Smoking and the Power of the Mind
by Frédérique Herel
Someone once told me that he *really*really*really* wanted to quit smoking and he was wondering whether I could help him quit through hypnosis. I asked him: "Do you *really*really*really* want to quit smoking, or do you *really*really*really* want to find someone or something that will take over your mind so that you don't have to make the effort yourself?"

Because once you have *really* decided to quit, any method will do the job, whether it is the patch, chewing gum, acupuncture, hypnosis, or just stopping on your own.

The important part is the decision to quit. To help you make this decision, start by asking yourself why you smoke. Habit. Pleasure. Time out. Need to put something in your mouth. Fear of gaining weight. Desire to keep your hands busy. Most of the time, nicotine has a calming effect. People drink to remove their fears, take caffeine to remove drowsiness, take Marijuana to remove sadness, take drugs to remove their feelings altogether, and smoke to remove their anger.

A friend of mine used to say: "I smoke because I don't want to beat my kids." I believe it was a real fear. However, after many attemps, she finally quit smoking altogether and she has never laid a hand on her children since this time.

So what benefits do you get from smoking? If you really want to stop smoking, your desire to quit must outweigh the benefits of smoking, whether you are motivated by pleasure or by pain.

Listening to my friends or family members, I have heard a few reasons why they decided to quit:
- Having a heart attack which caused him to look at life differently
- Having a child say to him: "Dad, when I grow up I want to smoke just like you"
- Missing an important event just because he was desperately looking for cigarettes, and realizing he was a slave of his habit.
- Quitting because, for once, nobody was forcing her to quit.

The decision to quit is usually emotional. So-called good reasons don't have as much power as our emotions. Sometimes, it can be a "stupid" emotional reason, like this man who had many good reasons to quit, but none worked. Then, he became attracted to a woman who couldn't stand smokers. It was what did it. He quit to please her. He later found out the woman was not what he expected and his infatuation disappeared, but he has already quit and he never went back.

Once you quit, trouble comes from your subconscious mind. Our conscious mind, the rational part of our thinking, can hold between 5 and 9 pieces of information at once. By comparison, our subconscious mind can handle more than 2 million simultaneously, including our life-sustaining systems, long-term memory, automatic reactions, habits, and emotions.

Those last three items are the troublemakers when it comes to adopting a new behaviour. When you decide to quit, your conscious mind says: "Okay, I'm ready. What's next?" But your subconscious mind, which is very slow and very lazy, is not even aware of the decision. (I usually picture this lazy subconscious mind as Jabba the Hutt, of Star Wars!) It took your subconscious mind a long time to get to its present state and there is no way you are going to make it react differently, change its habits, and get rid of old emotions, just because this little brat of conscious mind has decided it wanted to quit smoking. "No way, Jose", says big Jabba, "we'll change only when I am ready!"

And eventually, with time, care, compassion, diligence, patience, discipline, and persistence, the subconscious mind will follow the decision of the conscious mind. Or else the subconscious mind will convince the conscious mind that the status quo is much more comfortable!

This is where hypnosis can help. It will help, but not do the job for you. Hypnosis allows you to enter the subconscious mind and give it new suggestions. Being directly infused in the subconscious mind, they have a better chance to be followed, but only if your own Jabba has already started to "see the light".

Different hypnosis programmes can help. One of my CDs, called "Clearing the Smoke" will help you quit smoking, once you are serious about quitting. Another one, called "Success through Self-Hypnosis", is an instructional audio programme, teaching you how to hypnotize yourself in order to achieve any goal you set for yourself. It gives you more control over the suggestions you want to put in your subconscious mind, but it requires a lot more work too. Both of those programmes are useful, once you have decided to quit and only if you accept to hypnotize yourself and re-organize your subconscious mind.

Those programmes can be downloaded instantly from my website

If you want to quit smoking, I suggest that you start by analyzing your own motives, and see whether you *really* want to quit! It is between you and your subconscious mind!