IF you're aiming to stub out the cigs for good tonight we have expert help on hand – from hypnotist Paul McKenna.
Paul, 48, has a star-studded client list that includes Geri Halliwell and the Duchess of York – and even helped golfer Sir Nick Faldo pinpoint his putts and boxer Nigel Benn punch harder.
Now he is turning his gaze on readers.
Here Paul, a former smoker, tells LYNSEY HAYWOOD of his six-step plan to help you stick to your New Year's resolution to quit.
THERE are two kinds of smokers — those that want to quit but don't think they can and those that think they can quit any time but are too scared to find out.
In both cases the real question is — who's in charge, you or the cigarettes?
From time to time people tell me they tried to quit but "it didn't work". They did stop, but after a few days, months or even years they began smoking again.
I am always a bit dumbfounded by this.
If you have stopped for a day, you can stop for two days; If you stopped for two days, you can stop for two weeks; If you stopped for two weeks, you can stop for two months, two years, 20 years or even forever.
If you have gone back to smoking in the past, it's for one of two reasons: The approach you were using wasn't the best one for you at the time or you stopped doing what was working. In the end, there is only one way to quit smoking: Decide to never, ever smoke again!
Next we will do a technique that will help you stay comitted to your decision.
Nearly everyone has got to a point where they have had enough and told themselves "never again!"
If several negatively emotionally charged smoking-related incidents happen in quick succession, the brain goes through an experience of overwhelm and your biological survival mechanism kicks in. Because the human mind cannot tell the difference between a real and a vividly imagined experience, we can CREATE an artificial overwhelm which makes it difficult to feel good about smoking in future.
Read through this technique before you do it:
1. Think of the three times when you most enjoy or feel the need to smoke (eg, first thing in the morning, at work etc). If you like, write them down so it will be easy to remember them later.
2. Call to mind four negative experiences with smoking where you felt like you really wanted or even had to quit. Maybe you had a health scare, or just felt repulsed by smoking. Once again, make a list of them. 3. Run through the first of those negative memories in great detail. Do it as though you were back inside the experience, reliving the moment completely.
See the things you saw, hear the things you heard and feel completely the negative feelings you felt all over again, like you are actually there. 4. Repeat the process with each of the memories. Go through each memory again and again, one after another. Each time, make the images bigger, brighter and more colourful.
Go through them faster and faster, until the events begin overlapping and the worst parts are happening over and over again, one after another after another.
5. Only when you have generated an overwhelmingly strong negative feeling throughout your body can you think about having to smoke a cigarette. Imagine someone is trying to force you to smoke, though you don't want to.
6. Now run through each of the three times where inthe past you would have enjoyed smoking. Imagine somebody forcing you to smoke in each situation until you want to scream: "Never again!"
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