Tag Archives: Bad Habits

Break Your Bad Habits

Having just looked at a list of bad habits posted on the internet, I can honestly say that whilst they are habitual repetitive behaviours, many of them are also disgusting. One site listed nail biting, throat clearing, lying, interrupting, chewing the end of a pen, smoking and swearing in its top 20 list of bad habits. And that’s not to mention knuckle-cracking and thumb-sucking.

Habits are formed when behaviour is consistently repeated. Eventually, it becomes an unconscious behaviour, that is, you can do it without thinking about it. In just the way your unconscious controls your blinking, breathing and walking without you having to remember to make it happen, it also takes over responsibility for activating the habit.

In a sense, the levels of competency go some way to explaining how this unconscious activity is created:

  • Unconscious Incompetence- Not knowing about it and not doing it. (Ignorant)
  • Conscious Incompetence- Knowing what needs to be done but unable to do it, lack of skill required.
  • Conscious Competence- Knowing what needs to be done and having to think about how to do it, in order to do it.
  • Unconscious Competence- Knowing what you need to do, and being able to do it without consciously thinking about how it is done.

We can see by looking at the levels of competency process, how a positive behaviour such as learning to drive, for example, is taken through the above stages so that it shifts from conscious activity, into an unconscious one. The problem with this process is that the unconscious mind will not distinguish between a good habit and a bad one. When learning to drive, this is generally a beneficial habit to master, and biting your nails for example is not.

However, the unconscious simply responds to the programming it is given. It does make a distinction about whether it is right for you or not. The more times you repeat the behaviour, the more hard-wired the behaviour becomes, good or bad.

This means that in order to break a bad habit, its automatic function of it needs to be bought back into the awareness of the conscious mind, in order to give the conscious a choice about whether to continue with the action. This could be enough for some to break their pattern, yet for others, even though when they are conscious of the habit, may continue to pursue it. For example, many people who smoke and know that they should give up, are aware of the cigarettes they light up and inhale. Worse than that, they are even conscious of what they are doing to their depleting immune system as they do it- and still they continue- why?!

The answer is that they get some sort of a payoff. An opportunity to be destructive and release some tension by biting your nails, or a moment to drift off and take a break from the busyness of work when having a fag. In the great scheme of things, it’s important to note that these payoffs are of course only temporary. They only alleviate pressures for a short amount of time and usually come with a downside, such as ultimately damaging your health, the way you look, the way you feel, or the way people respond to you.

NLP techniques are great for helping to get “leverage” for applying pain to the unwanted problem and pleasure to the solution. Anchoring techniques can provide an instant desired state to relieve tension for example so that it is no longer achieved by performing the habit. Hypnosis can be used to reprogram the unconscious part of the mind, linking unsavoury feelings to unwanted behaviour (for example feeling sick if you go to put your fingers in your mouth to bite your nails) and forming new habits to deal with stressful/ boredom situations in a new empowering way.

To book a free initial consultation with a licensed Practitioner in NLP, Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, Please contact us at 0203 6677294.


By Gemma Bailey

How to Raise Mental Health Concerns

I’m going to be talking to you about how to express if indeed you should express to someone else that you think they’ve got a problem with their mental health. When I say ‘if indeed you should’ there are some things that we don’t flag up with other people and there are some things that we don’t raise the issue with them. For example, even if you are clinically qualified to do so you don’t tell your friend that you think that they’re autistic. We don’t go there, that’s something that somebody needs to find out as a result of deciding to go on a journey themselves. This is not your place to just kind of randomly throw into the conversation even if you think it’s for their benefit.

Here’s the very first thing that is super important before we even consider sitting down with someone and having a bit of a chat with them. Firstly, has something changed? I don’t mean do we know something in their life has changed. I mean in terms of these new behaviours, reactions and emotions that they’re displaying; these things that are troubling us about this person – is it different to how they used to be before? 

If it’s not, then actually we might not have a problem they might just be a bit quirky and a bit odd because those people do exist. If you notice that the person you’re concerned about has changed that there has been a notable change in how they are thinking, how they are behaving or how they are feeling then we’ve got grounds to proceed.

If it’s not those things maybe they’re not the one with the problem maybe it’s you, you know, maybe it’s your thinking that has changed about them but not necessarily them that’s changed and sometimes that happens in life. Sometimes we have a relationship with someone and the stuff that never used to bother us about them suddenly starts really annoying us and then it suddenly seems like they’re annoying us on purpose but they’re not they’ve always been that way but your tolerance levels have changed so if it’s that we don’t need to talk to them about it we need to work on our own problems, with our own tolerance levels and decide whether or not we still want this person in our life that’s a different thing but when the change has happened in the other person and it is having a significant impact on how they are thinking, behaving or feeling then we need to start thinking about sitting down with them, having a conversation and saying ‘I think there might be a problem here’ and having a look at it together.

From establishing that ‘yes, something has changed’ only then can we start thinking about how do we actually approach this interaction with them and have this further conversation with them. My first suggestion is that no matter whether this is an employee or a family member you start by keeping notes. You’re going to have to start keeping some evidence because if this is a relative that you’re concerned about and you maybe are going to end up being the person who accompanies them to the doctors at some stage and so to be able to have some history around when this has started and what’s been happening, what sorts of incidents you’ve noticed is going to serve you really well. 

You need to be keeping records of what’s going on with this person that you care about so that in an attempt to get them the right treatment you’ve got as much information as possible. One of the things that are really difficult with mental illness is describing your symptoms because you only see life from your own perspective and particularly when people get frightened about their mental health they’ll really downplay what their symptoms are or brush things off to one side or if they’re suffering from something up that higher end of the mental illness spectrum they might actually forget stuff that they’ve ever done.

Where possible I would suggest using the softening phrases when approaching another person: ‘I feel like that’s not the way you used to behave,’ ‘I feel like it’s not okay to treat people like that’ or ‘I feel like you’re not looking after yourself very well at the moment. In using such phrases, it’s like you’re taking responsibility for what you’re seeing and experiencing and not just being blaming and putting it all on them. I feel softening frame can work really well and generally just think about your language and the softening frames that you might be using.

The other thing that is really useful to do which the police do all the time where they interview a suspect. The police tell the suspect that the questioning is just to rule you out from our enquiries so that phrasing around this is to rule out anything else is something that I have learned to use a lot both with my mom and with the clients that I see where I suspect that the mental health issue or illness that they are experiencing is beyond the realms of my reach and I want them to get treatment but it’s not going to be with me. 

One of the frames that you can use here is to say I’d recommend going to the doctor just to rule out anything else and then I’ll often suggest something quite low level that’s not particularly terrifying or treatable but would also help to put the like to kind of get them into the system and to get whoever it is that they end up engaging with exploring other things. For example, if you have someone with anxiety then you could recommend that they go to see their GP just to rule out. If someone has a long-term sleep problem then you could say to them, you know, it’s probably worth talking it through with your GP or a counsellor just to rule out the fact that there’s something else playing on your mind, that’s interfering with your sleep patterns. If someone is showing some signs of some more mental health illnesses it’s worth going to your doctor to get a urine check because sometimes with certain urine infections it can cause your brain to start tripping out and working in a different way. 

I can suggest for you as the carer, as the employer or as the facilitator of getting the ball rolling on having this issue explored, for whoever it is in your life, that currently has a problem is that you are really brave about it because it can be a thankless task to undertake. It can also be incredibly stressful because you might see what is best for them but they may not see it for themselves. It might feel as if you’re kind of like going at it alone in some ways but when you do get them on the right track when they do get access to the help or the treatment that they need then you can give yourself a pat on the back and know that you did the best that you could.

Don’t underestimate the impact that things like stress, anxiety and depression can have on a person. Some things that might seem to be much more severe mental health issues actually just boil down to either stress, anxiety or depression or a combination of the three of them in some way and these can really change a person’s personality and they are recoverable so where you can support people in accessing the treatment that they need getting on the right path so that they can begin to live a healthier, happier life going forward with your assistance there by their side.

I hope that this was a useful and interesting one I know it’s the stuff that might not be relevant to you at this exact moment in your life but trust me if you ever interact with another human being at some point in the new or distant future you’re going to need this stuff because of everybody has a mental health issue at some point in their life and with the ageing population that we have, we’ve got more and more people that are going to be prone to mental illnesses and neurological issues later on in life so we need to know how to have these conversations knowing that they probably won’t be comfortable but facing up to them anyway.


By Gemma Bailey

Finding Motivation in 2021: Part One

I want to share with you today some tips on how to get yourselves re-motivated. Whether you are someone who has been enjoying the government’s furloughed scheme, whether you are someone who has had the luxury of working from home in your pyjamas, or whether you have something that you want to start doing or need to get done and you need that extra kick up the backside, that is, what I’m going to do for you today.

When it comes to tapping into that feeling of motivation what is most important, is that you have a very clear reason ‘why’. When we think about what it is, that drives people to do the things, that they do, in their lives, they’re either going to be someone who is motivated by the reason ‘why’ they should do something or they are motivated by ‘what it is’ that they’re actually going to be doing, the ‘how it is’ that they can actually go on and do it or doing some exploring and figuring out how to do things in a completely different way to what the normal logical person would do. Within that quadrant of those four different types of people,  (why, what, how and ‘what if?’) the area that most people fall into that has the highest percentage of people is the ‘why’ context meaning that you need to know why you are doing something in order to get motivated enough to be able to do it.

I would suggest that those reasons ‘why you do the thing that it is that you want to be able to do’ is going to have both positive and negative connotations associated with it. The reason why I think you need both is that I am NOT just a zen-like self-development guru who is going to tell you that everything needs to be based around moving towards the positives. If that worked then, you know, we don’t be driven by a carrot rather than a stick but the reality is a good number of people are more motivated by what it is that they should be avoided rather than what it is that they’re moving towards.

Let me give you a little bit of extra framing around what it is that I am saying here. First of all, in this need to know ‘why’ in regards to what you’re doing. You need to get the balance right between “I’m doing it for all of these good reasons and all of the positive things that are going to come out of it” – we want bags of that stuff! However, for some people, there’s also going to be a little bit of ‘oomph’ that comes from “I’m also doing it because I don’t want this to happen, I don’t want these bad things to happen.” For example, let’s imagine that you’ve been furloughed for a considerable period of time and you’re completely out of whack with the world of work and having to get up at a decent hour in the morning and you’ve got made redundant that is going to be the circumstances for quite a few people these days and now you’ve not only got to get motivated to go to work but maybe you’ve got to get motivated to go to a new workplace or to find a job in the first place.

People who are in that kind of situation, here is what some of the ‘why’s could look like – it could be “this will be good for me because I’m going to earn money and I’m going to have a better routine. I’ve got to be more sociable again. It could also be for getting away from having late nights and actually spending the day feeling a bit fuzzy because I didn’t get enough sleep and feeling like I’ve wasted a day although I haven’t been very productive”. Those would be your kind of things that you want to get away from that’s your stick stuff.

Therefore, we’ve got to get that balance right and that might mean tapping into your own motivation source to find that balance, specifically for you. As an individual, between what it is that you are moving towards and what it is you want to be moving away from; I wouldn’t say wholly base it around away from stuff. You could probably base it around all of the good stuff that you want to move towards but I would avoid making it wholly around what you want to get away from; let me explain why!

On the shelf behind me as I write, there is my teddy bear who is called Bailey. If Bailey Bear is not the thing I want, as in, he represents the late nights, bad routines and wasted days, all of those things as I am writing this article, I have turned to Bailey bear and have made this clear to him. I was literally turned around focused on him, pointing at him. When I’m physically looking in the direction of Bailey bear, what I’m not doing is looking in the direction of where it is I want to go instead. So what can start to happen is you end up getting more of what you focus on and I end up seeing more examples of what I don’t want than what it is that I do.

This is why I would say to motivate yourself, get the balance right and have this kind of pushing you from the background to move forward and have your eyes set on where it is you want to go towards so that you don’t fall potentially into that trap of just kind of getting tangled up in the thing that you want to avoid. We need to know why and we’ve got to find our own personal drivers.

By Gemma Bailey,


The Pursuit of Change

Today I’m going to be discussing how it is that change is possible even when you think it isn’t my behavior and communications

It’s interesting because in my work I have people who come to see me, at my Hertfordshire therapy clinic, because they want to change and they obviously believe that change is possible, otherwise they probably wouldn’t bother coming to see me. There are other people that I work with, who are not clients and there are the people that I know socially, for example where I have noticed that some people develop an idea that the things that they dislike about themselves are not changeable.

Imagine being in a situation where you have resigned yourself to being stuck with the things that you dislike about yourself, you’ve decided that these things cannot be changed, that you cannot change them and that there is no point really finding another way of doing things, you’re just stuck with what you’ve got and that’s the end of it. Then imagine that those things about yourself actually really impact upon your relationships with other people, how well you are perceived to the rest of the world, how well you are able to form other relationships moving forward, imagine believing that those things about yourself, those qualities that you need to improve that there’s no point even trying because you’re just stuck with them doesn’t that sound a little bit crazy.

To not want to bother improving and changing the things that you can change and improve about yourself but actually just living with it instead, that’s nuts! why would anybody ever do that? Here’s the thing, sometimes change is not seen, sometimes the tools that we need to be able to make those changes are not easy to come by and perhaps in the past you have given it your best, like a lot a lot of other times before, you’ve really gone at it all guns blazing, thinking that this thing, this new way of being, this methodology, this strategy, this therapeutic intervention, this is going to be the one that finally makes things change for you and then it doesn’t work.

It happens that sometimes the route that we want to take to create the changes that we wish to make are not the right ones for us, for our individual psychology, for our way of being, for our environment, for our way of life, sometimes you don’t hit upon the right route to take you to where you want to be first time around or second or third or a hundredth time. Sometimes change doesn’t come fast, sometimes it doesn’t come easy and sometimes it doesn’t come via the route that you think you need to take. Does that mean that you should just back off and you know just make do with what you’ve got in life?

Is it at all possible that this thing that you want to change about yourself is actually quite important? It could actually make a really big difference. Is it not even more important to continue? The pursuit of that change, in spite of the knocks and failures and errors that you’re going to make a long way, I believe and I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but I believe that even when we have these situations where it seems like we’d invested too much hope in finding the right source to help us to become the person that we want to be, even if that doesn’t work out and it turns out you have been completely going the wrong way forward. that there is still going to be a time in the future when you gain something from that experience and that thing might be wisdom, later that thing might just be a funny story about how once upon a time you tried rebirthing or age regression or some other new-age methodology to help you to overcome those anxieties that you had and it didn’t work and you felt like a woolly nose lady bashing cymbals in the background.

Even if all you get from it is a funny story that you end up telling somewhere and  for some people it works. Even if that’s all you’ll get, you’ll still get something out of it, there is still some reward to be had by keeping going and looking for a way that will work for you, to help you become the person that you want to be. We know that the human brain has the ability to rewire itself, things can change in there and you can change them but sometimes it’s as if our ego has got cemented into place and that ego says this is who I am and everyone else is gonna have to live with it and in fact, therefore, I have to live with it too, I have to stay this way.

Don’t let your ego in the way of you being able to recognise that past you doesn’t know everything, that perhaps other people have solutions that you haven’t discovered yet, that perhaps other people might have some quirky alternative ways that really work for helping you to be able to change who you are and how you are in life that would wreak, for you, very positive rewards and benefits. Don’t let your ego get in the way of you exploring another way of changing yourself, your habits by convincing yourself that you are the one person on the planet whose psychology is set in stone and doesn’t work on the same brain wavelength that every other human being does, don’t do that to yourself, that’s silly and it prevents you from moving forward and from having the life that you might like to have.

Sometimes we need to put aside our current thinking and get a bit curious all over again so that we can figure out, we can begin to take, to move in a different direction in life, maybe there are some learnings that you have yet to experience that will take me to where I need to be. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ve already learnt it all, that if it existed you would have already found it, that’s not going to wash around here, around here we keep searching, we’re curious, part of what we learn in NLP is an attitude of curiosity, we’re looking at developing within ourselves a way of being using our creative brain to find alternative ways forward when we are in stuck situations and when we cannot find them we accept that we haven’t got all the answers here but this doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, it just means that you haven’t found them for yourself yet.

If you cannot find them alone then find someone who’s a good researcher, who has a good brain for being able to find a way forward when they seem to be stuck in times of trouble because those people exist. I would like to think that on the most part, always for my own problems but certainly for other people’s, I am one of those people. we’re going to suck up the potential for disappointment because we know there is highly likely to be a lot of it around but we’re also not going to give up on ourselves quite so easily moving forward, we’re going to accept that we might not know how that change will occur but we’re also going to accept that change can occur and if it can then there is a way for us to evolve ourselves with that, there is a way for us to bring that forward into our awareness. The skills and knowledge of other people who might be able to look at things from a different angle to what we can could helps us to evolve, to achieve  that change. That may require that we reach out for and ask for help because sometimes we need to reach out to others in order to be able to cultivate that opportunity to find whatever it is we need to find in order to open up the possibility of change to ourselves and that’s the pursuit of change is what I want you to focus on.

Christmas is Coming and The People are Getting Fat

How we can avoid these foods that are not terribly good for us and why on earth is it is
that sometimes we just can’t?!

There’s a reason why we are drawn towards the crisps and the chocolate and the chips
and all of those foods that we know are naughty and full of fats.

The reason is that those foods are really good fuel foods. The fatty foods give us fat
for our body that we can hang on to and can use them as long-term fuel and the reason
why that’s appealing to us is because instinctively rooting way back to our ancestry
there was a time in the past when the person who caught the fattiest piece of meat,
who shot the fattiest zebra or whatever our ancient ancestors may have been out
hunting for were the people who survived the longest.

So, it’s instinctive to us it’s in our genetic makeup that we are drawn towards these
fatty foods because in the past the person who got the fat was the person who survived.
Fat is the richest source of energy with more than twice the energy value of any other
nutrient. Alcohol is the only other nutrient that comes close and interesting, isn’t it,
that this time of year is also alcohol-fueled as well for many people.

Not only are we eating the fatty greasy foods and building up our fat supply that way but
we also tend to be drinking lots of alcohol and building up even more fat reserves as a
the result of doing that. If you can get on top of that now, you don’t have to worry about
doing the whole big weight loss starved diet stuff, signing up for the gym stuff, in the
New Year.

It’s a biological respect for fat that makes it so hard for people to defeat fat cravings.

There’s a big link as well which is coming to the surface between people’s stress levels
and the desire to eat fatty foods and this is another thing for us to be aware of at this
time of year because it’s this time of year probably the most stressful time of year there
is. At a psychological level, the emotional comfort that fatty food has played in life can
drive you towards things like chocolate on a bad day because when you were crying like a
a child, you were comforted with fatty and sweet foods. Now that might not always be the
case but if you go way back to when you were a baby, quite often parents would try to
calm a crying baby by offering it milk and certainly a mother’s milk is incredibly sweet
and very, very high in fat so we’ve learned from a young age that if we’re feeling
emotional in some way that we’ve got some kind of upset or negative emotion going on
that that can be reduced by having access to these fatty foods just as we have the fatty
milk as babies.

However, at a biological level under stress, we tend to use our adrenaline system in that
fight or flight mode. And fatty foods stimulate dopamine and noradrenaline which are
both responsible for giving us a rush to cope with a crisis. So, if we’re feeling stressed
out then the fatty foods can really give us that little kick that we might need. So, if
we’re going to combat this, particularly if we look at the kind of stress levels element of
it then we need to get into the habit of pausing that stress before reacting and reaching
for the chocolate biscuits or reaching for the extra mince pie.

The Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic provides Hypnotherapists and NLP coaches in
Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Coventry to help with the
management of stress, anxiety and depression.

For more information about our free consultations and sessions, contact us on 0203

By Gemma Bailey

Quit Smoking

The benefits of stopping smoking are endless, so I will not even bother trying to list them! You will, of course, be generally much healthier, and of course, much more empowered when you are no longer at the mercy of a little white stick. In my hypnotherapy practice, I am dedicated to ensuring that you give up smoking with ease and speed. This is why I offer two choices to my clients who are interested in quitting smoking as well as a free consultation.

When you make the decision to use Hypnotherapy to help you quit smoking, I will initially want to make sure that you are completely motivated to do so and that you want to give up smoking for all the right reasons. For example, one of my clients said that he really enjoyed smoking but that his wife hated it and that he wanted to stop smoking for her. Fortunately, I identified this man’s lack of motivation to achieve the goal for himself. If I’d have carried out the hypnotherapy there is little chance that it would have been successful due to the fact that the client didn’t have the desire to want to quit smoking.

In my practice, I use a range of different hypnotherapy techniques to assist my clients so that they are able to stop smoking. Here are some example of how I do it:

Away from techniques- There are of course many off-putting facts about the negative impact smoking has on the mind and body. When your mind is overloaded with this information you will feel compelled to move away from smoking forever.

Moving towards techniques- I also have lots of information about the positive impact quitting smoking and remaining a non-smoker has. I am keen to help you set goals for the future that wouldn’t have been attainable whilst you were a smoker. Now that you are a non-smoker you can explore new ways to relax, to exercise and to spend your money.

Metaphors- I believe that if you can lay back and enjoy the experience of quitting smoking, then you should! That’s why I use tailor-made metaphors, which give very specific instructions to your subconscious mind and suggestions to give up smoking. However, consciously, you don’t even need to listen, you can just lay back and relax.

Empowering alternatives- Wouldn’t it be fantastic to know that you can, not only give up smoking but that you can also look forward to doing something really and truly meaningful to do instead. Such as spending time with your family, which, no doubt, if you didn’t quit smoking, an early grave would have prevented that opportunity.

Anchoring- As well as a qualified hypnotherapist I am also a qualified NLP Master Practitioner. This means that throughout your intervention there is a strong chance that I will also use some NLP techniques. One such NLP techniques is called anchoring. This allows the hypnotherapist to create for you, a really powerful positive resource that you can fire off at will, should you find yourself tempted by cigarettes.

Compared to all other methods, research suggests that Hypnotherapy can improve the chances of quitting smoking and remaining a non-smoker. Hypnotherapy works in several ways, including:

Reducing the anxiety associated with stopping smoking
Helping people to find the motivations for stopping
Installing coping mechanisms
Re-evaluate unconscious beliefs and behaviours associated to smoking
Installing positive beliefs so that weight gain is not inevitable.

I have successfully helped many people to quit smoking throughout my years of practice as a hypnotherapist. Few of those people have required follow up sessions, many quit after just one session.

Quit Smoking (1 session only required) with 6 months of free support.

Book a free consultation now, via my contact details below.

I still do not smoke and it’s the start of something great!

By Gemma Bailey

Stop Smoking Using Hypnotherapy (and your imagination)

Deciding to quit smoking is not ever a punishment. Doing that for yourself is showing
that you love yourself and when you put that new frame around it, in NLP we call this
reframing, when you put that new frame around it, it makes it so much more palatable
to be able to take on that kind of a challenge. Actually, suddenly starts to seem
appealing to realise that when you do this, you’re doing yourself a massive favour. That
you are showing how much you care for yourself, by taking care of yourself in the best
possible way.

So that’s a really important thing to do too and for those of you who are can’t quite get
your head round that way of thinking yet and need a little bit more leverage so a bit
more of a push. Then the best thing I can suggest to you is this – if you think about
cigarettes and start to reduce the quality of the way in which you remember them,
because the chances are the way that you remember the taste of cigarette smoke is
much tastier than the way it tastes in real life. You have a much better memory of it
than how it actually tastes when you come to experience it. Think about the memory of
cigarettes and just start to reduce the quality of that memory and you can do this very
simply by distorting the colour, so perhaps draining the colour out and changing it to
black and white. You can do it by moving the image further away from you, by shrinking
that image down, by putting a frame around the image, by moving the image to a
different location within your field of vision so whatever it is that your eyes stare out to,
to imagine that image just move your eyes somewhere else and put the image over
there and you’ll notice that you start to feel very differently about it.

Now it might not mean that you absolutely hate it but it will certainly start to
reduce the power that the memory of cigarettes, such that you don’t feel quite as
compelled in the future to be drawn towards them.

Imagine yourself smoking a cigarette and realising that there isn’t just tobacco inside it,
but it is also stuffed with someones pubic hair. Just imagine that right now.

Imagine that cigarette that you loved. Not only has it got bits of the tobacco you used to
enjoy, but it’s also got somebody’s dirty hair in and you’ve been putting it in your
mouth, not knowing quite where it came from. Then it’s got wedged in one of your back
teeth and you cannot get it out and so you try to swallow to get rid of it, but only half
the hair goes down your throat and the other half is still in your mouth. How awful, so
you put your fingers in to try and reach for it to try and take that bit of hair out and try
and salvage whatever you can from the cigarette but as soon as you stick your fingers in
your mouth, it makes you start to gag.

Can you imagine that happening?

And I wonder how many of you now are thinking about the cigarettes that you used to
absolutely love and are not feeling quite as drawn to it as you used to? All that took was
just a couple of minutes and using your imagination. Imagine what a session of
hypnotherapy could do for you!

By Gemma Bailey

Giving up Bad Habits

If you have a particular habit or compulsion that you want to stop doing I want you to list all of the reasons why it is a good idea for you to stop having that habit vs all of the payoffs that you will get as a result of not doing it anymore. Pay particular attention to focusing on the positive elements of having that, rather than the negative stuff. Really focus on what you will get. There is a series of books by a guy called Allen Carr which you might be familiar with. He wrote lots and lots of books about giving up smoking and used to do so seminars as well to help people give up smoking or quit smoking as we should say and here’s why.

Allen Carr used to say we shouldn’t use the phrase ‘giving up’ when we’re talking about giving up smoking because you’re not actually giving up. It’s not about giving up, you are actually starting something new. The focus should always be on what you will gain. So really, we should be talking about ‘quitting smoking’ and ‘stopping smoking’ rather than ‘giving up’ because giving up already implies some kind of failure, doesn’t it?

When I deal with smokers I say to them ‘giving up smoking isn’t a punishment so if this is going to be a reward for yourself I want you to focus on the sorts of treats you’re going get in your life now and the sorts of rewards you are going to have, as a result of stopping smoking’.

So many people think it’s going to be so hard because of this and it’s going to be really difficult in these situations and so on and so forth and it makes it sound as if giving up smoking or quitting smoking is like a punishment for them. Well, it’s not. When you stop smoking that’s a brilliant thing. You’re doing the best thing for your body that you
possibly could ever do. So, you really want to be thinking about how this is going to be a reward for you from now on.

If you always view this habit or compulsion and stopping that habit or compulsion as an uphill struggle, then it will be. When my dad gave up smoking the first-time round, he did so because lots of other people in our family were giving up smoking and because my grandad had died from cancer smoking related.

I don’t think he really wanted to stop smoking at that time and I remember that when he did he had some terrible side effects. He had ulcers in his mouth. He literally looked like he’d been chewing on a piece of glass and he was moody and he found it so difficult.

Now the second-time round that he stopped smoking which is the most recent time was when the smoking ban came in in the U.K. for public places and there was one time he was in the pub, having a drink and wanted a cigarette and was trying to kind of drink and smoke and stand in the doorway and he got told off by the security guards who said ‘no you’re not allowed to do that. You are either inside or you’re outside’ and he
didn’t want to go outside in the cold and stand out there in the rain and stuff. He just said to himself ‘you know what I’m just going to stop you know this is silly, I’m just going to stop smoking’ and so he did and that really was all there is to it.

The smoking ban came in 2007 in the summer and he remained a non-smoker for the rest of his life which was up until 2014. It was an easy thing to do because he just thought ‘well I’ll just do it and that’s all there is to it’. Whereas in the past there were all the concerns about it’s going to be like this and it’s going to be hard work etc.

Think about any metaphors that you might be using to describe this habit that you have or more importantly how it would be to give up the habit that you have. There probably are some metaphors that come to mind – like ‘it’s going to be an uphill struggle’. ‘It just feels as if everything’s on top of me at the moment’. All those sorts of things are called ‘toxic metaphors’ because they are metaphors that tell us something about what you’re
thinking but in a very indirect story like way.

And also, they’re toxic because they’re not giving you a good internal representation. They’re not giving you a good internal focus. If you notice that you’ve got some of these going on then you need to start challenging them. We need to start thinking of some smart-arse answers to these metaphors so that when one of them pops up in your mind or somebody else might deliver one to your door, then you can think of something to say to give you a new internal representation.

So, if you’ve got something going on in your head about it being an uphill struggle then you can think well, do you know what, I’m very near the top now and soon I’ll be on top of the world. Something like that so that in your head, your mind starts picturing actually being on top of this problem, rather than struggling up the side of the problem. I hope that makes sense.

The Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic provides Hypnotherapists and NLP coaches in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Coventry to help with the management of stress, anxiety and depression.

For more information about our free consultations and sessions, contact us on 0203 6677294

By Gemma Bailey