by John Melton, Certified Hypnotherapist and Instructor
People are often skeptical about hypnosis and its ability to aid in smoking cessation. Because of my many years of experience helping people stop smoking, I understand the skepticism. The purpose of this article is to help people understand the benefits of hypnosis as a smoking cessation aid.
First and most important is to understand that smoking is an addiction. Popular media has informed us about the obvious addictive potential of nicotine but not much is discussed about the psychological part of this addiction.
Cigarettes find their way into the very fabric of everyday life, becoming a part of so many activities. Habits are formed, creating associative relationships to things like food and alcohol or even driving a car. Smokers also learn to identify themselves with cigarettes, and after a while, it seems to becomes a part of them. You must understand that psychological cravings are just as real as chemical ones.
Perhaps most importantly cigarettes become for most people part of a coping mechanism to try to deal with emotional pressures like stress and boredom. When a smoker becomes upset, he or she reaches for the cigarette to try and feel better. The truth is that cigarettes are a false friend that tries to control and injure you. There are much more positive ways to learn to calm and feel better without replacing smoking with food and putting on weight. You can learn how.
Recent publications tell us that our bodies eliminate the need for nicotine only a few days after we quit smoking. If it was purely a physical addiction, we would be done with smoking after a few days off the cigarette. But as most smokers know, the cravings usually continue when they try to quit cold turkey far after those first few days are over. This is because of the psychological needs that continue to drive the motivation to smoke.
This is where hypnosis helps. Hypnosis is an excellent tool for re-learning. By changing subconscious motivations to smoke you will change the habits and associations that drive much of this behavior. You can also learn new coping skills so that the cigarette is not needed during stressful or emotional times. With these new attitudes and tools, getting through the first couple of days of the chemical addiction is usually much easier. Dealing with both the chemical and the psychological addiction is the real key to long term smoking cessation.
As you can imagine, with a smart plan and new tools and new attitudes about smoking, you can learn how to change the habits and healthfully deal with the emotional strains of life free from cigarettes.
Hypnosis is not magic, but it is a powerful tool. With professional help and understanding and if you really want to quit and are willing to put in some effort and invest in yourself, you really can quit smoking for life.