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Why Quit Smoking with Hypnotherapy


How hypnotherapy and NLP work to stop smoking and why wanting to isn’t enough

It is a commonly held belief that smoking relieves stress. Whilst this is an outdated mode of thinking it is one that a smoker will cling to in order to avoid quitting.

Whilst an individual may experience a short lived alleviation of their stress after smoking a cigarette this relief is

a) due to temporarily having satisfied the desire to smoke

b) falsely attributed to the cigarette

c) presents false evidence of addiction

d) temporary

A extensive review of cross sectional psychological studies by Professor Andy Parrott Ph.D of the University of East London highlighted ‘The repeated occurrence of negative moods between cigarettes means that smokers tend to experience slightly above-average levels of daily stress’ and that ‘quitting smoking reduces stress’.

(“Does Cigarette Smoking Cause Stress?” Andy C. Parrott, Ph.D., University of East London, American Psychologist, Vol. 54, No. 10)

A report by the Policy Exchange in 2010 estimated the total cost of smoking of £13.74 billion to society includes the cost of £2.7bn to the NHS but also the loss in productivity from smoking breaks (£2.9bn) and increased absenteeism (£2.5bn).

(Nash, R & Featherstone H. Cough Up: Balancing tobacco income and costs in society. Policy Exchange, 2010 http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/publication.cgi?id=182)

In my extensive experience of smoking cessation the first point is to tackle the false beliefs of the smoker, contributed to and reinforced by, the government and media. A smoker is constantly reminded that smoking is

a) physically addictive

b) difficult to stop

c) causes cravings

d) causes withdrawal symptoms upon cessation

These enslaving beliefs contribute to a smokers reliance on cigarettes to ‘alleviate their stress’. They enable dependence and do nothing to contribute to successful cessation or empowerment of the individual.

The relevance of this information to those wishing to cease smoking, and to those employing smokers in their workplace, is obvious. Having worked in the corporate world for many years before becoming a therapist I have first hand experience of workplace stress in a number of differing environs. Having been a smoker for the whole of that period I also had extensive experience of workplace smoking, smoking breaks and smoking rooms. I can categorically state that my productivity and stress were severely and adversely affected by smoking. I smoked for 23 years and ceased smoking with self-hypnosis.

Having the correct information and beliefs means unconscious reprogramming is backed by evidence based conscious thinking. Combined these are a formidable ally in the fight against smoking.

In my professional experience an individual’s knowledge of the above facts alone greatly contribute to a desire to quit and a belief that it may be easier than imagined. Many manage to cut down greatly with the information alone. Stress levels are significantly reduced following smoking cessation. Productivity and focused attention are greatly increased. Coping mechanisms are at their most effective. When presented with a stress trigger, the individual has a clear mind enabling them to ‘think around’ the stress. The thought processes can function effectively when free from the distraction that is the desire to smoke. Since they are not presented with the desire to smoke they no longer rely on this to alleviate the stress and more effective mechanisms are utilised and strengthened.

Although this information is valuable to smokers and contributes to their desire, and belief in their ability, to cease smoking, it is not enough. The information is more positively effective than the government health warnings, the well publicised health risks, and any number of photographs of diseased lungs. But final cessation of smoking depends on changes in the unconscious programming of the mind. A smoker, especially a long term one, has created neurological pathways within the brain, and links (termed anchors) which are triggered by external stimuli.

Hypnotherapy, combined with NLP, works by

a) dispelling the conscious myths that the smoker clings to as excuses (ie reducing stress)

b) severing those psychological, unconscious anchors that compel the smoker to reach for another

If you, or someone you know, is considering smoking cessation please visit Norwich Hypnotherapy and NLP at http://www.norwichhypnosis.com

Smoking Cessation for Productivity and Performance

Copyright 2012 Samantha Maguire, Norwich Hypnotherapy and Neurolinguistic Programming and Norwich Hypnosis