Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

Smoking is a deadly habit, literally as well as mentally, physically and emotionally. First, let’s look at what it takes away from you, which is your confidence, your happiness and your self-esteem. And what does it give you in return? The answer is absolutely nothing. I have heard that smoking is more addictive and harder to stop taking than cocaine, but I don’t believe that’s true (having given up both myself). I think this habit is all down to understanding, then changing your mindset.
We all know that smoking affects our health, wastes our money and traps us in a form of slavery – we know all this and yet all the while, we continue to smoke.
So let’s get a few things straight… We think smoking calms us, relaxes us, relieves stress or boredom. And yet the truth is none of these beliefs are true. Smoking does not calm you down because it is actually quite stressful. You have to get your cigarettes, get your lighter, go outside, stand on the street, breathe tobacco into your lungs, knowing that non-smokers are looking at you, scratching their heads and wondering why? And then you come back inside stinking of smoke and hating yourself.
If that’s not stressful enough from a mental point of view, how about the physical one? That’s where tension and anxiety build up because straight away after you have put out the cigarette, the nicotine – which reaches the brain in eight seconds and causes the chemical release of dopamine (that causes feelings of pleasure and relaxation) – drops and so the body craves the hit again and again. Hence, why cigarettes come in a pack of 20. You see, after 20 minutes the dopamine needs its next “hit” and so out you go again. I think that’s a pretty “stressful” cycle. Tip: If you think about it, what you are looking for is some long, deep breaths. So get outside and take some of those long deep breaths without the cigarette and I promise you when you do that consciously you will already feel better.
Smoking cannot relieve boredom. Have you ever stopped and looked at a smoker? Do they look like they are 100 per cent engrossed in smoking? Exactly. Smoking because you are bored is a pointless argument because boredom is simply a state of mind. Smoking a cigarette as an activity is like saying you like to inject heroin into your arm just because you need to “do something”. The concept of boredom itself is just a mind state where we simply feel uninterested in anything going on. Tip: In this case, find something you really love to get engrossed in. It could be five minutes on social media, watching some YouTube comedy or football, or simply making a cup of coffee.
So seeing smoking as a habit that you can choose to lose is quite powerful. The truth is we can make or break habits every single day. Think about it like this: if you drive a car in the UK you drive on the left, but when you go to France you think nothing of driving on the right. You are breaking a habit in an instant – you aren’t sitting there in a mental battle of not being able to do it. You just think about this habit differently. The point here is that if you enter this habit as a battle with a negative mindset – “I can’t do this” or “It’s just too hard” – then it’s likely that will be the cycle of hell you keep going through when you try to stop.
Alternatively, you can choose to change your thinking to “bring it on”, “I am stronger than a cigarette”, or even “Today I am choosing a healthier habit to get into.” Tip: With regard to thinking that “stopping smoking is going to be hard”, think of it this way – it’s harder to have cancer than it is to stop smoking.
Get help. If you are truly struggling, then hypnotherapy is a great answer to working on the subconscious beliefs you hold. Hypnotherapy to stop smoking has a great success rate and of course if this is something you are interested in, you know where to find me. Finally, start to see cigarettes as they really are – there is no “sacrifice” and when you decide to stop you need to see yourself as “becoming free” – there really is nothing to give up and everything to gain: health, freedom, and most importantly, your self-esteem and confidence back.
If you want to quit this December, come and have a chat with me and let me help you with a life changing hour of hypnosis. Mention you are booking via this email and get 10% off your session. Let’s get you quit this year!
You can see the full article for GQ here 

How to Go Sober for October

If you are worried about your alcohol intake, the GQ Therapist (that’s me) has some tips to help you cut down and why you will definitely feel better for it…

Dear GQ Therapist,

I think my drinking is getting out of hand. How can I get it in check? 

As a life coach, one of the most common questions I receive is: “How can I control my drinking?”

In other words, most people do not want to give up drinking entirely, they just want to find some “moderation” with their intake. It is usually because they feel slowly over time that their drinking has gotten “out of control”. Or perhaps they feel “depressed” (alcohol has a depressing effect – the alcohol you drink today can make you feel depressed days and weeks later). Or they are realising they are depending on it more than they’d like to be.

Unfortunately, we only start to think about moderation with alcohol once we realise it is getting out of hand. And if you are at that place, then now is the time to start looking a little further at “why” this is happening and then “what” you can do to help yourself.

  1. Cut back in a way which works for you
    Consider lowering your limit and/or decreasing the quantity, frequency, duration and intensity of the alcohol you consume. Decide, for example, to choose not to drink on a weeknight or only have a maximum of two drinks when you go out. Or try and only have one really great bottle of wine once a week. Find a realistic, limited amount that works for you and your lifestyle.
  2. Only reduce your intake for a limited time frame at first
    Anything in terms of forever is pretty scary, so try saying to yourself you will limit your alcohol intake for one or two weeks only while you are working out the limits you are happy with. That way you have a goal to work towards and something to keep you from falling off the wagon. Also, every day say to yourself “Just for today” – anyone can do anything, just for today. It takes the pressure off and helps immensely.
  3. Pay close attention to what thoughts and feelings emerge throughout this period
    Let’s be honest, we all know that alcohol serves to mediate feelings by dulling, numbing, or blocking them out completely. So when you reduce your alcohol consumption, your feelings will come back. This is really important to be aware of so don’t think you are going mad if you feel a little down before you feel start to feel amazing.
  4. Don’t feel pressured to drink
    If you have to go out for work drinks or celebrations where you know there will be alcohol and you don’t want to drink that night, one of my favourite tricks is to hold a fizzy water with some lime and it always manages to deter others from asking the question: “Why aren’t you drinking?” It is also less likely they will offer you another drink. Remember, you are more aware that you have reduced your consumption but, everyone else isn’t so don’t stress!
  5. HALT is one of my favourite expressions
    It stands for “Hungry”, “Angry”, “Lonely”, and “Tired”. It helps you keep yourself in check as you reduce your alcohol intake. HALT helps you stop and reset by paying close attention to what you really need. As your feelings will be coming back it is also important to note that if you start to feel sad, anxious, lonely, fearful or stressed out, this is the time you should figure out healthier ways of coping without using alcohol.
  6. Think of alcohol like fine food
    A small amount feels amazing, you can get a real buzz from it and not get into any serious trouble. But continuing to drink past that buzz means you are pretty much heading for trouble as you are “assuming” more alcohol equates to more buzz. However, inside you really know, it doesn’t. It actually makes you head the other way – not so buzzy just completely fuzzy. And fuzzy never leads to good.

Try these tips out for yourself and see how you go. If you find this really difficult or keep failing at the first hurdle then you may be wondering whether you have a bigger drinking problem than you first thought. If you want to you can always ask for help. And help is at hand. There are many places to go for 1-to-1 or group support and you can always come and chat to me where we can develop a plan together for you that over time will help you fully understand the role that alcohol plays in your life and make decisions together about what changes you can be ready to make. Help is always at hand. Good luck!
If you are struggling with alcohol or any other issues, you can contact me for a 1:1 session in my office, on the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, if you want to feel better but do your self-development online, you can head on over to my school The Life Class and take the Foundation Course.

For more information on Going Sober for October, visit: gosober.org.uk/

This article appears on GQ here