your cigarette pack and lighter. You can never leave the house, the office, the car without checking to make sure your ball and chain are with you.


No wonder so many people who are addicted to smoking want to quit. Then why do so many fail in their attempt? It's not a simple answer. The punishment for trying to escape this addiction is intense physical discomfort and mental anxiety. Smoking involves psychological as well as physical addiction and those psychological triggers can be just as hard to defeat as the effects of the nicotine.


Hypnosis is one of the most powerful allies in the battle to stop smoking. While nicotine patches and gum can help with the physical cravings, they do nothing for your psychological discomfort. The hypnotist, however, seeks to evaluate what psychological purpose your smoking serves. Do you smoke because you admire (identify with) someone who smokes? Perhaps your parents smoked or your peers smoke. Perhaps you are emulating someone famous whom you admire. Perhaps you subconsciously believe that smoking looks cool.


For many people, smoking acts as a replacement for something they feel is missing from their lives. People smoke as a substitute for companionship, love, security or self-esteem. In addition, they actually experience sensual gratification with smoking. The gratification may come from the taste of the tobacco or from the velvety feel of the smoke or from the physical act of holding and lighting the cigarette. These are all pleasurable tactile rewards.


There is also a category of smoker whose habit may be linked to an earlier traumatic event. If you experienced a time where you almost died (or thought you would die) and had difficulty breathing during that episode, smoking may actually reinforce your sense of being alive! The act of consciously and deeply inhaling that occurs when you smoke is a way to reassure a frightened part of yourself that you are alive and breathing.


The value of hypnosis in helping someone to quit smoking lies in its ability to address these psychological triggers. It leverages the mind's natural ability to imagine and create a new reality. With hypnosis you can reprogram your mind to break that mental link between smoking and someone whom you admire or want to emulate. You can reprogram your mind to heal those internal voids so you no longer need to smoke. Most importantly, you can reprogram your mind to feel alive and secure without cigarettes.


There are SO many reasons to divorce your cigarettes the primary one being your health. If you seriously want to free yourself from the ball and chain of this addiction but were afraid that you wouldn't succeed, then consider hypnosis. When used in conjunction with some of the physical aids now available, hypnosis can increase significantly your chances for success. With hypnosis you can walk with confidence onto the path of physical freedom.