Eliminating Bad Habits
How to Change a Bad Habit with Hypnosis
Since all habits (good and bad) are functions of the unconscious mind, that is where we must go to alter them. Hypnosis and NLP are superb first-line strategies to accomplish this. By establishing the origins of these behaviors and identifying their “triggers” (a cigarette smoker might “light up” in response to a social cue or stressful situation), we can hypnotically reprogram the unconscious to respond far more productively to such triggers, stop the repetition of damaging behaviors and create positive, healthy changes that will last a lifetime.
What Causes Bad Habits: Repetition of a thought or an action creates a habit or pattern, which becomes an automatic response; a reminder to respond to a certain situation in a certain way. In practical terms, our habits are our lives, and most habits are extremely helpful – skillful driving, brushing one’s teeth, walking the dog, getting up in the morning, getting dressed… However, other habits are not helpful at all: smoking, overeating, laziness, addictive behavior… Once these detrimental habits become ingrained, it is necessary to change them on the same unconscious level where they were formed. This is why hypnosis is considered to be the first line defense against so many negative habitual behaviors.
Examples of some such destructive behaviors are: smoking, drug* and alcohol* abuse, the use of food as a drug, gambling, workaholism, unwanted sexual behaviors, pornography obsession, social media/internet obsession, self-harm, and a host of other less serious, but nonetheless troubling habitual behaviors such as nail biting, hair pulling, skin picking, etc.
Habits and Pattern Matching
All habits are created through a process called “pattern matching.” Pattern matching is just what it sounds like: the matching of our behavior and actions to the patterns we encounter around us. As children, we learn a language this way; we learn to walk, to eat, to do everything we do by matching our patterns to the patterns of others.
And this is all fine as long as our pattern matching process is solid and useful. It is when the matches become corrupted (sloppy or simply bad) that the process turns against us. Smoking is a good example of this. Because humans are born with the instinct to suckle, it is very easy for the unconscious to equate and confuse the act of cigarette smoking with breastfeeding – a critical source of genuine physical and emotional sustenance. When you add to this, social pressure to conform (smoking typically begins during the teen years), a powerfully seductive mix emerges and our natural sense of self-preservation is overwritten. The result: a “bad habit” is born. And because the threat is not immediately apparent to the unconscious mind, it misses the danger and a very legitimate fear gets put on the back burner; not good.
*A doctor’s referral is required before a hypnotist may address these two behaviors.