How Hypnosis can help you kick bad habits
Smoking, drinking, drugs. All substances that can poison your body and cause great harm. Yet so many people find it difficult to walk away from them. How can this be? Why does the mind crave something that can ultimately cause it’s death?
This is a question that has been pondered for centuries. Addicts have struggled with these substances, and in desperation turn to anything that might help them kick their habits. And many methods fail. Yet there is one that offers great hope to many – hypnotism.
Hypnotism might not be what you think it is
Being in a state of hypnosis is not like it’s portrayed in the movies. You don’t lose all control over yourself and forget everything that happened. You don’t start barking like a dog if the hypnotist asks you to. Rather, hypnosis is a state of heightened awareness, when your subconscious mind can be accessed and influenced in positive ways. Recently, this ability to influence the subconscious mind has been used to help people beat addition – with surprisingly positive results.
How hypnosis helps addicts
It seems too simple to be true – that hypnosis can be used to change the triggers in the brain that fuel addiction. How can something stop self-sabotage, and redirect the neurons in the brain so as to stop unhealthy, addictive behaviors?
One reason that hypnosis helps is that it changes a person’s deepest, unconscious beliefs about who they are. They can effectively reprogram their brain, and create a positive identity of being someone who is healthy, in control, and free from disease.
This is in direct contrast to traditional addition recovery methods, where the addict is seen as an addict for life. Many methods believe that the person is always an “addict in recovery”, thereby reinforcing over and over that they have no control over whatever substance they are seeking to be free from. This method sees the person as powerless. They are filled with fear. Constant fear of failure and relapse makes it difficult for someone to truly heal from addiction, because your brain is constantly fed negative thoughts and beliefs.
Hypnosis uses a different approach. Many hypnotists believe that in order to end addiction that people need to surround themselves with positive beliefs; beliefs that reinforce that the person has the power to be healthy and strong for the rest of their lives.
What will a hypnotist do to help?
Hypnotists will typically begin by working on a patient’s core issues, such as memories of events in their past that have caused them pain and fear. They want to root out the causes of failure, fears, and hopelessness that lie beneath the surface of their conscious mind. By starting with this, they can begin to heal the reasons behind the addiction.
One way hypnotists then help is by taking the patient into an imaginary future moment, where they will meet their future self – a self that is completely free from addictions and cravings, and healthy. They will encourage them to experience it fully, imagining the sights, sounds, and feelings of being in that moment. The patient will ‘observe’ their future self having healthy relationships, doing things they love, and feeling a strong sense of self-worth.
The patient will then be asked to go inside of their future self and feel what it’s like to be free from addiction. To feel truly free from it, rather than living with the label of an ‘addict in recovery’ for life. While the patient is in this moment, their subconscious mind will be experiencing big changes. Their mind will begin to integrate these new beliefs, feelings, values, and sense of purpose.
Meeting this healthy future self, and changing unconscious beliefs, changes the way their brain works. It changes how they react to drugs, smoking, and alcohol memories and triggers. The patient’s brain now sees itself as healthy, strong, and in control, rather than as an addict. Then the person can begin to experience life free from the shackles of addiction.
How can change happen so quickly?
Hypnosis has the ability to change a person’s brain very quickly. How is this possible? The answer is neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of your brain to create new neural connections. While in a state of hypnosis, your brain literally rewires it’s connections. For example, your subconscious mind may have always reacted a certain way to the smell of a cigarette. It may have triggered cravings, and the desire to smoke. Hypnosis can go into your subconscious mind and change that trigger, eliminating your current reaction, and trigger an entirely new response. It can rewire you to have no response to cigarette smoke, eliminating your desire to have it. Your brain has created new memories, and new networks that support a healthier, happier version of you.
The power of the subconscious mind is well documented. While many traditional addiction treatments focus on the conscious mind to enact change, hypnosis targets the subconscious mind, often with astonishing results. It has the power to free addicts from the bonds of their addictions, so that they can create happy, healthy futures.