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Tips for Stopping Smoking in the New Year from Inner Changes Hypnotherapy Manchester
One of the major preventable causes of heart disease is smoking. It also causes an increased risk of all types of cancer. Passive smoking has be shown to increase the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease in non-smokers who live with smokers.
Pick a day to stop. Choose a day, or ideally several days, when you know you will be relatively stress-free, and then stop smoking on that day.
Remove all smoking-related items. Commit fully to quitting smoking by throwing out all smoking-related items such as cigarette packets, ashtrays, and lighters from your house, car etc. While you are at it, spring clean the house and your car to remove all cigarette smells and any evidence of being a smoker. By doing so, you will have less things to remind you of smoking. Also, by removing easy access to cigarettes you save yourself from moments of weakness.
Try to understand your smoking habit and plan in advance. People often think of smoking as one big habit, but really it is a whole series of smaller habits that are triggered in response to different situations, different emotions, and at different times of the day. Once you’ve identified your smoking triggers, think about what else you could do, or how you could think differently in each of those situations. Plan in advance how you’ll cope with those different situations, like at the pub, with friends, in the car, after meals or at work. If you have planned alternative courses of action for each habitual situation, then you are creating new options and choices, beginning the process of freeing yourself from your habitual auto-pilot.
Take it one day at a time. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Focus on getting through one day at a time, and before you realise it you’ll be a non-smoker.
Keep yourself busy. One thing smokers often overlook is that they will gain on average an extra 1 to 2 hours of free time each day, because they are no longer wasting time smoking. Therefore now is a really great time to start new hobbies and find new activities and interests to fill that extra time. The more you can keep yourself occupied, the easier you will find it to remain a non-smoker.
Practice Relaxation. We can feel physically and mentally tense when we attempt to change habits or overcome addictions. This can build up inside us like steam in a pressure cooker and explode outwards in unhelpful ways such as anger, sarcasm and restlessness. Learning to physically and mentally relax is a good way to release this tension in a healthy and beneficial way. Some good ways to relax include meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and physical exercise such as walking or running. For best results try to perform deep relaxation for 15 to 30 minutes at least once each day, particularly during the first few days after you stop smoking. You can download my self-hypnosis relaxation and stress relief mp3 here: http://www.manchester-psychotherapy.co.uk/downloads/free-self-hypnosis-mp3-downloads.htm
Create a list of all the reasons for becoming a non-smoker. Focus on all the positive things you’ll gain by becoming a non-smoker and the good feelings that come from being free from the addiction. Also list all the things you dislike about smoking and the associated unpleasant feelings. Read your list daily and re-imagine those feelings. If you have a craving or thoughts about smoking, vividly remind yourself of this list and all the reasons you have for remaining a non-smoker.
Change your routines. The habitual aspect of smoking is very much tied up with your routines. Therefore making small adjustments to your routines for a while can loosen up the smoking habit and make it much easier to change. So for example if you’ve always smoked while you have a cup of coffee, try tea, fruit juice or some other drink instead for a while.
Deal with your emotions. Some of the cigarettes you smoke are likely to be smoked for emotional reasons. Smoking like any other addiction helps you either avoid or move towards certain feelings. Do you smoke more when stressed, or when you feel like a reward, or when you feel socially uncomfortable, or when you are bored? If so, then the urge to smoke those particular cigarettes is triggered by your minds desire to shift your emotional states. Find something else that gives the same emotional benefit and substitute it for the cigarette. For example, if you smoke to de-stress, ask yourself what else can you do that will help you unwind to the same degree, in a similar time-frame. Going for a 5 to 10 minute walk to get out of the office, simple breathing exercises, having a chat with colleagues, making a cup of tea, are all simple alternative examples.
If you are dealing with serious emotional problems, then it may be worth working with a qualified psychotherapist to help you manage those emotions before attempting to stop smoking. You’ll then find it much easier to quit if you no longer need the emotional crutch.
Manage Your cravings. The more you focus on your cravings, the more intense and longer they can seem to be. Instead, first briefly acknowledge and accept the feeling of the craving, take a few long slow deep breaths, then remind yourself of all the benefits of quitting smoking and the reasons why you are going to remain a non-smoker. Focus particularly on the feelings associated with your reasons. Finally, find some other thought or activity to fully occupy your attention. You will find that the craving quickly fades if you can absorb your attention elsewhere. This is why it is a good idea to find new hobbies and alternative activities to keep yourself busy. The intensity of each subsequent craving will tend to diminish and fade each time you successfully distract yourself.
Don’t bother with nicotine replacement patches or artificial cigarettes. Using these type of products only prolongs the very physical addiction and habits that your are attempting to overcome. Your body actually adapts relatively quickly to being without nicotine, usually 3-4 days of not smoking is enough. People usually have more problems with the habitual or emotional aspect of stopping smoking.
Consider taking vitamins. According to the NHS Healthy Heart web page, vitamin C can help you get rid of nicotine more quickly. Vitamin B complex can help calm the frazzled nerves often associated with smoking cessation.
Stick to your normal diet. If you feel hungrier between meals, stick to healthy options like fruit or vegetables. Usually these urges will pass the more you settle into your new non-smoking habits.
Congratulate yourself on your successes. Every day that you are a non-smoker, and every time you avoid a craving, take some time to congratulate yourself.
Plan a reward for yourself. Save up the money you would have spent on smoking and give yourself either a small weekly treat, or save up long term for something bigger like a holiday.
Stay Stopped. Do not be tempted to smoke even a single cigarette, no matter how in control you feel you are. It can very quickly lead you back to the full smoking habit again.
Inner Changes Hypnotherapy Manchester – Tips for Stopping Smoking in the New Year
Still Struggling to quit smoking?
If you feel you still need further assistance to quit smoking, then hypnotherapy, NLP and psychotherapy are all well regarded methods for helping people change habits such as smoking.
If you live in the Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Cheshire area of the UK, then give me a call on 0161 881 4333 to find out more about my Quit Smoking Programme.
The New Scientist published research that stated that ‘Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking’.(New Scientist Vol. 136 issue 1845-31 Oct 92)
Nigel Magowan is an experienced and fully UKCP and BACP Registered Psychotherapist, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist, Life Coach, and NLP Master Practitioner. He has for many years helped people stop smoking, manage their eating habits, and deal with anxiety and stress-related issues. Read more about his Stop Smoking Programme in Manchester.
- Stop Smoking – Live Well – NHS Choices
- Tips To Help You Stop Smoking
- Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy Manchester
- Psychotherapy Manchester
Tips for Stopping Smoking in the New Year – Inner Changes Hypnotherapy Manchester.
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