Painless Way To Stop Smoking
Painless Way To Stop Smoking
During my more than twenty years as a practicing psychiatrist and neurologist, I have used hypnosis almost daily, therapeutically as well as for diagnosis.
Aware of its limitations as well as its advantages, I have therefore been on guard against—and I have vigorously worked against—those who misrepresent hypnosis, or utilize it for entertainment, or becloud it with illusion and false hope.
I was pleased, then, when Channel Press asked my opinion of this book before they determined to publish it. My recommendation to them, as you see, was to issue it.
Indeed, I was so impressed by Mr. Heise's approach, understanding, and excellent and ethical presentation that I offered to add a few introductory words written from the point of view of a physician specializing in psychiatry.
As you read into the book, you will realize that the author is teaching you to use some of the techniques of hypnosis and self-hypnosis to change deep-rooted habit patterns. He will tell you that this method is painless.
He will tell you that it is safe. Some readers will wonder whether this is true, and may hesitate to apply the author's suggestions.
And so I would like to add this word of reassurance. There is no danger in self-hypnosis. The techniques you will learn in the pages that follow are safe and they are sound. I will return to this matter, because I want to discuss certain unethical uses of hypnosis; but so far as the material you will read in this book is concerned, be at ease.
The method is standard and orthodox; it offers an excellent way for you to achieve your goal.
Physicians are often asked whether it is harmful to smoke three cigarettes a day, or five, or fourteen, or a pack; people seem to seek a standard measurement. If they exceed it, that would be bad; if they smoked fewer than the standard, that would be all right.
But no such figure can be set. For several of my patients, one cigarette a week would be too many cigarettes.
A better way to respond to questions about cigarette smoking, then, is to speak not of quantities but of habit patterns. You are smoking to excess if you do any one (or more) of the following:
1. Reach for a cigarette the first thing in the morning, or the last thing at night.
2. Light a cigarette without realizing it, find yourself smoking, and wonder why you lit it and when.
3. Claim that you are unable to enjoy certain situations without a cigarette—your morning coffee, food, reading the paper, playing cards, and so on.
4. Feel it necessary to explain the number you smoke with such phrases as "They help me relax" and "I only take a puff or two, forget it, and then light another."
5. Become severely upset when you find yourself in a "no smoking" area—certain theatres and public buildings, for example—and feel compelled to "duck out for a quick cigarette," or are ready to risk public disapproval or punishment by "sneaking" a few puffs.
6. Find it almost unbearable when you are out of cigarettes, and are unable to tolerate the situation; instead, are willing to go to some lengths (dressing, walking to the corner store, stopping a stranger) to get a cigarette.
7. Feel that you have to smoke to show that (a) you are one of the gang, or (b) "adult."
If with any degree of regularity you act or react in any of the ways described above, you are smoking to excess.
"Excess" means "more than what is right, proper or necessary." When used in medicine, it means "more than is good for continued good health/' We can eat too much, work too much, drink too much (including non-alcoholic liquids), sleep too much, and so on; and while any such excess is potentially troublesome, some excesses are worse than others.
Smoking must be put in that category, because it has vastly increased the incidence of lung cancer and coronary artery diseases, and because it plays a significant role in increasing the mortality rate in other pathologies.
Some people do more than one thing excessively; for example, they may smoke excessively and drink excessively and perhaps also work excessively. Since there is a reason for everything we do, there are reasons for this pattern of behavior.
Usually the excess acts as an "escape mechanism" from an emotional problem. If the habit is removed but the cause is not, another habit generally develops. That is where the psychiatrist can make his unique contribution; he can seek out and remove the basic cause or causes for that particular emotional problem.
Excess can also be the result of an endless circle of action and reaction. An emotional problem causes anxiety; the anxiety itself causes greater anxiety. And as the anxiety continues to mount, feeding on itself and breeding itself, an escape mechanism becomes necessary.
Relaxation effectively prevents this dangerous accretion of anxiety and tension, and one bonus you can achieve as the result of reading this book is learning how to relax.
Excess, we've seen, can take many forms.
Psychology shows us that the individual makes an unconscious "choice" of his particular escape mechanism (or mechanisms), and that his choice is usually made through an unconscious association with what he thinks will bring gratification—excessive eating, drinking, playing, sleeping, working, or so on.
With smoking, however, another element is present: cigarette advertising.
Cigarette advertising induces you to believe first that smoking leads to gratification, and second that more smoking leads to still more gratification and enjoyment.
It does nothing of the kind; more smoking leads to more damage. When it doesn't lead to catastrophic damage, it at least results in unnecessary shortness of breath, coughing, digestive upsets, and a host of other obstacles to a feeling of real well-being.
The liquor industry has seen the need for self-regulation, and promotes the idea of moderation (which it certainly finds preferable to prohibition). The cigarette industry in its consumer advertising makes believe that the facts aren't there.
With agile sleight-of-hand, the tobacco merchants keep your attention diverted from the dangers of smoking; instead you pay attention to their new ideas in packaging (soft package, hard package, tops that slip, flip, zip, slide or slope) and to their new brands, new sizes, and new flavors.
Mr. Heise will make you realize the incredible effectiveness of tobacco promotion; and perhaps his revelations will bring the United States closer to the time when we (as other nations have now done) will restrict or ban certain forms of cigarette advertising.
As a psychiatrist and as a parent, I am against advertising that has tended to lower the age at which youngsters begin to smoke, and that has turned what ought to be an occasional act of the conscious mind into a habit.
It is difficult to predict how quickly you, the particular reader, will be able to learn to employ these techniques effectively. For some it may be a matter of no more than a few minutes an evening for a very few evenings; others may not succeed for a week, ten days or two weeks.
Some readers will undoubtedly read up to the point at which the author asks them to follow out a number of directions that will gently relax their bodies and minds, and will then say it's "too much bother." This would be regrettable, since continued excessive smoking could ultimately cause far greater "bother."
Do not be fearful or hesitant about following the author's directions and recommendations. They can only help you, not harm you. No one in hypnosis will respond to any suggestion that is contrary to his mores or to those of the community.
There is no danger of "remaining hypnotized forever." Hypnosis is dangerous only when it is used for entertainment or by an unethical, unqualified person, who seeks to effect a dramatic "cure" without looking for and eliminating the cause.
An unqualified person who attempts to prevent an alcoholic from drinking or a narcotics addict from using drugs, for example, without eliminating the cause, could wreak tragic harm.
On the other hand, the competent and ethical use of hypnosis by a trained physician or any qualified hypnotherapist working under medical supervision, is a tool of increasingly great importance, a tool useful in diagnosis and treatment, anywhere in medicine, whether in the psychiatrist's consulting room or in the operating and delivery rooms.
By showing you beneficial ways to use some of these techniques, the author of this book is going to do more for you than enable you to stop smoking. He is going to help you learn how to relax. The relaxation he will help you achieve isn't a fleeting, fragmentary respite from pressures; it is a revivifying process.
You spring back from it feeling "renewed"; from it you must gain greater health and happiness.
And so this is a book that offers much. It can help save many, many lives. It can add years to your Me. It is, therefore, an important book