Since the UK smoking ban in public places started in 2007, smokers have been forced to stand on the streets puffing away while braving the wind and rain. Many are now making the choice to quit the nicotine for good and there are lots of gums, patches and substitute cigarettes to help them do that. But there could be a better way. Consider Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help you beat the craving and give up the cigarettes for good.
It's first important to understand your reasons for wanting to quit. Perhaps the smoking ban has made you reassess you desire for a cigarette - who wants to stand in the freezing cold after all? Maybe people have told you that you constantly smell like an ashtray and you're starting to feel like an outcast. How do you look? Smoker's skin is generally in a poorer state than a non-smoker and lines can appear around the mouth from all the thousands of drags on cigarettes - you might be in your thirties but look in your forties. Everyone has a reason to quit so whatever yours is, let NLP help you achieve your goal.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a technique that involves changing our behaviour and way of thinking to help bring about positive changes in our lives. By associating with certain words, phrases or images, we have consciously and sub-consciously programmed our minds to make us act or think in a particular way. If we can understand the pattern of those verbal and non-verbal forms of communication, we are able to change them and create a new map in our mind to make us act in a different way.
To stop smoking, you need to stop the brain from thinking it needs a cigarette. An NLP method that can help you do this is called the 'swish pattern'. What triggers your desire for a cigarette? Maybe it's a stressful situation at work or at home. Do you like having a cigarette after a meal? What about those social occasions down the pub when you've got a drink in your hand? These are common triggers and represent in your mind when it's time to reach for the ciggies. So, before you grab that packet, think about what you'd like to do instead. You might decide to go out for a walk, call up a friend, eat some fruit or read a book. Choose something that you'd enjoy doing and use that as your representation.
Now you need to visualise yourself doing this alternative activity. Think about where you'd go for your walk, what you'll say to your friend, what piece of fruit you'd like to eat or what book you're going to read. By doing this, you're starting to disassociate yourself with the cigarettes and you're now someone who does something positive instead - a new, better you. When you've got that visualisation in your mind, make it a stronger and brighter image than the one of you smoking a cigarette. Make the walk on a sunny day, make your conversation fascinating, make the fruit taste sweet or the book so enthralling you can't put it down. Whatever your choice of representation, make sure it's better than the one of you smoking.
You should now have a strong representation to call on so let it start small and allow it to grow in your mind until it completely obscures the old one and any triggers that caused you to reach for the cigarettes. Do this each time you get the urge and slowly you'll overcome your desire to smoke.
NLP has a number of techniques like this one to improve your life and give you confidence to achieve many other goals.
Shaun Parker is an expert on therapy and alternative medicine. He helps people that are looking for NLP find neuro linguistic programming near them.