When I’ve spoken to previous clients some of the things they had in common which prevented them from taking real action to quit the smoking had been:
- They’d just been diagnosed with a health issue and had never really thought about quitting the smoking until now.
- There was a belief that they needed heaps of willpower and were scared of failure.
- They wanted to stop but felt unprepared due to life’s stresses. They believed that cigarettes relieved their stress.
- They’d tried other NHS approved methods and failed by drifting back into the habit.
- They’d had hypnosis years ago – but after a short period, someone or something always brought them back to taking a crafty drag from a seductive cigarette. So why would this time be different?
- Fear of hypnosis. Fear of switching from one unwanted habit to another.
And of course, you may have your own unique reasons as to why you’ve been putting off doing something about your desire to stop the smoking.
What’s going on?
All such concerns may just mean that you’re caught in a sticky net known as ‘the cycle of change.’
Stages of change
- Pre-contemplate: No conscious thoughts about a need to change the smoking habit
- Contemplation: Aware there is a need to stop the smoking, but not feeling any urgency to make the change
- Preparation: Awoken to the need to change due to present circumstances (health or financial). Or a desire to achieve a goal which has more meaning and purpose than the smoking. (Starting a family. Improving one’s physical fitness. Being a role model for good health. Financial benefits)
- Action: Taking real steps towards making a behavioural change in stopping the habit. Either via NHS or seeking therapy for quitting smoking
- Maintenance: Successfully letting go of the tobacco. Sustaining a life without the old smoke by engaging in more positive behaviours.
The worry about failure, lack of willpower, or a fear of losing control.
Many people stop the smoking and remain in the maintenance stage by being a non-smoker for the rest of their lives. Other’s hit a new decision point…here are a few examples:
NHS methods to stop smoking can and do work for a lot of people. However, there can be unique factors that may bring a person back to the tobacco, and it has nothing to do with willpower.
“Hypnosis makes it easy to stop, it doesn’t make it impossible not to smoke.”
- The “oh go on just have the one and see what happens” – is how the smoking may first start to seduce its way back into a recurring habit. That’s because of the way nicotine works in hijacking the reward systems of the brain.
- Chemical reactions also train the mind to associate times, places, or people with the habit.
One person reported that after a year of stopping she went on holiday to find that the familiar environment gave her the craving to have a cigarette. Without the knowledge to know what to do she relented when offered one and then another…and then another. But the outcome could have been different if she’d had access to many essential keys, unique to her, which would have enabled her to remain a non-smoker. (more on this in a moment)
What is Hypnosis:
* “Hypnosis uses mind-states that we all enter voluntarily on a daily basis.”
There are no magic wands – there is no going under! For Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy it’s more about waking you up out of that smoking trance. And using a variety of techniques that will help you to remain present by becoming **indifferent to the smoking.
The Simmons Method: Is one of the systems that use a flexible approach.
Has the hypnotherapist extended their training to specialise in understanding that there are many essential keys to help clients become empowered? If yes, then they can use these learnings during your treatment and you will be provided with tools that you can continue to use. Giving you an even better chance to remain a permanent non-smoker within the ‘cycle of change’ model.
Having more choice available to you:
You may be realising that ‘willpower’ alone is not the prerequisite for quitting cigarettes. That there are other factors unique to each individual in helping them to sustain their freedom.
In some cases, people find they relapse on an occasion when there is an unexpected familiar trigger or life challenging event. Or because they decide to see what happens if they smoke!
When you’ve developed the deeper unconscious awareness, have tools at your fingertips then you can feel even more empowered. And that means breaking up with the unhealthy habit because you can lean into your own self-resiliency. (You can take back control)
Such resiliency includes understanding more about your emotional needs, and that means you don’t have to replace one unhealthy habit with another.
Maintaining your non-smoker identity:
So, if there is an unexpected trigger you have the option to quickly re-establish the preparation and action stages before the old habit takes hold.
Not all hypnotherapists work in the same way
It’s beneficial to choose a therapist who has:
- A genuine understanding of how nicotine hijacks the reward system of the brain
- Has interventions to help you conquer your Unique Emotional triggers
- Provides tools which help you overcome your Environment triggers
- Has the capability to assess and offer help with issues of chronic inescapable stress
- Is qualified in the use of hypnosis and trained in language patterns that positively influence your mind to act towards what you truly desire.
“Being a person who is a non-smoker and having the capability to remain a non-smoker.”
Getting out of your own way
Client’s found that by asking themselves these questions it enabled them to take one real step towards their smoke-free future:
‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong is my motivation?’ (1 is none at all up to 10 extremely motivated to stop) The closer your answer is to 10, the closer you are to taking action.
Ask yourself these questions: a starter towards taking that next step towards your smoke-free future.
- What are your positive reasons for stopping?
- What do you fear if you don’t stop?
- Who (or what) else would benefit if you do let the smoking go?
- What means more to you than the smoking?
- Review your scale of 1 to 10 how strong your motivation to stop now?
Ready to take the first step?
Remember to check that your therapist of choice understands and practices a flexible approach, which aims to break those associations which have taken you back to the smoking in the past.
Maria Richards is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and qualified in the Simmons Method in Smoking Cessation.
For further information:
** Meaning of ‘Indifferent’ = uninterested, unresponsive to the possibility of smoking.
*** For general information about ‘change theory’ in the field of social work you may find the following interesting:
*QCH “Hypnosis uses mind-states that we all enter daily on a voluntary basis” – to understand how Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy utilises these mind state’s you may like to read the following: