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The Fear of Failure

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The main reason people don’t attempt to quit is that they are afraid that they will fail and that it will be difficult.

“So, what’s the use, if it won’t work out.” Or, “why torture myself and get all stressed out, if I just end up smoking again?”
Some folks fear that they will gain weight, some feel that they won’t be able to relax or take a break without the cigarettes, or that they won’t be able to enjoy a meal, or concentrate, or socialize…

So here’s the deal. The smoker’s unconscious mind actually thinks smoking is good for them. This is because the unconscious mind connected the positive emotional feelings that were associated with smoking with friends when they started the habit, usually as a teenager. For the teenager, being with the right social group, is the most important thing in the world. The good feelings of being with the in-crowd were connected with the cigarette, while the unconscious mind had to neglect the negative physical signals of the cigarettes. To this day, the smoker’s unconscious mind connects those good feelings, which came from the emotional benefits of fitting in with the social scene, to the actual cigarettes.

When the conscious mind tries to quit, the unconscious mind says, “No, give me my cigarette or else.” This is where the fears and rationalizations come up. It’s the fear that, “Something good is being taken away from me.”

If you think smoking relaxes you, realize that physiologically it constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate and increases blood pressure. All of these physiological responses are the opposite of relaxation. Because the mind learned to link the good feelings with the cigarette, it appears to relax you. A smoker is just like one of Pavlov’s dogs, who connected the sound of the bell with food. The bell has nothing to do with food, just like the cigarette has nothing to do with feeling good. In fact, the cigarette makes you feel lousy. Once the subconscious mind gets that it is not doing its primary job of protecting you, it will drop the habit instantly and never turn back. This is how hypnosis works. Hypnosis works directly with the unconscious mind that is driving the smoking habit.

If the subconscious mind no longer wants the cigarette there won’t be a struggle, there won’t be the feeling that something is missing that needs to be replaced. There will not be a need to eat in order to replace the habit of smoking. There will not be any weight gain due to quitting smoking. In fact, once someone quits and feels the immediate benefits of no longer poisoning themselves, they will often find themselves becoming more willing to engage in activities that encourage healthy weight loss. It is only from white knuckle quitting, where the desire still exists, that weight gain may ensue. This is the difference between an ex-smoker and a non-smoker. The ex-smoker still wants to smoke even though he/she may not be smoking. The non-smoker is relieved and happy to not be smoking anymore and thoroughly enjoys the freedom he/she now has.

Andrew Rader

Andrew Rader, LAc, MS is an Hypnotherapist, Acupuncturist and Herbalist located in Marin County just north of San Francisco. Andrew studied smoking cessation hypnosis with Will Goodey and has been in private practice since 1988. Andrew has more than 25 years of experience with helping people quit smoking.

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