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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why not quit the habit on National Non-smoking Day?

Monica Dobbie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's never too late to gain control over smoking and live a longer, healthier and happier life.

But why is it so difficult to quit? The answer is because smoking is an ­addiction and habit.

Although smokers ­consciously understand the risks of smoking, they have emotional connections to smoking. They often associate smoking with pleasure, perceptions of being social or sophisticated, but they also have a fear of being too weak and failing to stop.

Stopping smoking means breaking the addiction to nicotine, which is a deadly poison. Today is National Non-Smoking Day and what better time to try to quit? One way to address this addiction is by breaking the habit of lighting up. Like any habit, it can be changed if the smoker is committed to making the change.

Some people find that they can wean themselves off smoking using nicotine substitutes, and there are medications available as well. However, the medications can have unpleasant side effects, and many ­people prefer to stop smoking without putting alternative toxins into their body.

Withdrawal symptoms

Many smokers start by trying to quit on their own, but they may need several methods and several ­attempts before they kick the habit. Quitting "cold turkey" is difficult for most people and gives them ­withdrawal symptoms such as irritability.

One method to quit on your own is to identify the times that you smoke (e.g. with a cup of coffee, after a meal, with a drink) and pick one of those times to stop smoking. Then pick another time.

Another way is to switch brands. Smokers often dislike the taste of anything but their "own brand".

Besides these and other self-help fixes, the best way to maximize your chance of success, is to use professional support.

Smokers often have an ­internal conflict. "Part" of the smoker wants to stop - the health conscious part (adult), but another part still enjoys smoking (child). Logically it makes no sense to feel pleasure as you inhale poison into your body, but then smoking is not logical.

If you do something often enough (e.g. smoke after a meal) the behaviour shifts from a conscious behaviour to an automatic response. Then, no matter how much you try to consciously change this behaviour, your subconscious mind ­reminds you to have a cigarette. The only way to make a permanent change in your behaviour is to change your programmed subconscious mind.

An effective way of doing so is with hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis is the natural ability that we all have to focus our attention and thoughts on what we choose to create in our lives, instead of being at the mercy of old programming. It is similar to daydreaming and when you are in hypnosis, the conscious mind is bypassed and beneficial suggestions can be made directly to the subconscious. Hypnosis is a rapid change technique in which you are guided to believe that you are a non-smoker - and a non-smoker doesn't smoke. It's as simple as that. It's a fast, effective and pleasant way to overcome nicotine withdrawal symptoms without gaining weight or taking up any other negative habit.

A hypnotherapist is someone who kick-starts the change process and acts as a coach to keep you on track. Some people stop smoking for good, after just two sessions. Others need a little more reinforcement. So, clients are usually given a smoking cessation CD to be played every few days and are also taught self-hypnosis.

Monica Dobbie, Certified Hypnotherapist, can be reached at 505 7531 or email

For more information go to our hypnotherapy page

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