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Sunday, February 5, 2012
I’ve always admired people who can walk away from a life-long habit or addiction. I remember when I was a young Army captain working at the Depot. My boss, who was doing his annual two-week Navy reserve duty in Germany, decided that being forced to pay exorbitant prices for a pack of cigarettes on the local economy was a great motivation for stopping his smoking habit. He was successful. Over the years I have heard quite a few stories like this. Many times the ex-smoker was able to make a permanent change. For others, their smoking habit returned as soon as a new stressor occurred in their lives.
Smoking is not just a habit. It is often a crutch, which fulfills a programmed need. It may be a response to boredom, a need for self-soothing due to problems encountered earlier in life, or it may represent a mechanism, which assists with other problems such as stress or poor relationships. In any event, its origin and continuance is not just a matter of habit. So, unless the underlying issue is discovered and addressed, any temporary reprieve is just that – temporary.
What I have found over the past couple of decades is that most smokers have very little idea as to the underlying issue. Surprisingly, the answer to their smoking problem is almost always right below the surface – despite the fact that they need some assistance finding it. While occasionally I uncover something that requires the help of a psychologist, normally what we discover is something that can be easily brought to their awareness and addressed.
Once the underlying problem is explored, the next step is to focus on what a soon-to-be-ex-smoker’s life will be like once they experience life without tobacco for a prolonged period. I try to get my clients to express this in the positive. Instead of focusing on poor health, wasted money, and smelling like an ash tray all the time, I get them to change their thinking. It is easier to get excited about being vibrantly healthy, having increased resources, and feeling attractive to others.
Note that at no time do I help them obsess about their previous efforts and current desires to “try to quit” smoking. The problem is that this way of thinking – which obviously hasn’t helped them and therefore led them to seek my assistance – has never worked. Ironically, the more that you think about what you don’t want, the more that you reinforce it. Instead, it is important to help the client install new ways of thinking and let the old, unproductive ones fade away.
For some using shear willpower is sufficient to stop unwanted habits and addictions. For others, the strength of their efforts does little more than make their problems stronger. Finding the underlying problem or issue and then helping them install an alternative way of living has led to over 90% of my clients becoming very successful.
Keywords: Stop smoking, hypnosis, hypnotherapy, tobacco additions, smoking habit
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