Back in the early twentieth century, smoking was considered glamorous, classy, and was accepted as the norm for adults and young adults alike. Of course, the true effects of smoking were not made fully aware to the public, and advertisements glamorising and encouraging smoking were plastered all over the media. Fast forward to today. Chances are, if you’re a smoker, you’re in the minority. You’ve probably been judged, lectured and been made to feel like a complete outcast. Smokers aren’t the cool kids they were 40 years . If you’re a smoker, you’re well aware of its endless negative effects; heart disease, cancer, premature aging, and stroke-the list goes on. You’ve seen the horror shock tactic adverts and pictures. You know that to non-smokers and ex-smokers you more than likely smell pretty bad after a cigarette.
So why are you still smoking? Smokers aren’t stupid. They are addicts. If you ask a smoker if they want to quit, 9 out of 10 times you will hear a resounding ‘YES!’. With so many products on the market, then, why is it just so hard to stop? Nicotine patches, gums, pills, electronic cigarettes-everyday something new is introduced. The sad truth is that most of these products can still cause harmful or unwanted side effects. Luckily, there are natural alternatives available to smokers of late, which can ease the process of quitting smoking without any of the above aids.
When a smoker undergoes hypnosis, he or she is often asked to imagine the dangerous or unpleasant aspects of smoking. This could mean suggesting that when a smoker smells cigarette smoke, it smells of something extremely unpleasant (rotten egg, excrement, exhaust fumes), or that smoking will cause an unpleasant sensation such as an extremely dry mouth.
The most common form of hypnosis for smoking cessation is called Spiegel’s method, which focuses on the following mantras:
1) Smoking poisons your body
2) You need your body to live
3) You need to respect and protect your body.
The hypnotherapist will teach the smoker self hypnosis whereby the smoker will repeat these mantras every time a craving occurs.
While acupuncture is not a magic cure to quit smoking, it can definitely make quitting easier and increase the chances of remaining smoke free. It can reduce craving and lessen withdrawal symptoms. A good acupuncturist will give you a full physical and mental assessment to establish how exactly to go about treatment, and, if done correctly, treatments will focus on getting rid of jitters, restlessness, cravings, detoxification and irritability.
CBT is based on changing thinking patterns and negative behaviours associated with them-in this case, smoking. Some of the techniques taught through CBT include:
For example, not turning to cigarettes in a difficult situation and rather turning to alternative means of coping.
Changing thinking patterns:
Changing your mindset from “I need a cigarette” to, for example, “I need to go outside for some fresh air.”
Explaining the withdrawal process:
This will help you to understand the feelings you will go through during the quitting period, so that you know that it is normal and will pass. It also gives you an understanding on what is going on physically, and also encourages you in knowing how your body is repairing itself.
If you find you are likely to crave a cigarette most whilst having an alcoholic drink, you can switch to soft drinks and avoid social situations where alcohol will be served until you are completely through the withdrawal period.
These are just a few alternative methods to help you kick the habit. There are endless techniques-both new and ancient, which can help you to finally succeed. Of course, always consult your doctor before trying any method of quitting. Millions of people have quit smoking, and so can you!
Written and Researched by Body and Mind's Lisa Lee