This time of year a lot of people will think about quitting smoking and many will fail.
Reg Blackwood is a hypnotist who smoked himself for over 25 years before finally quitting.
Many people use hypnosis to successfully quit smoking, however in this article, Reg offers some unique additional advice to help you become smoke-free and stay smoke-free forever.
It might take real effort to not smoke
You have to be prepared to be stronger than your habit or addiction. This might take some effort. Remember the effort you used to put into finding a cigarette when you ran out, or a packet of cigarettes or a pouch of tobacco late at night? Well now you have to put at least as much effort into not smoking. It might take time too, as your brain forms new pathways to deal with situations where you used to smoke.
You learned to like it, you can unlearn too
Smoke tastes really bad and it hurts your lungs too. You already know this, because you probably experienced this when you first started. You might occasionally still get little reminders of it after years of smoking. However, you acquired the ability to tolerate smoke, because of the perceived benefits. You also now know the negatives outweigh those
perceived positives by a large amount – that’s why you’re quitting! You learned to like it once, so you can learn to dislike it again.
Consciously choose to not smoke and continue to make the choice
It sounds obvious, but there was a time when you consciously and repetitively chose to smoke. That’s how it became a subconscious pattern or habit. Now, you have to consciously and repetitively choose to not smoke: Daily, hourly or whenever you feel like smoking. The choice might be a hard one to make at first, but it does get easier as the new subconscious pattern overwrites the old one.
If you feel a craving, tell yourself it’s just the nicotine leaving your system
Welcome the feeling and you could even look forward to it happening. Exhale slowly as you say to yourself “Good! It’s going, going, gone! Get out!” As the last of the various poisons leave your system, it might get worse before it gets better. Also, realise that smoking won’t make the feeling go away completely, it will just delay it until the nicotine starts to leave and begins the whole cycle over again.
Be wary of well-meaning advice, misinformation and myths about quitting
Is it the first few days, first few months or the first few years which are the hardest? It’s not just your well-meaning friends who love the confusion of information out there. The tobacco industry thrives on it too and positively encourages it, because it keeps people smoking.
Your habit or addiction will also cling on to misleading information, in an effort to give you an excuse to stay hooked. Remember, your journey as a non smoker is your own and your personal quitting experiences might differ greatly to anybody else’s. Consider keeping a journal or a blog to record your experiences.
Incidentally, if you’re concerned about gaining weight, for the small percentage of people who do experience weight gain, it usually levels out after around nine months anyway.
Research Big Tobacco
You know all those little excuses you use with yourself, your friends and family about why you’re still smoking? The tobacco companies have heard them all and their marketing is always one step ahead of you. You might even be surprised to discover they’re the source of some of those excuses. Do some research about the industry and you’ll discover how it
keeps you smoking just enough to keep you as a customer, while simultaneously recruiting younger and younger smokers to replace you once you’re dead. Once you realise how few tobacco companies are actually out there, producing all those “competing” brands, and learn how much money they make from you, you’ll never want to give them another penny of your hard-earned cash again!
Finally, here’s a short exercise you can do in preparation for becoming a non-smoker. You can get someone else to read the directions for you, if you prefer.
Imagine your future as both a smoker and a non-smoker
Close your eyes, relax and engage all of your senses as you imagine yourself first in one year’s time, then in five years time, then in ten years time, still smoking.
What does your skin LOOK like? Your hair? Your teeth? Your lungs?
Visualise the money you spent, the pile of butts and empty packs around you, the disappointed faces of your loved ones.
What does your hair SMELL like? Your breath? Your car? Your clothes? Your kids’ hair?
Imagine the smell of all those cigarette butts, in rubbish bins and wet in the rain.
What does your breathing SOUND like? Your cough? Your voice?
Imagine hearing the sad and disappointed voices of your loved ones.
FEEL the laboured breathing, the phlegmy throat and cough, the texture of your skin, teeth, tongue, throat and lungs.
When you imagine ten years in the future, are you even here at all?
Now repeat the exercise imagining your future as a non-smoker, replacing all of the negative imagery with positive experiences.
Good luck with quitting the habit. You’ll be glad you did!