How does hypnosis help quit smoking?

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Basics

While hypnosis can be used to help people quit smoking, there still must be a desire to quit in the mind of the hypnosis recipient. During hypnosis, a person is brought to a relaxed state through guided imagery and sound. In that relaxed space, many people are open to suggestions. The hypnotist urges the smoker to practice deep breathing exercises and visualization to counter the smoking cravings. While under the suggestive aura of the hypnosis session, the hypnotist implants ideas about smoking, such as the health effects of quitting smoking, how much better the person will look and smell and how much money the habit costs. Sometimes repeated sessions are needed to reinforce the suggestions and strengthen the smoker's resolve to quit.

 

The Cure

While many former smokers claim that hypnosis helped them quit a lifetime habit, other factors help the procedure to work successfully. Smokers must have a deep desire to quit before attempting hypnosis. They need support and reinforcement of the ideas that were implanted during hypnosis. They can continue using stop-smoking programs, such as nicotine gum or patches that slowly wean the body from the addiction to nicotine. They can find alternatives to smoking, such as running, chewing on a toothpick or drinking water when the urge to smoke hits. While hypnotism can be a great adjunct to strengthen a smoking cessation effort, a hypnotist cannot make a person do something that he doesn't want to do. Hypnotism alone is not a cure, and those with little resolve will be disappointed as they reach for the next cigarette.

 

Self-Hypnosis

Once the desire to quit is rooted deeply in the subconscious, there are ways to strengthen the resolve at home. Find a comfortable place to relax and listen to soothing music. Repeat various mantras that revolve around all the reasons that you quit smoking. Put yourself into a relaxed state, so that your subconscious can accept the suggestions that you give it. Repeat thoughts such as "I am a non-smoker," or "I am free from nicotine" over and over for about 15 minutes a day. Your brain will internalize the suggestions and act accordingly. Purchase a video or audiotape that delivers a hypnotic program to play during your quiet times. A video program to help you become hypnotized to quit smoking at home can cost about $45, while an hour with a certified hypnotherapist can cost hundreds of dollars.


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