Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
When we think of habits, things like smoking, nail biting or drinking soda typically come to mind, but there is far more to consider and hypnosis can help
When we think of habits, things like smoking, nail biting, drinking sodas, and so forth typically come to mind. While these things do have habitual routines attached to them, there is more to consider. What is causing these behaviors to continue may go further than just habitual behavior.
The subconscious mind operates in patterns, and once a pattern has been ingrained in the subconscious, it becomes a habit. This is why you brush your teeth every night before you go to bed, it is why you reach for the light switch when you enter a room (whether or not you need to turn on the lights). If we create a pattern of working out on a regular schedule, the subconscious will help us to maintain that pattern. On the other hand, if our pattern has been one to visit the vending machine down the hall every afternoon, then the subconscious will help to maintain that pattern as well—even though it might not be the best choice.
A lot of the things that people think of as habits are actually addictions.
The major difference between a habit and an addiction is withdrawal symptoms. Let’s say that I have gotten into the habit of buying gas and lottery tickets at a particular convenience store. At one point, I may have found it easier to stop by this store since it is right on my way home. If for some reason that store closes or I’m nowhere near it when I need gas and a lottery ticket, I won’t go into a panic and stick up a bank to feed my habit. Instead, I’ll stop somewhere else, even though it’s not my first choice.
If you are addicted to something, change will not occur as easily. For example, stop smoking or eating (especially certain foods) and notice if you have any withdrawals. Food is not an addiction, you might think, because everyone eats food. But don’t eat for a few days and see what happens. Food is considered the original gateway drug. Other drugs act in our system the same way as food does, albeit in a more dramatic way. Eating is an addiction which can serve us, but it can also work against us.
Habits can also be a response to stress.
Under stress, people will smoke, eat something—especially something that is unhealthy—have a cocktail, use other drugs, and so on. They may not even realize that they are responding to stress, they may just feel a little off. It’s easy to engage in an addictive or habitual behavior in these moments. Things like nail biting, skin picking, grinding or clenching the teeth, hair pulling (trichotillomania), and involuntary tics, such as compulsive blinking, are a direct result of stress. These things fall into the category of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors or (BFRBs). These behaviors may be a response to stress that we are experiencing in the moment, or they may stem from residual stress which occurred earlier in life.
Hypnosis can help.
Simply speaking, this is how it works. Hypnosis makes use of the subconscious mind which is where these habits reside. A type of self-hypnosis which occurs through repetition is what created these habits, so it makes sense that hypnosis will be the solution. We didn’t create the habit of brushing our teeth the first time Mom or Dad showed us how. It took repeated attempts before it became ingrained into the subconscious. Brushing our teeth is a habit that works for us, so there is no need to change that. Anytime we create a subconscious pattern, we are creating a neural pathway. Hypnosis is a powerful tool that can rapidly and efficiently create change in the brain. In establishing a new neural pathway, we create a new behavior; in turn, this new behavior becomes our normal behavior.
Typically, unwanted behaviors can be dealt with easily and quickly with hypnosis. Oftentimes, individuals dealing with BFRBs have more than one of these behaviors. For instance, it is not unusual for someone with trichotillomania to also pick their skin or bite their nails. The good news is that with hypnotherapy, these things can be addressed simultaneously, making the process more efficient. Things other than BFRBs might not work as well together. For instance, the process for helping someone be free from the smoking addiction is much different than it is for someone who is biting their nails. Things of a more addictive nature are worked with differently than habit change.
So, if we can change these habits easily with hypnosis, what else can we do?
As I mentioned, hypnosis is effective for smoking cessation, weight loss, and body focused repetitive behaviors, but it can also help with physical health issues, such as chronic pain, and support mental health through relief of issues like anxiety and depression. Hypnosis benefits athletic performance, and I work with a broad spectrum of both athletes and sports—from young children through elite competitors, and every sport imaginable. Hypnosis is invaluable to those struggling with test-taking, public speaking, or confidence. Having trouble meeting career goals? Hypnosis helps with self-sabotage, fear of failure, and—the one we don’t usually realize can be a problem—fear of success.
There is little limitation as far as what hypnosis can help with. In the early 1970s, hypnosis became my path to personal growth. It helped me to get beyond early negative programing and become a better person. I was a migraine sufferer at the time, and I used hypnosis methods to rid myself of that malady. I have helped many clients to do the same. As an ultra-distance runner, I used hypnosis to achieve my goals and be all that I could be. Over the years, some clients have come to me just to keep their life on track and achieve their highest potential.
The power of the brain is profound; tapping into that power is necessary to properly utilize the mind. Hypnosis is an effective way to access the brain and maximize its mind-body benefits. Hypnosis is an incredible tool, something you can use to effectively create positive change, or as I like to say, to change your mind and change your life.
You may also enjoy reading The Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Improving Fertility, by Lynsi Eastburn.