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How to Stop Smoking – Self Help Tricks to Quit

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How to Stop Smoking – Self Help Tricks to Quit

How to Stop Smoking

Ending the Myth that it is hard to Stop Smoking

Despite the impression that is given by mass media and believed to be common knowledge, the addictive element of nicotine is much easier to deal with than the mental aspect of ending your smoking habit. The reality is that the cravings felt when you decide to give up smoking are pretty easy to deal with. The biggest change and perhaps the hardest part is to change the structures in your brain that have formed around the belief that you are a smoker.

The following article will give you a heads up on how to tackle the new behavior of being a non smoker with mental tips and some insight into how to give up smoking.

The Nicotine Addiction

There is without a doubt an addictive element to smoking that comes in the form of Nicotine in the tobacco, as well as the other chemicals added to cigarettes that enhance the absorption within your body. What is overstated is the intensity of addictiveness.

For example:  You can and do go without smoking while you sleep, you are not woken by a craving to have a cigarette during the middle of the night. Granted if you wake up you can choose to have a smoke – but you are not so strongly addicted that it controls or interferes with your life to the point where you are woken in the middle of the night just to have a smoke.

Another example:  Nicotine as a substance is fast finding favorable results in research with it’s effectiveness in conditions such as Parkinson’s and as a mild concentration aid. As quoted in this Discover Magazine Article in a 2007 paper in the journal Neuropharmacology the researcher stated: “Tobacco use has one of the highest rates of addiction of any abused drug.” Paradoxically it’s almost impossible to get laboratory animals hooked on pure nicotine, though it has a mildly pleasant effect”. 

 

Biology of Nicotine Addiction

dopamine-chart

Nicotine is a compound found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) and is a stimulant drug. It is a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, which means it can bind as well as acetylcholine to the acetylcholine receptor within the brain.

Acetylcholine is the oldest neurotransmitter and acts throughout the body and brain on the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is essentially the hardware of our bodies, running unbeknownst to us in the background and maintaining essential bodily functions, controlling our GI system, and stimulating the fight-or-flight response when needed. It’s possible that the difficulty in quitting smoking is directly related to that fact that acetylcholine’s effect on our bodies is so varied and ubiquitous.

There are two main types of acetylcholine receptors: the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), which is so named so because it is responsive to nicotine; and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR), which responds particularly well to muscarine. There are many receptor sub-types of the nAChR, but nicotine has a high affinity for the one in which the ?2 subunit is coupled with ?4 or another subunit. Chronic exposure to nicotine “up-regulates” these specific receptors, which enhances craving and worsens withdrawal in smokers.

The effects of ingesting nicotine are widespread. About 20 seconds after smoking a cigarette, nicotine binds to the nAChRs in the brain and increases the level of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Because nicotine activates the autonomous nervous system, prompting the release of adrenaline, this causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, among other things.

In fact, nicotine can act as both—or alternately—a stimulant and a relaxant. Increased acetylcholine improves concentration and memory; more norepinephrine enhances alertness and arousal. Increased beta-endorphin reduces pain and anxiety. More dopamine works to give pleasure and increase the sensitivity of the brain’s reward system to nicotine.

In moderation, nicotine’s effects are generally good. In small, therapeutic doses—an entire area of scientific study—nicotine can be used to promote well-being. However, from the standpoint of nicotine addiction, one cigarette is too many for some people.  {Source: The Science of Nicotine Addiction By Jeanene Swanson}

The Conclusion on Nicotine Addiction:

No doubt there have been times when the only reason you decide to have a smoke is because you have noticed you have not had a smoke in a while.  Many times you can be pre-occupied with something else you have simply forgotten to remember to have a smoke.

The reality is, that nicotine is removed from the body pretty quickly, in fact a person is able to smoke 3-4 cigarettes a day without the body having too much trouble removing the poison’s from your system. Within 2-3 days after stopping smoking the nicotine has been removed from your system and almost immediately the effects begin to reduce and are almost completely gone within a week or just a little longer.

 

 

Get Confident in your Belief you can Quit Smoking!

Cravings – what are they really?

We are told, and tend to believe that nicotine cravings are akin to much harder drugs – but lets examine this myth and be honest with ourselves.

Usually you know it is time to have a smoke because you notice the ‘feeling’ or craving in your stomach and begin to feel agitated. The feeling is not that much different to a feeling of hunger.

Be Honest,

Your Craving for a Cigarette: there is no pain, no intense physical sensations, just a nagging feeling like you get when your hungry. The agitation is about the same as you feel if someone’s car alarm has gone off and you have noticed that it has somehow disturbed your peace of mind.

You have consistently throughout your life managed to avoid eating when hungry and have lived through the few minutes of someones annoying car alarm. So the truth is, you can handle this situation, you always have before – just when it relates to smoking you have been convinced that somehow you can’t manage the slight 3 minutes of discomfort until the craving feeling subsides.

And as you know – if your unable to act on this sensation of craving – it goes away pretty quickly. If you do not take the time to act on your ‘addiction’ you tend to forget about it with no consequence until it occurs again and you’re able to have a smoke. As we have already established – you can go all through the night or during a long plane trip without the cravings bothering you too much at all.

Smoking is mostly mental

If your honest with yourself, the obvious answer to stopping smoking is to enhance your mental skills to combat what has become a habit. Over time your brain has changed it’s structure to maintain your belief that you are a smoker. One aspect of this is your sub conscious mind, which does it’s best to provide for you answers to the types of questions you ask yourself and the types of beliefs you hold about who you are.

If you ask yourself

“Why can’t I give up smoking”

Your sub conscious will do it’s best to answer this question for you, creating automatic thoughts such as

“it’s addictive I have no control” or ‘I just don’t have the willpower” or worst of all “Why give up something I enjoy doing”.

The bottom line is – for a while you are going to have to challenge this automatic response and start to dictate to your unconscious how you want to be instead. The good news is that it does not take very long for your sub conscious to start providing you with automatic responses that support being a non smoker.

 

Mental Tricks to Stop Smoking

1) Re-frame what you are doing.

You’re not giving up anything! When you use the words give up it implies a loss – when the reality is your gaining so much more. You are gaining health and energy, your gaining money, your gaining self control, your gaining the self respect that comes with creating your own reality and not being a slave to advertising or mass opinion. So stop saying I am giving up smoking, instead remind yourself that you are gaining health or control

Do not give into the temptation to smoke. Most of the time we tell ourselves “It’s time for a smoke” or “I’ll just take a rest and have a smoke” but we are not really responding to a need to smoke. Smoking does not relax you, it is taking the time to take slow long deep breaths and allow your mind to mentally drift off from the task at hand that relaxes you. You can do this without the smoking – Billions of people already do, and so can you.

2) Expect the craving.

It is going to happen, your body is going to notice the lack of nicotine and remind you it is time to have a smoke. You already know you can handle the craving, you can handle a couple of minutes of feeling hungry and being slightly annoyed. Tell yourself ‘if I really need one I can do it in an hours time” because you know you can always choose to have a cigarette you just choose to have it a little later on, and you repeat telling yourself this.

The good news is that on day 2 or 3 as a non smoker the cravings become less frequent and less annoying. Most people find that after 4-7 days they hardly even give a second thought to smoking. If the thought pops into your mind you are already with your standard answer ‘later’ and can continue with what you’re doing

3) Something to do when your eating/resting,taking a break

Most of us have formed the habit of having a smoke after a meal or while drinking or even as a reward after we have done some work. Lets examine this aspect. Paying good money to slowly kill yourself is not a reward. You already know this – and now you understand that this is just an automatic response from your sub conscious mind to answer questions you can actively change your response by challenging what you’re thinking. When you notice your having this thought you say to yourself “Self, that’s not like me, what I want to think instead is ….” And fill in the type of thought you would rather have.

Having a smoke while your drinking or after dinner is just a habit. Plenty of people manage to do these activities without this habit. Again you make yourself conscious of what you want and challenge any automatic thoughts from the old pattern of behavior. It really is this easy

4) Re-frame what smoking means to you.

You will see other people smoking, and in the past this may have been an automatic trigger for you to reach for your pack and lite up. You need to create new automatic thoughts that occur when you see this external sight. You might like to say to yourself “wow, beat that guy could have brought a boat or car by now” or “My kids are so lucky I am their role model and not that guy”. You can create a few lines for yourself so that you are prepared to create the brain structure that supports your decision to be a non smoker.

To stop smoking, you are going to have to work on the most difficult aspect of being a smoker and that is the automatic thoughts and behavior you have created to support the illusion you are a smoker. The addiction and cravings are the easy part, you noticing and challenging your thoughts and fleeting feelings is not that much more difficult, it just takes a little longer to reprogram your sub conscious mind.

You can of course use a therapy modality that specializes in changing your sub conscious mind such as hypnosis or NLP. Using such an approach is not always necessary but can provide a big jump in your journey towards being a non smoker. But you are also able to take responsibility for the retraining of your mind to move you in the direction of being a healthy non smoker by reminding yourself of the steps listed above.

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Hypnosis is the Most Research highly method of Quitting Smoking

Everybody has heard about the use of hypnosis as a way of stopping Smoking.  The evidence suggests that it is in fact an extremely great aid in stopping.  At Mindfit Hypnosis our sessions are about creating and reinforcing the belief that you just “Do not want to be a Smoker”.  It is important to address this attitude and belief.  Sure you can use Hypnotherapy or Willpower to Quit smoking – but unless you address the fundamental belief at your core (That you are a Smoker) there will always be unconscious conflict which hinders long term results.


 

Evidence of the use of Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

Barabasz, Arreed F.; Baer, Lee; Sheehan, David V.; Barabasz, Marianne (1986). A three-year follow-up of hypnosis and restricted environmental stimulation therapy for smoking. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 34, 169-181.

Barber, 2001 International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Volume: 49 Issue: 3 Pages: 257-266Barkley, R. A.; Hastings, J. E.; Jackson, T. L., Jr. (1977). The effects of rapid smoking and hypnosis in the treatment of smoking behavior. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25 (1), 7-17. Basker, M. A. (1985). Hypnosis in the alleviation of the smoking habit. In Waxman, D.; Misra, P. C.; Gibson, M.; Basker, M. A. (Ed.), Modern trends in hypnosis (pp. 269-276). New York: Plenum Press.

Berkowitt, B.; Rosstown, A.; Kchberge, R. (1979). Hypnotic treatment of smoking – single treatment method revisited. American Journal of Psychiatry, 136 (1), 83-85.

Capafons, A.; Amigs, S. (1995). Emotional self-regulation therapy for smoking reduction: Description and initial empirical data.. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 43 (1), 7-19.

Cohen, Sheldon B. (1969). Hypnosis and smoking. Journal of the American Medical Association, 208, 335-337. (Abstracted in Index Medicus, 1969, 6809)

Crasilneck, Harold B.; Hall, James A. (1968). The use of hypnosis in controlling cigarette smoking. Southern Medical Journal, 61, 999-1002.

Ewin, D. M. (1977). Hypnosis to control smoking habit [Abstract]. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 19, 696-697.

Frank, R. G.; Umlauf, R. L.; Wonderlich, S. A.; Ashkanazi, G. S. (1986). Hypnosis and behavioral treatment in the worksite smoking cessation program. Addictive Behaviors, 11 (1), 59-62.

Gmur, M.; Tschopp, A. (1987). Factors determining the success of nicotine withdrawal: 12-year follow-up of 532 smokers after suggestion therapy (by a faith healer). International Journal of Addictions, 22, 1189-1200.

Grayson, G. I. (1975). Hypnosis as an aid to stopping smoking. American Review of Respiratory Diseases, 111 (6), 941-942.

Holroyd, Jean (1980). Hypnosis treatment for smoking: An evaluative review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 28 (4), 341-357.

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About the Author:

Dr Andrew Dobson is a qualified Psychologist, Hypnotherapist and Life Coach and the owner and creator of Mindfit Hypnosis - providing online hypnotherapy since 2002. For over 13 years, Dr Dobson of Mindfit, has provided Real Therapy based on Science using the Subconscious Modalities of Hypnotherapy and NLP.  Join Mindfit Hypnosis on Facebook and Google+ for updates and special discounts