Stoptober – Stop Smoking in October

As next month is ‘Stoptober’, the 28-day national stop smoking challenge, it seems a good time to write a blog on smoking and how hypnotherapy can help you to quit.

If you have tried to give up smoking you probably know all the reasons that you should stop, but something just keeps making you continue. This happens, not because nicotine is particularly addictive, but because the smoking habit exists within your subconscious mind. The physical addiction to nicotine is less than 10%; the rest is in the mind and the mind can be re-educated.

It is a commonly held belief that smoking relieves anxiety and stress, that it helps us to cope better. I often hear smokers say: “it calms my nerves” or “it helps me to relax” when asked what they ‘enjoy’ about smoking. A British Heart Foundation Survey found that a third of UK smokers claimed they couldn’t quit the habit because they believed in the anxiety-reducing effects of smoking. This belief can cause a person who has quit to light up again if they are experiencing stress. A study has revealed that many mothers, for example, resume smoking after pregnancy as they perceive smoking to be a way of coping with stress. 

Contrary to the perception that smoking is a stress reliever, research shows that smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression compared with non-smokers. The BHF advise that:

“Instead of helping people to relax, smoking increases anxiety and tension”.

Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation so people smoke in the belief that it reduces anxiety and stress. The feeling of relaxation is very short lived, however, and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms which are very similar to the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Smoking the next cigarette relieves the withdrawal symptoms, but it does not reduce anxiety or deal with the underlying causes. All it’s doing is abolishing the early signs of nicotine withdrawal. This cycle goes on cigarette after cigarette.

Research shows that by quitting smoking with hypnosis you are three times more likely to give up than if you use nicotine patches. The secret of hypnotherapy is that it helps people to use their imagination to create a non-smoking future. This often feels very positive and empowering. The hypnosis part of the therapy enables the subconscious mind to absorb suggestions about the dangers, costs and unpleasantness of smoking as well as all the benefits of being a non-smoker. Stopping smoking becomes the positive and definite choice and allows you to regain control, not only of your smoking habits, but of your life.

The NHS Stoptober campaign is 28 days because evidence has shown that people who manage to stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stop for good.

If you really want to quit smoking, hypnotherapy is a very good tool to help you stop. For more information please call 07514 931 096 or email me using the contact form.