6-step reframing for smoking cessation

The research shows that up to 90% of our behavior is controlled by our unconscious mind. Unconscious behavior is something that we do without consciously thinking about that.

That includes some basic things, like your heart rate, for example. When you do some physical activity, your heart starts to beat faster. You don’t tell your heart: “Please beat faster, I think I lack oxygen in my muscles.”

If your eyes remain open for some time, very soon they will blink to bring moisture to your cornea.

The unconscious behavior also includes some mental processes like multiplication. If I ask you: “How much is 5 times 5?” The answer 25 comes out of nowhere – you didn’t have to consciously add 5 to 5 to 5 to 5 to 5, right?

Our unconscious mind also controls our habits – including good ones. For example, when you go to the bathroom to brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about what to do with your toothbrush. Your hand just grabs it and does its job – everything happens automatically.

The problems begin when our conscious mind wants to do one thing, but our unconscious mind wants to do another thing. The most common example of such conflict is bad habits, like smoking. Yes, consciously we understand that it’s bad for our health – maybe we have some unpleasant symptoms, like shortness of breath or loss of smell – but still under certain circumstances our hand reaches automatically to a pack of cigarettes and we smoke anyway.

If we really want to change the unwanted behavior and break the habit, we need the support of our unconscious mind, otherwise most likely it will sabotage our progress. We will start finding excuses why it’s ok to smoke. “I had a bad week.” “Too much stress on the job now, I’ll quit next month.”

Why is our unconscious mind sabotaging the progress? Well, because almost always smoking brings us something positive, it has some positive intention. Some people find that smoking helps them relax or find time to think about things, it’s an official excuse to take a break when they work. Other people find it easier to speak with their friends when everybody is smoking.

Notice that we may or may not be aware of that positive intention. The technique described below will work either way.

In order to succeed in quitting smoking we need to find alternative ways to satisfy this positive intention. For example, there are hundreds of ways how you can relax, but you use this pretty weird way to do that. There’s a lot of steps if you think about it:

  • first, you should buy cigarettes,
  • you should find cigarettes (are they always in the same place?),
  • you should find a place where smoking is allowed,
  • you should find a light,
  • you should light a cigarette,
  • you should inhale the smoke,
  • you should dispose of your cigarette in a safe way.

All this is a lot of trouble, not really relaxing 🙂 It’s only because people smoke in a relaxing environment, they associate smoking with relaxation. There is not one chemical in cigarette smoke that relaxes you. Think about your very first cigarette, was it relaxing??

Let’s get back to the topic – alright, we need to find alternative ways to satisfy this positive intention. How do we do that? We do that with the help of our unconscious. It knows what this positive intention is and it also is capable of generating new ways for you to satisfy this positive intention and make sure that they will work.

The technique that I am going to describe is called 6-step reframing and was originally developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler.

This technique is an important step for you to become independent of your hypnotherapist. I will be happy to help you go through the steps once or twice, however I hope that eventually you will be able to do this process yourself – it takes only 10-15 minutes.

So if after your first or second session you still find yourself smoking in some contexts, this technique will help you further decrease the number of cigarettes.

Here are the steps:

1) Identify the behavior that you want to change. We already did this – smoking!

2) Establish communication with your unconscious through yes and no signals. It may be a slight twitching of the finger(s) on your right hand for “yes” and the finger(s) on your left hand for “no.” By the way, these signals should come from your unconscious, wich means that you cannot reproduce exactly the same signals consciously.

This step is very important and when I see my clients privately, we always do that on the first or second session. If we never met privately, I will describe in another article how to create the communication signals with your unconscious.

On this step you can say something like this in your internal voice: “Unconscious, thank you for taking care of me for so long! I need your assistance and support to change this bad habit – smoking – and find healthier ways to live my life. Will you join me in this project?” Wait for a yes signal. After you receive the signal, say “thank you!” to your unconscious. It’s important that this communication happens in a polite and respectful way.

3) Confirm with your unconscious that indeed there’s a positive intention behind smoking. Say in your internal voice: “Unconscious, can you please confirm that smoking has some positive intention? In other words, there are some benefits that I get from smoking that I may not be aware of consciously.”

Wait for a yes signal. By the way, even if you have a yes signal, it doesn’t mean that you will understand right away what this positive intention is. Conscious insight may come only much later or never come at all.

4) Ask your unconscious to start the creative process of generating alternative behaviors that would satisfy the positive intention identified on the previous step and to send you a yes signal, when it comes up with at least three alternatives.

There are several requirements for these alternative behaviors. They should be as immediate, as effective, and as available as the smoking itself.

I will list some of the possible alternatives for smoking:

a) Listening to peaceful music or nature sounds on your cell phone.

b) Doing breathing exercises. A simple one that I recommend to my clients is called box breathing, also known as square breathing. There are four steps in one breathing cycle – inhale, make a pause, exhale, make a pause – during each step you slowly count to 3 or 4.

c) Doing some physical exercises: squats or pushups. Yoga poses or taichi movements can also replace smoking beautifully.

d) Learn tricks with playing cards. Something like this:

https://easyhypnosis.ca/video/Timur_Baytukalov_playing_cards_flourishes.mp4

By the way, these were my hands.

e) Do a short meditation or a self-hypnosis exercise.

f) Learn juggling:

https://easyhypnosis.ca/video/Timur_Baytukalov_juggling_balls.mp4

g) Learn polyrhythms, like 2-over-3. It’s when one hand taps 2 beats, and the other 3 beats:

https://easyhypnosis.ca/video/Timur_Baytukalov_polyrhythm_2_over_3.mp4

If it’s too easy, learn 3-over-4:

https://easyhypnosis.ca/video/Timur_Baytukalov_polyrhythm_3_over_4.mp4

h) Learn to draw. There’s a great book by Betty Edwards called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I got some amazing progress in just a couple of weeks. Even five minutes of pencil drawing may be a very relaxing and rewarding experience.

These are only suggestions. Your unconscious may come up with completely different things.

Again, on this step you ask your unconscious to create 3 possible alternatives to the smoking that would satisfy the same positive intention and send you a yes signal when it’s done. It may take a while.

Note that most people don’t know what these alternatives are after they receive a yes signal.

5) Confirm with your unconscious that these new alternative behaviors respect all parts of your being in a balanced way – we don’t want to replace one bad habit by another one, right? 😉

Say something like this: “Unconscious, can you please confirm that the alternative behaviors that you found will respect all parts of my being in a balanced and healthy way, both physically and mentally?”

If the answer is “yes,” you can go to the next step. If the answer is “no,” go back to the previous step to generate more alternatives.

6) And finally we want to make sure that your unconscious is willing to take responsibility for these new behaviors.

Say to your unconscious: “Unconscious, you came up with these alternative behaviors that will help me change this bad habit. And I thank you for that! Are you willing to accept the responsibility to implement them in my life in the next hours and days?”

If the answer is “yes,” then you successfully completed the exercise. If the answer is “no,” you will need to go back to the step 4. By the way, you can confirm how many behaviors your unconscious is willing to accept responsibility for. Sometimes one or two alternatives are acceptable, but not all three. If we want this to be 100% effective, we need at least three.

This concludes the technique.

As you probably guessed, you can use the same approach with other aspects of your life: improve your relationships with people, stop eating unhealthy food or change any other unwanted behavior.

If you need additional support when doing this exercise, you can book a appointment with us or come to our weekly hypnosis meetup.

New self-hypnosis audio – Walking towards your goal

We released a new self-hypnosis audio which is called “Walking towards your goal”. It is based on the generative trance work developed by Dr. Stephen Gilligan.

It is longer than all our previous self-hypnosis audios.

This audio is a step-by-step guided process to help you set a positive goal, get into the right state and learn a special technique that will help you overcome obstacles.

To download it you will need to opt in on one of our pages with self-hypnosis audios:

for weight loss
for smoking cessation
for anxiety and stress relief
for improved academic performance

Interactive self-hypnosis audio program for weight loss

We are excited to launch a new type of self-hypnosis audios. They are interactive!

All self-hypnosis audios are pre-recorded, as far as I know. Some of them are pretty good. I personally use the guided trances by Dr. Stephen Gilligan regularly to help me achieve my goals. However the pre-recorded audios have one disadvantage – you cannot control the hypnotist. So some people may not have the best results with such audios, since they are not given enough time to follow the instructions.

In our interactive self-hypnosis program we found a simple way for listeners to control the process – using the keyboard as feedback device.

Check out our first interactive program – for weight loss.

To lose weight you need both your conscious and unconscious mind

How your conscious mind can help you lose weight

One of the reasons why losing weight is so difficult is that the information on healthy lifestyle coming from different sources is very inconsistent. In other words, we just don’t know what to do to lose weight and get healthy! Just look at these headlines:

“Panel Urges Hour of Exercise a Day”
New York Time, September 2002

“Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin”
Time, August 2009

“Low-Carb Fad Fades, and Atkins Is Big Loser”
Washington Post, September 2005

“Low-Carb Diets Combat Metabolic Syndrome”
Washington Post, July 2007

By the way these headlines were taken from the chapter “Spotting bad science 101” from the book The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris (see below).

To make sure you achieve your goal – your ideal body weight – you need precise information backed up by scientific research and tested on a lot of people. You need to know:

  1. which food is good for you and which types of food you should avoid
  2. which physical activity will help you lose weight faster and with less effort

Otherwise you may end up eating “healthy bars” that eventually will be stored around your waist. Or you may start going to the gym 5 times a week doing too much exercises that will exhaust your internal resources and hinder your progress.

The two books that we recommend to our clients for weight loss are:

  1. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  2. The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

The Primal Blueprint was originally published in 2009 and is backed up by a significant amount of scientific research. The author explains why certain types of food should be limited or avoided. This approach to healthy lifestyle was tested by thousands of people. And we personally follow the recommendations from this book in our day-to-day life.

The recommendations from The 4-Hour Body are very similar to those from The Primal Blueprint. The author mentions one interesting concept – minimal effective dose. In order to get benefits from exercises, you just need to do a certain amount of them. If you start overdoing you lose the benefits. And it makes sense. In our busy world every second counts. And if you can lose weight faster by doing LESS exercises, isn’t it great?

How your unconscious mind can help you lose weight

However, knowing what exactly you should do is only half of the battle. Let’s consider this scenario. You are highly motivated, you start dieting, you work out regularly and everything seems to go fine, but then something happens and you end up eating donuts in front of your TV instead of going to the gym. We can try to find an excuse why this happened – a bad day, low energy level – but the main reason is that these old eating habits are too hard-wired in your brain.

Using just conscious willpower for most of us is simply not enough to change these hard-wired habits. You need to literally reprogram your brain to make sure that a new healthy lifestyle, including eating and physical activity, is fully accepted by every fiber of your soul. And hypnosis is the easiest way to do that.

Check our Hypnotherapy Weight Loss Program

Free self-hypnosis audio for weight loss

Weight Release Mini-series. Episode 4. Neutralize negative feelings

Today I would like to talk about how you can quickly neutralize negative emotions, and not only neutralize, but to create a powerful positive state that will help you in all aspects of your life.

You probably heard about “emotional eating”. It’s when people eat to cope with some negative emotions.

The food quickly allows them to switch their state and replace the negative feelings with positive ones.

Unfortunately, this strategy is a bad solution in the long run, since most people use unhealthy food in such situations.

By the way, the same thing applies to people who smoke. The cigarette allows them to quickly switch their state, for example take a break and get relaxed.

So this quick fix may be effective right now, but just like with emotional eating, ultimately it’s a bad strategy.

One of the possible solutions is to find another way to quickly switch our state without the use of food or cigarette. The question is how.

Before answering this question, I want to speak about the results of one study.

The scientists observed people who have anxiety. And they noticed that when someone has anxiety, only one part of their brain is activated, and the other one is not. So the scientists came up with this idea that if we restore the balance in the activity of both hemispheres we will be able to reduce negative feelings.

And one way to restore the balance between left and right hemispheres is to do a physical activity that engages both sides of the body.

So I wanna give you three different ways to help you rebalance your brain and switch your state very quickly.

One such way is juggling. You can start with one ball. Then add another ball. As soon as you reach three balls, your life will never be the same.

Eventually you can add another ball. And another one. Or add another person.

Another way to change your state is based on polyrhythm. The basic pattern is two-over-three and it goes like this.

One easy way to learn it is to start by clapping your hands like this.

You can pause the video now and try it yourself.

Once your clapping is good enough, you can do the rhythm.

Again you can pause the video now and do it yourself.

If that’s too easy, you can learn 3-over-4.

Another way to quickly change your state is the alphabet game. You will find the instruction on this website.

What is common between all these exercises?

First, they all have a certain rhythm.

Next, like I mentioned, we engage both sides of the body and this way we stimulate both hemispheres.

Another thing is that we use all our senses – we see, we hear sounds and we feel something with our hands.

Juggling and polyrhythm exercises also have a feedback mechanism – if we make a mistake we know it right away, so we can improve our performance.

By the way our performance is an indicator that we successfully switched our state.

If you perform these exercises correctly, you will notice that they will help you to be more relaxed, centered, balanced, tension-free. Enjoy the process! Be playful!

So next time when you have a bout of anxiety, do these simple exercises, activate your brain and I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.