A reason people get in trouble with smoking, eating and drinking too much is that they create a habit out of it. What starts out as a seemingly harmless attempt to cope and feel better becomes a dependency that never ends well. All addictions start and end with pain.
The tobacco, food and alcohol change the mental and emotional state of the person for a limited time, and when it wears off, it depletes energy levels, and the person is left worse for wear. Over time the impact of long-term use erodes the person’s energy levels, health, motivation, self-esteem, mental and emotional resilience in handling everyday stresses, causing a vicious cycle that renders the person to feeling powerless and unable to resist the temptation to do it again. The first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem followed by taking full responsibility for choices that have lead to the present conditions. The reason these early two stages are essential is it puts the person back into the position of being the chooser instead of feeling like the victim and loser.
Unchecked unhealthy habits overtime become an automatic conditioned response to a trigger, for instance, feeling stressed can trigger a feeling to drink, eat or have a cigarette. There was an experiment done called “Pavlov’s Dog” where every time they fed the dog they rang a bell and overtime even when the bell was rung and the bowl was void of food the dog still salivated. The dog was conditioned to associate the sound of the bell with food which triggered the dog to salivate in expectation of food. It is a prime example of how triggers automatically affect a physiological response. Triggers can be the environment, a specific time, an internal state(feeling), another person, virtually anything can be associated and conditioned and become a trigger, all it takes is that when the habit is being acted out the potential trigger is nearby.
What some smokers may not know when attempting to give up is that the nicotine leaves the body entirely in three to four days and after that, all that is left are conditioned triggers and associations to smoke based on specific environments and feelings as explained in the last chapter. Hypnosis using hypnotherapy is effective because new healthier trained associations are impressed on the subconscious mind bypassing the old triggers so that the urge and desire to smoke, eat or drink are not felt as strongly or at all. Self-identity is essential when changing addictions, habits and so it is necessary to see oneself as the non-smoker, balanced eater and controlled drinker and with hypnotherapy, the new identity is imprinted at the subconscious level making the transition much more accessible because identity and self-perception are influential in how we think, act and feel.
The conscious mind can find it daunting and hard to believe when a person thinks to themselves that they are giving up an old habit forever, so it helps to know that the subconscious mind does not take into account how long the person has been in the old pattern and takes the new current suggestions literally. That is why many long-term smokers go on to be non-smokers through hypnotherapy.