Recently, I participated in a hypnotherapy session to help me to end the harmful habit of smoking cigarettes. I had known for a long time that I wanted to quit, and had tried many times, including once with success that lasted a year and a half. There are many smoking cessation products on the market; however, many of them were ineffective for me or caused negative side effects, such as nightmares or severe mood swings. Hypnotherapy, which does not utilize chemicals, seemed like a natural alternative to getting the help I needed to stop smoking.
I will admit that I was not sure that I could be hypnotized. I was also concerned about what hypnotherapy would require of me. Would I have to give up complete control of my mind to someone else? Because I did not know what to expect, I did my homework and researched how hypnotherapy works. I also went to a hypnotherapist that I had personally met in a professional setting, and with whom I felt comfortable.
Conscious and Awake
Contrary to popular belief, hypnotherapy does not require you to give up complete control of your mind to someone else. In fact, you are fully conscious at all times. The therapist or practitioner speaks to you in a soothing way that helps your mind and body to relax. You enter into a lucid trance state in which you are awake, yet completely relaxed. Once you are fully immersed in the lucid trance state, the practitioner then addresses your subconscious, which I refer to as the ego. To me, the session was a retraining of the way that I thought about smoking, almost as though the thoughts in my mind were being reprogrammed for a healthier lifestyle. There was nothing threatening or dangerous about this process because I could stop the session at any time. My free will was not impeded during my hypnotherapy session.
An Honest Conversation about Desired Outcomes
The topics that are addressed to your subconscious mind should be discussed at length with your practitioner and agreed upon by you prior to the session. For instance, I asked to have the thought that I am a non-smoker reinforced, and that I would not experience withdrawal symptoms or gain weight because that is what would happen to an ex-smoker, not a non-smoker. It is important to be aware of the actions or events that trigger harmful behavioral habits. To get the most out of your sessions and to achieve the best results, be very clear, upfront, and honest with your practitioner and yourself about your triggers and what you can do to work through them when they arise during the healing process.
Follow-Up at Home
Once your session or sessions are over, there is follow-up work that you must do in order to reinforce the subliminal messages that were shared with your subconscious. Your willpower and ego will come into play regarding the paths you are going to take. It is important to note that each person reacts differently to hypnotherapy. For me, I found that I have experienced some of the symptoms of physical withdrawal including brief periods of irritability, fatigue, sadness, and cravings. When the occasional craving crosses my mind, I repeat the affirmation that I love being a non-smoker and living a healthy lifestyle. By redirecting my thoughts and reaffirming my purpose, it helps me to overcome and move past the momentary craving. As a last resort, I chew a piece of nicotine replacement gum or utilize an electronic cigarette that delivers vaporized nicotine without harmful smoke or additives. It is important to note that I also had to retrain my mind with all of the activities that I perform each day. Having a plan in place to deal with my triggers, such as chewing a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal, helped me to bypass the past behavior of smoking after eating.
Treat Yourself with Kindness
As I am adjusting to my new lifestyle, I being kind to myself by giving myself time to adapt to the changes and to take it easy. I am in the process of breaking a habit and an addiction that I had been performing for more than 20 years. Patience, kindness, and understanding is needed as your mind, body, and spirit heals and adjusts to significant changes in behavior.
The Incredible Power of Thought
In my book, How Have You Loved?, I talk about how our thoughts truly determine our destinies. How you think and what you think greatly impacts the outcomes of situations in your life. Hypnotherapy taps directly into the basis of our thoughts in order to redirect them toward more positive outcomes.
Some people may ask, why I did not just make the decision to quit smoking and do so cold turkey? I can say with great confidence that I knew I needed additional help with the adjustment to my thought processes about smoking, as well as the physical addiction. I had tried to quit on my own several times and failed; however, I was not ready to give up. I am not afraid of admitting that I needed extra help, or asking for it. Had I not been truthful with myself, I would still be where I was and I might have had a more difficult time ridding myself of that harmful habit. There is no shame in admitting you need assistance with a challenging task, such as overcoming an addiction. By asking for help, it shows your willingness to get the help you need in order to get your life on a more positive and healthy path.
A Natural Alternative for Success
Hypnotherapy can help you to overcome or to better manage behaviors that are unhealthy or causing disruption in your life, such as smoking, phobias, or eating disorders. As you would when finding a new doctor, be sure to research the practitioner or therapist that you are interested in seeing. Ask trusted friends, colleagues, and family members for recommendations and search online for reviews. Learn about the particular practice you are interested in visiting, as well as the success rates. Ask questions before booking your appointment in order to know what to expect from your session or sessions.
It is important to note that most, but not all people, will benefit from hypnotherapy. It all depends on you and your willingness to be open to thought suggestions, and to follow through on your own with the reinforcing actions and affirmations provided by your practitioner after your session. With determination, self-love, and a willingness to be a healthier you, success is entirely possible.
With Light and Love,
Karen T. Hluchan
Spirit Medium, Motivational Speaker, Reiki Master, & Author of How Have You Loved?
As a note, I have a book signing event coming up this Saturday, March 8th from 2pm-4pm at the Horsham Library in Pennsylvania. To learn more about this and other upcoming events, visit my website at www.HealingSpiritWithLove.com and click on the news or events tabs.