Category Archives: Stop Smoking

What are the Health Benefits of Stopping Smoking?

We all know smoking is unhealthy, but what are the health benefits of stopping and how quickly could you notice the differences?

Hypnotherapy to stop smokingStoptober is just around the corner, so if you are thinking of stopping or know someone who is, here’s a few health benefits which may be useful to know and why hypnotherapy to stop smoking could help you become smoke free for good?

The Health Benefits

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make all the difference, just by knowing the health benefits and priming your mind to notice them could make all the difference in helping you stay smoke free for good.

You don’t have to wait long after your last cigarette for the benefits to start….

Improved Sense of Taste and Smell

48 hours after your last cigarette, there will be no nicotine left in your body, improving your sense of smell and taste.

Breath Easier 

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Nellie Buir

Stopping smoking helps you breath easier, within 3 to 9 months your lung capacity improves by up to 10%.  When you are in your 20’s and 30’s, you may not notice the effect of smoking on your lung capacity but as we all age our lung capacity naturally diminishes, so having maximum lung capacity in our later years could mean the difference between wheezing as you climb a set of stairs or not.

Less Stressed

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Missy Gunter

For some, stopping smoking can feel like they are more stressed, however scientific studies actually show people’s stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.  We all have to deal with stress, it’s part of our everyday life, and there are many healthier ways to cope with stress, the 7/11 breathing technique being one of them.

More Energy

Within 2 -12 weeks of stopping, your blood circulation will improve meaning exercise, like walking and running, will be easier.  The increase in oxygen in your body, can also help reduce tiredness and give your immune system a boost, making it easier for your body to fight off cold and flu.

Younger Looking Skin

Smoking accelerates ageing because it hinders the blood supply required to keep your skin tissue looking supple and healthy.  Stopping smoking means your skin gets more nutrients, like oxygen, so slowing facial ageing and delaying the appearance of wrinkles.

Live Longer

According to nhs.uk, half of all long term smokers die early from smoking related diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease and chronic bronchitis.  After 5 years of stopping, your risk of a heart attack is halved, after 10 years your risk of lung cancer is halved and the risk of a heart attack is the same level as non smokers.

Hypnotherapy to stop Smoking

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

If you are looking to stop smoking and you are finding it hard to stop on your own, you are certainly not the only one.  There is a very good reason why some people find it so hard to stop smoking on there own, have a read of the article Smoking – Why Can’t I just Stop? to find out why.

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking could help you stop for good because it deals with your unconscious reasons for smoking, it’s the unconscious reasons that get in the way of your conscious effort to stop.  If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy to stop smoking in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye could help you, get in touch for a free telephone consultation with no obligation to schedule a session, just a chat to see how I can help you stop smoking for good.

Resources

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Betterlives.aspx

Are You Good at Keeping Promises….???

Are you good at keeping promises, how often do you say you will do something, and at the time you wholeheartedly believe you will do it, then as time moves on, the motivation to do it gets less and less.  Sound familiar?  

As I’m sure you are aware, October is the month of Stoptober – The Public Health England Campaign to help those that smoke to stop smoking.  Stoptober was launched in 2012 and in a nutshell…

“..Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England that encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good. Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good.”

Public Health England, 2016

Because I Said I would….

Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Because I Said I Would Website.

Stoptober got me thinking about motivation and how likely we are to achieve something by making it public or not. I heard from a colleague that people who make a written promise are 48% more likely to see it through.

You may have heard of the social movement called Because I Said I Would.  It’s a non profit organisation dedicated to the betterment of humanity and the importance of a promise.  Alex Sheen is the founder of Because I Said I Would and this movement came about because on September 4th 2012, his Father died of cancer and he was asked to do the eulogy.  In the eulogy he chose to speak about his father and how he kept his promises – he was a man of his word.  He named that speech Because I Said I would and he handed out for the first time, what would be called ‘promise cards’.

A Promise Card….

The promise card helps people remember the importance of their commitment and goals.  Since that day, these promise cards have been available through their website, free of charge.  By request only, they have distributed a staggering 4.47 million promise card to over 153 different countries.  That’s a lot of promises.

I think these promise cards are a great example of how making a promise ‘public’ works, and I don’t mean ‘public’ as in shouting it from the rooftops or posting it on Facebook, but telling just one person what you intend to do and writing it down.  I believe by making that promise gives you that extra motivation where if you hadn’t made it, you may of given in.   That promise makes you go that extra mile to fulfil that promise and stick to that commitment that you made, rather than just throwing in the towel when things get a bit tricky.

What Would You Promise….

Hypnotherapy for SmokingDo you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve?  Do you smoke and want to stop?  It could be anything, no matter how small or big.  Why not use a ‘promise card’ today to get that ‘thing’ done you’ve been putting off for some while now.  It could be to start your Christmas shopping early or get the car in for it’s service.

To use the promise card is very simple:

1) Write on the card your promise

2) Give the card to the person you are making the promise too

3) Fulfil your promise

4) Get your card back and keep it as a reminder that you are a person of your word.

Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Bartek Ambrozik

So, if you have a goal in mind, whatever it may be, decide who you want to make that promise too, you might be surprised how much easier you find to keep that promise by making it to someone else.  So whether you promise to stop smoking or to run a marathon for a good cause – make your promise count.

One Final Thoughts…..

Whatever promise you make, make it for yourself and to yourself rather than for someone else.  Let yourself be your main motivation, and the person you make the promise to, that extra bit of motivation when the tough gets going.

If you would like receive some promise cards, go to the Because I Said I Would website at the bottom of this page and order some for free from the website.

If you are a smoker and you are finding it hard to stop, have a read of my blog Smoking – Why Can’t I Just Stop or if you prefer, lets have a conversation to see how Cognitive Hypnotherapy for smoking could help you stop for good.

Resources:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/6-stoptober/overview

https://becauseisaidiwould.com

Smoking – Why Can’t I Just Stop?

Have you tired to stop smoking and found you can’t?  Are you getting fed up with people saying “why don’t you just quit?” or have you said to yourself “why can’t I just stop?”  So why is it so hard to just….STOP?      

The reasons go beyond ‘will power’ and ‘good will’…..you have to look a little deeper than that?  Don’t worry, I’m not talking Freud deeper, I’m talking about ‘your body’ deeper and what’s happening inside your brain.

Firstly, it’s not your fault if you find you can’t just stop – there is a lot more going on than you might think when you make the decision to stop smoking.  So give yourself a break.  I have many clients come to see me because they want to stop smoking and one thing I’ve noticed is how many give themselves quite a hard time because they can’t seem to stop on their own.  This is why.

You’re being Hijacked….

Stop Smoking Hypnosis | Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy | Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Agnieszka Mac

We all have ‘natural survival systems’ inside us, these systems regulates the things which are necessary for life.  They give us the motivation to eat, drink….procreate (you get the idea!).  Everything that is essential for life – for example; that little voice or feeling you get when you are hungry or thirsty, that’s your ‘natural survival system’ doing its job.  We don’t have to remember to eat, something tells us we are hungry.  The chemical messenger Dopamine is responsible for this motivation we get to eat.  Once we’ve eaten, another chemical messenger is released to put the breaks on the motivation, so we stop eating.  The result being; we feel good – due to the high amount of chemical messengers in our brains.  Dopamine isn’t only involved in our motivation to eat, many things can trigger the release of Dopamine to motivate us to do something – motivate us to do the things to keep us alive.

These survival systems are also involved in our desire to push ourselves, so we achieve something and it feels great, then it just becomes normal.  Our survival system keeps us motivated to keep pushing ourselves to seek out the things we need to live, learn and grow – things that are also essential for life and our survival.

The Nicotine found in cigarettes, hijacks these natural survival systems – nicotine makes you believe, on an unconscious level, it’s something that is also essential for life, like eating.  This is one reason why it can be so hard to stop smoking.

As you can imagine, it’s not as simple as this – our bodies are extremely complex but it gives you a general idea of what’s going on inside you and why it’s not your fault if you are finding it hard to stop smoking.  Too put it bluntly, your unconscious can believe nicotine is essential for your survival because your survival system has been hijacked, so your motivation to smoke can be quite a powerful one because your unconscious believes it’s vital for your survival.

What Have Dogs Got to do with it?

Stop Smoking Hypnosis | Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy | Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Rajmund Barnas

Our brains also have a mechanism to predict the availability of things we need by laying down memories of what was around us at the time we got something that was essential for life – it does this by releasing another chemical messenger called Glutamate.  This creates a cue or trigger.  So the next time we are around that same cue or trigger, it’s starts the motivation process by releasing dopamine, giving you the urge to seek the thing essential for life associated with that cue or trigger.

Stop Smoking Hypnosis | Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy | Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Agostina Martinelli

Have you heard of Pavlov’s dogs? Over a century ago, a Russian physiologist called Ivan Pavlov made a discovery – he observed how over time the dogs he was working with would salivate when they heard the footsteps of the technicians coming down the corridor with their food, before the food was even in sight.  This got him thinking so he did an experiment – he rang a bell every time the dogs were fed.  So he paired a motivationally significant stimulus i.e the dogs food, with an  unrelated signal i.e a bell.  He found after repeatedly pairing the dogs food with the sound of the bell, the dogs would just salivate to the sound of the bell – a conditioned response.  This is known as classical conditioning.  It means a previously neutral stimulus like a bell can evoke a response or a certain behaviour by continuously pairing it with motivational significant stimulus or put more simply, two unrelated things happening close together in time, can lead to an unconscious learned associated.

Dopamine, as mentioned above, the chemical messenger responsible for motivation, also facilitates this type of classical conditioning.

So what does this have to do with smoking?       

Stop Smoking Hypnosis | Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy | Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Viktors Kozers

This paring of 2 unrelated things happening does not only happen in dogs, but in us too.  For the dogs, the bell was a trigger for them to start salivating.  If you smoke, the desire to smoke can be triggered by associations paired with things from your environment, like the pub or having a coffee?  Have a think, where do you always get that urge to light a cigarette? With a certain friend, location…time of day, when you pick up the phone and talk to certain people?

The desire to smoke can also be triggered the same way by our emotions, by pairing certain emotions with a cigarette, creating a learned association. For some people, they started to smoke back in their teens, so they felt part of the crowd or felt like they belonged, to feel safe – this would give you a good feeling, but the good feeling is pared with the cigarettes and not who you are with.

Can these Triggers or Associations be undone?

So a trigger for smoking is something which you have learnt over time by unconsciously pairing smoking with something else.  The good news is, hypnotherapy can be used to break these unconscious associations, which means you would no longer get the urge to smoke in your trigger environments or emotions because the dopamine would no longer be released in those moments so therefore you wouldn’t get the urge to smoke.

Why Do the Cravings Get Worse?

There is one more trigger which explains why craving for a cigarette can increase over time and it has nothing to do with dogs and ringing bells.  We have an internal ‘alarm’ system which is constantly checking everything is as it should be – it regularly checks our blood stream to make sure all ‘levels’ of substances are okay.  For smokers, ‘normal’ levels mean having a certain amount of nicotine in your blood stream.  So, when you haven’t had a cigarette in a while or you decide to stop smoking, the nicotine in your blood stream starts to get lower and lower.  This is picked up by your internal ‘alarm’ system and ‘alarm bells’ start ringing; so dopamine is released giving you the urge to have a cigarette so the nicotine levels in your blood can return to ‘normal’.  If you have decided to stop smoking, your conscious is saying that you don’t want a cigarette, your unconscious, remember, believes smoking is essential for life.  So more and more dopamine is released increasing your urge to have a cigarette.

So, how does it get resolved?  On one hand you have the conscious, rational mind saying you no longer smoke and on the other hand, the unconscious giving out warning signals saying it’s essential for life.  So in steps the part of your brain responsible for resolving conflict and decision making; the anterior cingulate cortex.  It doesn’t know the answer so it gets the memory involved – it looks for clues in our memory’s which will help resolve the conflict.  If the memory comes back with reminders of how good smoking made you feel or how it “calmed” you down when stressed – the more the memory reinforces that smoking is a good thing to do, the more dopamine that’s released and the cravings get irresistible.  The conscious gives in and reaches for a cigarette.

THE GOOD NEWS…..

The good news is, our memories are not entirely accurate, they are ‘rose tinted’.  This means, using Cognitive hypnotherapy, this cycle can be broken so dopamine isn’t released in such high quantities so allowing the rational, conscious mind (that doesn’t want to smoke) to win because the cravings will be much less or not even there.

Would You Like to Stop Smoking?

Stop Smoking Hypnosis | Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy | Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Thomas Pate

This is all a very simplified version of whats happening in your body, our body’s are extremely complex with numerous systems and parts of the brain involved.  You don’t even need to understand any of it to help you stop smoking, just know it’s not your fault if you want to stop smoking but you find it very difficult.  Whats going on is biology and not lack of will power – but remember to not underestimate the role will power plays in your decision to stop.  You still have a choice which path you choose to take – to smoke or not to smoke.

Cognitive hypnotherapy for smoking can help you stop for good.  If you would like to know more on how I can help you become smoke free, get in touch today.