An old article I wrote, published in Healthy Life magazine.
Have you picked up this Health magazine in one hand, and lit a cigarette with the other? Do you want to quit but that little voice in your head says you can’t? That persistent voice may be your subconscious mind trying to sabotage your efforts. Will you fight this powerful part of your mind, or harness its potency to help you?
Many people who want to stop smoking say they lack the willpower. As soon as they imagine the next cigarette, they forget all the rationalisations they had consciously made minutes before. Could it be that the subconscious mind, which drives the imagination, is more influential than the logical part that tells you smoking is a killer? Absolutely! What springs to your mind if I ask you not to imagine a blue elephant…?
It’s the same with cigarettes. If you truly believe you still enjoy smoking then every time you tell yourself not to think of a cigarette, you’ve already thought of one. But by changing beliefs at a deep level, there would be no more conflict in your mind and you would simply have ceased to do something that you now find distasteful. And how long did it take to become a non-smoker? As long as it takes to do nothing.
So how easy is it to change your mind? Very easy, if there is an emotional shift of perspective. Think how strongly you hold beliefs that are emotionally fuelled –beliefs about your loved ones, for instance. How easily you motivate yourself to do things you want to do. Now, you’d be forgiven here for wondering if hypnosis is about brainwashing, especially when you think of stage hypnotists seemingly controlling their subjects. But consider hypnotherapy to be more like de-brainwashing the mind. A lot of people start smoking through peer pressure; being brainwashed into thinking it makes them look sophisticated. Then, once ‘hooked’, they see others struggling to give up and are again brainwashed –assuming it must be terribly difficult to quit.
Take a look at your reasons (i.e. excuses) for smoking. Do you tell yourself you enjoy it? That it helps you get through the day? That it stops you putting on weight? Let’s drag those old justifications into the light and see them for what they are – examples of you brainwashing yourself! If you could see into a future possibility where you join the unfortunate many who die from their smoking habit, would you then be comforted by, “Never mind. At least you enjoyed every one of those cigarettes. And just look how slim they kept you! Oh, and remember how they always helped you through your day? They solved all those problems for you, didn’t they?” Are you reassured that you made the right choice?
Why not list the pros and cons of smoking. You’ll soon see that what you stand to gain as a non-smoker is far more valuable. Aside from the material cost, ask yourself the value you place on your life. How much does it cost to purchase one more day on this planet? Time is something that none of us can buy. What would your children give to have you there for them as they grow up? What price are you really paying when you buy your next packet?
To calculate the most basic financial cost of your smoking habit, not allowing for loss of earnings through sickness and other factors, click here.