One of the main reasons why Hypnosis is so effective for smoking cessation is that it helps you to change your associations between things. As mentioned in the previous post (Instructing your Unconscious Mind), Hypnosis for smoking is the perfect method because it allows us more direct communication with your unconscious mind.
In this article, I will describe how a smoker inadvertently learns to make mental connections between various other things and smoking. And, I will briefly explain how Hypnosis for smoking releases a person from the lure of feeling like they want or need a cigarette. There are various components that keep the desire to smoke in place and an effective course of Hypnosis for smoking deals with all of them. However, for now, let's concentrate on these connections that we call 'associations'.
Pavlov and His Dogs
Over 100 years ago a Russian scientist called Ivan Pavlov experimented with how the mind can make connections between things, even when they are unrelated. He was interested in finding out about changes in automatic behavioral responses. He noticed that when he fed his dogs, they would salivate even before eating the food. Just the anticipation and knowing it was coming was enough for them to salivate.
He ran a number of experiments to see if he could get them to learn to salivate in connection with something else. One experiment involved ringing a bell before food was presented. With repetitions, the dogs established in their minds an 'association' between this bell ringing and food. Sure enough, in time, they salivated at just the sound of the bell.
It's All About Associations
We form associations between things automatically. It's part of our natural learning process. In our first years of life, we start to learn the names of things. We look at an apple and hear our parent say the word "apple". That round object becomes associated with the sound of the word "apple". Later even the texture, taste and 'crunch' sound become associated and form part of a network of associations we call "apple".
As we develop and move through life, we are constantly forming impressions of things around us. We have a bad experience with something and we start to associate bad feelings with that thing. We have a pleasant experience and form positive associations with those related people, circumstances, places or things.
These associations are formed by our own individual mind and not set so that we all learn the same thing. One person may learn to associate terrible danger with climbing and heights, where another associates fun. One child might learn to fear balloons because the pop, where another child loves balloons because they are colourful and fun. It all depends what you experience in the moment when the association is learned. Whatever the case, these associations are stored for future use and automatically trigger their appropriate responses. For example, a boy who was bitten by a dog learned to associate all dogs with danger and pain. Later in life he may still hold this association and run away in terror every time he sees a dog.
Many smokers have learned an association between having a coffee and having a cigarette. So, when they have a coffee they automatically feel a desire for a cigarette. They might only feel like they have a sense of 'completion' when they have a cigarette to go with the coffee.
A person may have dozens of interwoven associations with smoking. A glass of beer or wine, places, times of day, locations in the home or at work, in the garden or with certain people. Almost anything can become connected up and associated when done at the same time as smoking when repeated often. Associations create a trigger system, triggering the desire for a cigarette whenever their counterpart is present. Essentially, they play a huge part in keeping a smoker on track with smoking.
Hypnosis for Smoking Associations
One of the keys to changing these associations is mental rehearsal. One thing I do in a Hypnosis session is guide a client through an imagined 'typical day' in the future. I help them rehearse in their mind, in some detail, a day when they don't smoke at all. They imagine what they ARE doing INSTEAD; what that looks like and feels like. Where they are, what they are doing, and with whom? What this does is creates a kind of mental BLUEPRINT for the brain to automatically follow.
Why Choose Hypnosis for Smoking?
Essentially, this is Neuro-Science. We are making positive changes in your brain cells; changing the interconnections between them. And, the formation of new associations allows you to naturally move away from smoking and towards the automatic behaviours that you want instead. You were not born with smoking associations, they were learned. And, what has been learned, can be UN-LEARNED! Once these associations have been dealt with, you will making great progress on your way to becoming a non-smoker more easily than you probably ever expected!