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Help to Quit Smoking

Updated on July 21, 2008

Since around 1976, as a hypnotherapist, I have helped many thousands of people to quit smoking.

I have found that the problem that many people find when quitting smoking is that they underestimate the psychological addiction, which in my view tends to be around 90% of smoking addiction, and they overestimate the 10% addiction that is physical. The physical addiction to smoking tends to be short-lived because once a physical sensation has been registered and acknowledged by the conscious mind, it tends to disappear, like a puff of smoke - no pun intended there.

The psychological addiction to smoking is so powerful because it involves the power of the imagination, and the will is powerless against the imagination. In this short essay, it is my intention to help those who are really prepared and willing to quit smoking using the imagination. The imagination is used in hypnosis and is a way to tap into the awesome power of the subconscious mind. Even the fact that the subconscious has an awesome power, is down to the imagination. In my (Zen) view, the imagination is the subconscious and the subconscious is the imagination - one and the same thing.

  • The first step is to ask yourself if you are really willing to quit smoking.

  • The second is to commit to quit smoking.

Without these two steps your intention to quit smoking may be designated to another failure.

Willingness:

It needs to be recognised that being willing to quit smoking and wanting to stop smoking isn't quite the same. I have met so many people who have said to me, "Yes, I want to quit smoking" but then had to think more carefully when I have asked them if they are really willing to quit smoking.

Commitment:

Once you decide you are willing to quit smoking, there has to be commitment, and that commitment needs to be absolute and unconditional. Commitment needs to be like diving from a high diving board - one is not committed until one's feet has left the board and one is hurtling towards the swimming pool below. There is no turning around in mid air, that is commitment.

Using the mind and imagination, imagine what such a commitment would be like. Imagine that the only thing that would change it would be something that was beyond your control like a sudden tornado or hurricane that would come along and blow your body back up to the diving board again. Highly unlikely, right?

Now imagine this... Your word to quit smoking is your word to yourself. In order for you to quit, nothing short of some highly unlikely event beyond your control, will thwart you from your commitment to better health and improved wealth that you will experience when you have quit smoking.

If you break this commitment, it is likely that you will spend the rest of your life quitting smoking. Just like Mark Twain humorously said, "Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it a thousand times!"

If this is how you want your life to be, keep TRYING to quit smoking. If you want that improved health and wealth, don't TRY.... COMMIT TO QUIT SMOKING. Again note the distinction between trying and committing to quit smoking!

Once your commitment is in place - and it should be if you are really serious with your intent to quit smoking - you can now begin to use the power of imagination and visualisation.

Each day, and every time you think about lighting up...

· Imagine what it would be like to be smoking free. · Imagine what it would be like to be able to get out of breath without coughing your lungs up, for instance. · Imagine that you have a fresher, cleaner taste in you mouth. · If you are in a country where smoking is banned in public places, imagine that you can go into restaurants and public places without worrying about having to go outside because you are the victim of smoking addiction. · Imagine what you could buy with the money that you will save because you no longer spend it on smoking.

Many people have said to me, "It's OK for you, you don't smoke"

That's true, because I quit way back in the 1970s.

Other things to be aware of and some handy tips when you quit smoking...

  • You are never a non-smoker when you quit smoking, you are always addicted to smoking. Therefore one draw of tobacco smoke has a strong potential to get you hooked on smoking again.

  • If your motivation in quitting smoking is better health, do something in the way of exercise or healthy eating to improve your health and well-being.

  • If your motivation in quitting smoking is to improve your wealth, get a large container and put the money you would normally spend on smoking into that container each day. From time to time as the weeks go by, count the money that has accumulated and imagine what you would like to buy for yourself as a reward.

Before I was a therapist, I worked as a professional musician and used to smoke up to 3 packs of 20 cigarettes a day. One day, I was invited to play tennis with a good friend of mine. Within 5 minutes of the game, I had to stop and sit down. I couldn't stop coughing and felt extremely light-headed as I was unable to get enough oxygen into my brain!

I committed there and then to quit. I had not long started my training to become a hypnotherapist and I was aware of the power of the imagination. I used all the techniques I have outlined above and have never smoked a cigarette since. On rare occasions throughout the years, I have been tempted. I then simply used the power of my imagination to imagine what it would be like if I lit just one cigarette. I would probably say to myself that it is OK that I don't smoke and I won't do so tomorrow. But tomorrow is always tomorrow. And then my loss of commitment to better health would be gone and I would soon be smoking regularly again. This scenario to me is horrific and more than enough to get me to refuse to draw tobacco smoke into my body ever again. Such is the power of my imagination that I have worked on over the years. It's just like any muscle in the body, the more I use it, the stronger it becomes.

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