The trick to becoming a non-smoker is to want to be one - that's not always easy.

November 3, 2015

When I work with smokers they all like the idea of the health benefits, the financial benefits and lifestyle changes that quitting will afford them and they know, consciously, that they do really need to quit. The problem is that they can’t imagine life without cigarettes - what will fill the void? Cigarettes are part of their identity and part of their daily behaviour - what will they do at that social event, after breakfast, with that cup of coffee, after that meeting, when they're stressed………?!


Yes, cigarettes are addictive, chemically, but often it's not the nicotine that keeps you smoking, but the beliefs, habits and rituals associated with smoking.  You can get over nicotine addiction quite quickly, but what about the void left without the habit - that's what keeps nagging at you longer term.  And those habits are extremely powerful - they’ve been rehearsed and practiced for years to the extent they're worth killing yourself for. Imagine no longer having an addiction to nicotine, would you still want to smoke?


Smoking cessation programmes are often based on maintaining motivation, supporting you through the decision making on a daily basis and aversion suggestions which involve detailed descriptions of the health risks associated with smoking and the benefits of quitting. These are all helpful and important and I incorporate many of them in my quit programmes - they can also be very effective. However, they're all appealing to our rational, conscious minds and much of the powerful habitual behaviours and cravings are physical and subconscious. These approaches often lead to you becoming an ex-smoker with a continued effort to stay being 'an ex one', and to stay on the wagon day by day. The difference between an ex-smoker and non-smoker is that the non-smoker just doesn’t want  to smoke any more. It’s no longer a part of them, part of their life or habit or routine, and with the right support you can be one.


When I work with smokers I use Hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to tackle the deep rooted behaviours and desires - how do you know when it’s time to have a cigarette? What compels you to light-up? What do cigarettes do you for you, or what do you believe they do you for you? What really motivates you in life? What are your danger points where you just can’t imagine not having one? It may surprise you but we all use sophisticated visual, kinaesthetic and auditory drivers and strategies to trigger things that we want to do and avoid those that we don’t. Often we are not aware of them and they can be quite subtle. The good thing is that, once you expose them, you change them and they can be powerful drivers for different behaviours and feelings. It’s how I cure phobias.


It is possible to re-programme those subconscious habits and cravings - Imagine just not wanting a cigarette anymore; Imagine having different feelings toward cigarettes; Imagine getting the same rewards without them and being able to utilise natural subconscious motivation; Imagine not missing them. This is all possible either very quickly if you're motivated enough, or over a series of treatments. 


So, if you're thinking of giving up, but don’t want to lose that old friend, or crutch or part of you that is a smoker why not get in touch? I can discuss with you what I have to offer and make sure it’s appropriate and safe for you. My approach is not without effort or commitment, but it tackles the issues where they lie - in your subconscious and gets it working for you not against you.


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