Hypnotherapy Myth # 4: Hypnosis is a Panacea

How committed are you to making a change in your life? Are you committed to doing the work to improve your life?

Are you willing to take the time and responsibility to make the change lasting and effective, or are you looking for a quick fix that will solve all of your problems?

If you answered the latter, hypnosis is not for you. When you do find the quick-fix, please write to me and let me know where you find it. I’ll be happy to bottle it with you so we can sell it to everyone else.

Evolving out of the misconception of control presented in my previous article, our topic for today is the myth that hypnosis is a panacea and can cure anything in just a session or two. To summarize that article, the hypnotist has no control over the client. He/she does not have any magical powers. The client is fully aware and fully in control throughout the session.

The choices that you make, both during and after your session, are yours. Hypnosis may help you make different decisions than you would have made without engaging in a session or sessions, but ultimately, you are in control of your choices.

I am merely a facilitator. I use hypnosis to bring my clients resolutions in regards to their issues. Just as with any other form of therapy, the client still has work to do in fully creating their positive outcome.

When my clients come to me, many ask, “So how many sessions do you think it will take (to fix my problem)?”

They look dissatisfied with me when I respond that it depends. It sounds like the answer of a waffling politician, but it is an honest one. Much of the client’s success in creating their outcome depends on them. They are looking for a quick solution and think hypnosis will provide it. They are asking for release from an issue that they have carried with them for years and just want it to magically go away.

In contrast, these same clients would not go to a psychiatrist or psychologist with the same problem and expect that practitioner to provide them with relief in just one visit. They would commit to months of years of weekly sessions to understand and solve their behavior.

How effective is hypnosis? Let’s look at the published results from Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D published in Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring, 1970:

  • Hypnotherapy — 93% success rate after 6 sessions
  • Behavior Therapy — 72% success rate after 22 sessions
  • Psychotherapy — 38% success rate after 600 sessions

Let’s look at this in terms of physics. Inertia is the tendency of a body to remain at rest or in motion. In many cases, the issues that a client comes to me with are superficial symptoms of a deeper problem. As we work together, different topics come to the surface. It is much like peeling an onion and finding new layers under the preceding one.

If the issue has been sleeping under the surface for years, it may take longer to resolve than one that has suddenly arisen.

Our goal is to get to the core belief that is at the heart of the problem. By resolving the negative core belief, the client is empowered to move forward with their life in a new, positive direction.

It is true that hypnosis will likely uncover and resolve the issue faster, because with hypnosis the client is being given direct access to his/her subconscious mind. The subconscious is where the issue is stored, where the beliefs and emotions that are driving the issue are stored and where the healing must take place. As seen in the statistics above, psychotherapy may eventually reach this point for the client through repetition of discussion, but it will take more time than a direct approach used in hypnotherapy.

In the end, the speed of the relief is relative the the desire and commitment of the client to resolve it. If the client has a mindset of success, they will achieve their goals faster than a client who sees challenges as larger than their achievement.

Consider this:

How long have you had a bad habit, such as smoking, that you want to be free of; or how long have you dreamed of fearlessly speaking in public? Maybe you have wanted to lose weight. For how long have you tried to lose, or lost and regained that same five, ten or twenty pounds?

I’m betting that the answer is numbered in years, possibly a decade or more.

Yet, as human beings, we expect change to occur overnight. There is a part of us that says, “Well, I want it now. Anything else is unacceptable.”

From this mindset, we create our pattern of failure. If a belief has been embedded in our mind for years, why do we think it should be altered immediately?

Mainly because we’ve been programmed over the years to expect quick results and, as human beings, we focus too much on what we don’t have rather than our successes.

If you are a pack-a-day smoker (that’s 20 cigarettes a day, for you non-smokers) and after your first hypnosis session you smoke 18 cigarettes, that’s a win. You’ve reduced your intake by 10%. Yet most people will view that as a failure because they wanted to quit cold-turkey. Instead of building on success, they focus on failure and remain in a downward spiral.

As with so much of life, we take out of it what we put in. If you are committed to improvement, you will be successful. I can provide you with tools to make the process easier.

It is my job to help my clients focus on success. Small steps or large ones, we will win together.

What habit do you want to change? Contact me at daniel@danielolexa.com and we’ll discuss creating your winning mindset for success.

Daniel Olexa, CCHt

Daniel Olexa Hypnotherapy

Whole. New. YOU!

daniel@danielolexa.com

 

Hypnotherapy Myths #2 & 3

I Will Be Out of Control

Let’s talk about fear.

Fear is one of the biggest factors in limiting our achievements. Fear of heights keeps us from climbing mountains, fear of being alone keeps us trapped in broken relationships and fear of the unknown keeps us from changing our lives for the better.

Your comfort zone is not a soft couch on which you are meant to relax for the rest of your life. It is an egg from which you are supposed to break free as you grow past its boundaries. This shell is meant to be broken; it’s not meant to be an easy process, but it is a necessary one as we are created with the genetic drive to evolve.

Fear of what is on the other side of that shell keeps us sitting on our couches, literally and figuratively.

In this way, you could say that by remaining in your comfort zone you are currently not in control of your life. Your fear is controlling you; you are not controlling it.

How’s that workin’ for ya?

My job is to help my clients overcome their fears; to heal the memories and/or beliefs that impressed this emotion on their psyche. I help my clients to move forward in their lives feeling empowered and free of negative, limiting beliefs.

In my previous article on the myths and misconceptions about hypnosis, I discussed a person’s belief that they can’t be hypnotized.

This belief, as I have heard in my discussions, seems to be rooted in fear and misinformation. These fears actually compromise two of the misconceptions about my profession.

Myth #2: When in hypnosis you are out of control.

Myth #3: A person is under the hypnotherapist’s control and could be made to do or say anything. They could be made to go against their ethics and moral principles, possibly made to commit a crime.

Here is where stage hypnosis is truly a detriment to the profession of hypnotherapy. (Read my article on stage hypnosis v hypnotherapy here.

While stage hypnotism does bring awareness to hypnotherapy, it does not necessarily showcase the practice accurately.

What many people take away from a stage hypnotist’s show is the impression that the volunteers on stage were “under hypnosis” or “under the control of the hypnotist.”

The saw these people acting in strange ways, doing things that they would not normally do if they were conscious. This gives the impression that the hypnotist is controlling them, that they are acting out HIS suggestions, not acting of their own free will.

Based on observation alone, it is very understandable how these people arrived at this impression.

This impression is unfortunately very inaccurate.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “All publicity is good publicity.” In this case, not so much.

Yes, stage hypnosis does bring a level of awareness to hypnosis in general. But, stage hypnosis creates barriers of fear in people who could be helped by hypnotherapy. They fear acting foolish or blurting out some deep, dark, embarrassing secret while hypnotized.

When we examine a performance more deeply, we may find that the shy volunteer who danced like an uncoordinated Baryshnikov actually has a deep-seated desire to be the center of attention. Her conscious mind, from years of hearing limiting beliefs, tells her she cannot shine like a star, she must stay in the background, so she lives quietly and dreams in silence.

That dream deep inside her wants to be expressed. So she volunteered for the stage. She danced her dream and was probably told that she would not remember it. That to me is sad. This person should be empowered to remember her experience, no matter how awkward, in a positive light – she stepped forward, came out of her personal shadow and expressed her inner desire. That is a step in the right direction.

To remove that memory from her is cruel. To leave it to her friends to relate her behavior to her will probably just reinforce the negative internal talk that she has heard for years, voices such as, “See, you looked foolish,” “they all laughed at you,” or “you looked so bad up there.”

And that leads us to the realities of hypnosis and hypnotherapy:

You cannot be hypnotized against you will. You choose to go into the state and you are in full control and fully aware the entire time you are in the state.

Did you notice that I did not use the phrase, “under hypnosis?” That’s because clients are not “under” anything. This phrase suggests a loss of control, and creates the impression that the volunteer/client is under the control of the hypnotist.

The volunteer/client is making an active choice to enter into the state of hypnosis. In hypnotherapy, they do so with the goal of healing. If at any time they choose to end the session and walk out, they are free to do so and can do so. They simply need to open their eyes, stand up and put one foot in front of the other.

Our second fact for today: You cannot be hypnotized to do something that is against your moral/ethical principles.

Either while in the state or after (with a post-hypnotic suggestion), the client cannot be made to act outside of their moral code. They cannot be made to lie/cheat/steal/murder/maim/harm if those tendencies are not part of their personal code.

You also won’t say something that you don’t want to reveal. If you have a deep, dark secret that you have never told anyone, you are not going to blurt it out while in hypnosis. If it happens to relate to what you are seeking help to heal, you will reveal it as it becomes necessary for the healing to occur. You will NOT just put it on the table for no reason.

I will restate this again, just to make it abundantly clear: YOU are in full control when you are in the state of hypnosis. You are fully aware of everything around you and you choose to remain in the state or leave it. You are NOT under the control of anyone other than yourself.

Hypnotherapy can help in resolving many issues from our pasts. It can typically do so much faster than other forms of mental therapy because we are addressing the root of negative beliefs and emotions and transforming them into empowering, positive thoughts.

How can I help you to overcome fear? Visit my website, www.danielolexa.com or write me at daniel@danielolexa.com.

Daniel Olexa, CCHt
Daniel Olexa Hypnotherapy

Whole. New. YOU.

daniel@danielolexa.com

 

Hypnotherapy Myth #1

I Can’t Be Hypnotized

Before we go further into this series of articles on the myths and misconceptions of hypnosis, it’s important for us to define the term.

The Institute for Interpersonal Hypnotherapy defines hypnosis as “A natural, yet altered, state of mind where communication and responsiveness with the subconscious mind is present.”

For this article, the key word that I will focus on from this definition is “natural.” You have probably experienced this state without being aware of it. Later in this article you’ll be presented with an illustration of everyday hypnosis that may resonate with you.

As mentioned in my first article in this series, one of the most common responses that I receive when I tell someone that I am a hypnotherapist is, “I don’t think I can be hypnotized.”

When I casually ask them why they believe that, I discover that there are two common replies.

The first group says that they have tried hypnotherapy, or maybe have been part of a stage hypnotist’s show, and the practitioner was unable to “put them under.” (Their words, not mine – I am not a fan of that language and will discuss it in a later article.)

The second group becomes defensive.

They say that they never have been hypnotized and just don’t think that it could be done to them. Their tone and body language become defiant and defensive, as though they need to ward off some magical trick that I could use to break down their defenses.

Their conviction seems to come from the misunderstanding that the hypnotherapist has some sort of mystical power, and therefore control over them. They believe that their will to resist entering the hypnotic state is more powerful than the hypnotherapist’s “mystical” abilities.

At least on that point they are partially correct: If they don’t want to go into the hypnotic state, they will not enter the hypnotic state. They are incorrect in assuming that I have mystical powers.

To reduce their defensiveness, I ask them about their experiences. With each objection, I simply say, “I understand where you are coming from. That’s a common misconception about what I do.”

I explain that I, as a hypnotist, have no power over them; that if they are not willing to enter into the state, I can’t make them do it.

I begin to frame the conversation in a way that resonates with them: Have they ever gone to see a specialist for anything? Maybe a physician, a mechanic or a lawyer… they went to that provider with a specific goal in mind. They went there to solve a problem.

I explain that my clients are doing the same thing. They come to me as people seeking help and believe that hypnotherapy is the tool that will aid them in solving their problem. I am there to provide this tool and facilitate solutions for them.

When I further the conversation and ask this person if they have ever experienced driving to a familiar location, maybe leaving work to go home. Instead of remembering the entire trip, they suddenly find themselves pulling into their driveway with no recollection of how they got there.

They typically say that they have had that experience. Possibly more than once.

They are shocked to learn that what wrote off as being distracted or day-dreaming, is actually a form of hypnosis.

Their conscious mind stepped aside while they were driving. All was safe, their subconscious was in full control. Had an emergency occurred, maybe a car cutting them off, they would have snapped back immediately, been in full control and able to respond consciously to the need-at-hand.

Maybe as they started their drive they were distracted by a problem or had other things on their mind such as creating a presentation, their child’s birthday or they forgot that day was their anniversary. As their mind wandered to focus on that issue, they continued to drive home, returning to full waking awareness when they arrive at their door.

This discussion begins to soften their demeanor. They become more interested in learning more – after all, if they’ve become hypnotized by themselves, it can’t be all that bad, right?

It is estimated that between 75% and 90% of the population can be hypnotized. A variety of reasons exist for the range that cannot reach the state – variables from mental limitations to physical limitations such as deafness. But if a person is willing, and they trust the hypnotherapist, they most likely can be hypnotized. It may take a few sessions for them to allow themselves to reach deeper states for more advanced techniques, but as they learn to trust the provider, their experience with, and the effectiveness of, the sessions will grow.

I’ve found that effective hypnotherapy is all about rapport. The willingness of my client to pick up the phone, type an e-mail and/or walk in my door shows that they are interested in making a change to their life. My job is to understand their goals and provide the tools to help them achieve that outcome.

The more rapport that I build with them through my intake interview, the more trust I create. Increased trust leads to increased willingness.

I also build belief and a “yes mindset.” The client must believe that hypnotherapy can help them and be willing to move forward at each stage of the process.

All of these steps lead to more effective inductions, deeper healing and increased success for my clients in reaching their goals.

Before we end this discussion, do you remember the other group I mentioned at the beginning of this article? The group that had tried hypnosis, but did not “go under”?

I have worked with many of them after our impromptu discussion. I have yet to find one that could not reach the hypnotic state. They just needed to trust and believe in the person with whom they were working.

Let’s talk about your experience with hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Send me an e-mail at daniel@danielolexa.com.

 

Stage Hypnosis v. Hypnotherapy: Addressing The Myths of Hypnotism

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There are a number of hypnotists who practice both stage hypnotism and hypnotherapy as part of their career. In this article, I do not mean to disparage their work. I am writing about my observations regarding how stage hypnotism creates barriers of misinformation that keep potential clients from seeking the help of a qualified hypnotherapist.

This is the first of several articles outlining the myths and misconceptions of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

Sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy.

When I tell people that I am a hypnotherapist, I receive a variety of responses ranging from, “Wow, that’s cool. I’ve always wanted to try that,” to “I saw a hypnotist on a cruise. He had my husband acting like a chicken on the stage. I don’t think I could ever be hypnotized. I wouldn’t want to act like that.”

And therein lies the distinction between the work of a stage hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. This is an important distinction, one that must be made clear to the uniformed public.

The job of a stage hypnotist is to entertain. The job of a hypnotherapist is to heal. The public recognizes the similarities in process, but can fail to see the difference in goals and outcomes.

The next concern that typically arises, also based within this distinction, is the potential client’s concern that they will not remember anything. This is a common misconception of what hypnosis is and the purpose of a hypnotherapy session.

The hypnotist, as an entertainer, works with a participant for only a few minutes. The person is onstage to perform the suggestions that are given to him/her from the hypnotist. In many cases, this person acts on stage in a way that is very different from how they present themselves in the rest of their life. Friends who see this display commonly say, “I’ve never seen you act like that before,” and a mistaken belief is created that the hypnotist has a power over his “subjects.”

This is an illusion. It is also a detriment to the practice of hypnotherapy.

Let’s pretend that you are on a cruise. After dinner, you go to the theater to see the night’s entertainment. It is a hypnotist. For the sake of this illustration, let’s assume that you are shy, but you have an interest in hypnotism, so you decide to sit and enjoy the show.

The entertainer picks you out of the crowd to come to the stage. You are there for fifteen minutes, but do not remember a thing; only a few seconds seem to have passed.

If you were on a stage acting foolishly, would you want to remember it, particularly if you tended to be shy and reserved in your public life? Probably not. You’ve written a story for yourself that says you do not like to be the center of attention.

Yet you volunteered to go to the stage. Why?

Do not say, “Well, he picked me out of the audience. I had to go.” No, you did not. You chose to go. You were in full control of your choice to sit in your chair or walk to the stage. You chose to walk to the stage.

Why?

Because inside of you is a desire to be recognized. It is a common, and necessary, part of the human psyche. We all crave some level of attention. Yet, we write stories for ourselves based on our experiences that tell us we do not deserve or do not want that attention (or the trappings that may come with it).

On stage, the hypnotist, with your consent, connects with your subconscious mind and allows that inner-performer to come out and play. That’s great, but does it have a long-lasting, positive effect?

If you are told that you will not remember anything that occurred onstage, probably not. When you get back to your seat, your friends will tell you about all the crazy things you did while in hypnosis and, in your conscious mind, probably become just a little frightened that you acted out in this way.

You go home and either you or you friends recount the story to more people who think that you were under someone’s control. They decide write off hypnosis as a scary proposition because they want to always be in control of themselves.

The goal of hypnotherapy is for you to reframe and remember the changes that you are making to your story.

I work with my clients based upon an agreement that we make to each other. My clients come to me to change something about themselves. We agree that we will work together to address their issue and resolve it.

This is a key difference between entertainment and healing. I am here to help my client, not entertain the rest of the room.

As a hypnotherapist, my job is to promote healing, long-lasting healing. Healing that occurs when the deep, inner, negative belief that my client holds about themselves are reframed, released and turned into positive beliefs.

At the end of every session, as part of my de-hypnotizing process, I give my client the suggestion that they will remember the entire session.

To me, it is disingenuous to do otherwise. My clients come to me to change something that they don’t like in their life. For the best results, at the end of our session(s) they need to remember how they reframed that issue and how they are going to move forward with a positive outlook.

What are your thoughts or experiences with hypnosis and hypnotherapy? Write to me at daniel@danielolexa.com or call me to book a session. I promise you will not feel foolish afterwards.

 

Setting and Achieving Goals

Writing Powerful Affirmations for Personal Success in 2016

***This is an updated post from New  Year’s Day 2016****

Here we are. The middle of another year.

How are you doing at accomplishing the goals you set for yourself this year?

Did you accomplish the goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of 2015? Did you set goals for yourself to accomplish in 2015?

How would you like your life to be different this time next year than it is right now? New job? More savings? Better relationship(s)?

If you don’t set a goal for these dreams, it is unlikely that you will achieve them in the next year. Actually, without committing to making changes, it is unlikely that you will achieve your goals, period.

Why is that? Well, put simply, if you don’t know where you want to go, how do you expect to get there?

“I’ll know it when I see it” is not a good enough answer. This response takes away all of your personal power (except for you power of observation) and places you at the whim of any and all elements that can derail each of our lives everyday.

Without setting an endpoint in the future, you leave yourself directionless in the present.

Let’s take a simple example, one that is common in New Year’s resolutions: “I want to lose weight”.

OK. Great. Now what? Where do you go from here? What exactly does this statement mean?

Does it mean that you’ll forego that dessert when it is offered by your friends at the next party, or are you more inclined to be social and accept an extra 300 empty calories into your body rather than standing up for yourself and your health? Which driver is more important to you?

Be honest with yourself now. There is no wrong answer here, just a realization to accept. To what are you more committed, friendships and socializing or standing for your goals and winning for yourself? If you answered the former, you can now see why previous attempts at weight loss may have failed, possibly multiple times.

Make this year different. Choose to win for yourself.

Here are five key points to affirmation writing to help you be successful in your New Year’s resolutions. We’ll look at each individually and then add them together so you can create powerful resolutions for your success.

  1. Be Specific/Measurable – The example above, “I want to lose weight,” is not specific. How much weight do you want to lose? It’s a good starting place, but doesn’t tell us where we want to be in the end. If you lost one pound, you would be successful with this goal, but that’s not what you want is it?

State your goal clearly. “I want to lose ____ pounds” or “I want to weight _____ or less.”

  1. Be Positive – Don’t write your affirmations in the negative. Our subconscious mind tends not to hear the words “no” or “not”.

In our hypothetical example of losing weight, let’s say you choose to remove cake from your diet.

Do you say, “I will not eat cake”?

Read that sentence again. What’s the first thing you think of doing after you read it?  Probably eating cake.

By writing in the negative, we focus on the thing that we wish to remove instead of focusing on where we want to be in the future.

A more powerful statement would be, “I choose to eat healthy desserts such as fruit”.

  1. Be Present – Write affirmations using the word “Now.”

If you write, “I am going to lose 20 pounds in 2016,” when exactly are you going to lose it?

Will you do it over the course of January and February, then slowly gain it back over the rest of the year? Technically, by the affirmation, this would be success – you did lose the weight; you said nothing about remaining at your new baseline.

Or, will you stay at your current weight until October, then cram all of you dieting in over the last 10 – 12 weeks of the year? Again, this is technically a success. But what happens in 2017?

Make your goal present, “I am now on my path to losing ____ pounds,” or “I am now actively taking steps to weigh _____ or less.”

  1. Be Timely – Not only do we want to be present, we also want to have an endpoint so we hold ourselves accountable.

Set a realistic end-date for your goal.

A healthy rate of weight loss is 2 pounds per week. In the example above, 20 pounds would take 10 weeks. Look at a calendar and count out the time it will take to reach your goal.

Circle that date and commit to it.

“On or by _______, I will weigh ___ or less.”

If your goal seems to large to accomplish, break it down into smaller, manageable benchmarks.

Let’s say you want to lose 60 pounds – that’s 30 weeks of time, over half of the year. That is a big goal and one that can easily be derailed because the end date is so far out in the future.

With your eye on that larger goal, set smaller benchmarks of 5 or 10 pounds at their dates so you can hold yourself accountable in the short-term and still have an eye on your long-term success.

  1. Be Bold – Shoot for the stars. You can achieve anything you believe about yourself.

Consider this, there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time-frames.

Looking at the example above, if your goal is to lose 60 pounds, and you start on
January 1, 2016, it would be unrealistic (and unhealthy) to set a your target date as March 1, 2016.

If in 30 weeks, you have lost 50 pounds rather than 60, be proud of you achievement. Do not worry about those remaining 10 pounds, you’ve accomplished five times that already. Those extra 10 don’t stand a chance over the coming month.

How do these five points all come together in creating powerful affirmations for your success? By using these keys, your affirmations will read something like this:

“I am now on my path to losing ___ pounds by ________”

“I now choose to eat healthily.”

“On or by ______________, I will weight __________.”

“I am now actively taking steps to weigh _____ or less on or by _____________.”

Use the outline to create your affirmations for your specific goals.

If you need additional help in reaching your goals, consider hypnotherapy to overcome any blocks to your success. How do you see your Whole. New. YOU?

Visit my website, www.danielolexa.com to see how I have helped others achieve their goals.

Write to me at daniel@danielolexa.com and let me know your plan for achievement in 2016.

How to Learn if You Are NOT Ready for Hypnotherapy

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Eight Simple Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin Hypnotherapy

I recently wrote a series of articles about creating a non-smoking mindset. I gathered these ideas and additional information together into an e-book that is available on my website.

On the day I finished writing the program, I reached out to two family members who are smokers and asked them if they would like to participate so that they could reduce their intake of cigarettes or quit entirely. I wanted a smoker’s perspective on the ideas presented.

The answer from each was, “I’ll try.”

When you are faced with someone you love consuming a deadly product; partaking in a habit that is shortening their time on this earth with you and their response is, “I’ll try,” then you know that their habit, the cigarettes, are more important to them than their family.

It’s a heartbreaking realization.

“I’ll try” is a cop-out. It leaves the door open for them to just give up because they didn’t truly commit to the program.

“I’ll try,” says, “I expect to fail, because I failed before and I would be embarrassed to fail again.” This perspective does not even acknowledge the possibility of learning something new and growing. It is not about making a commitment to the possibility of a new future, it’s about fear of repeating the past.

“I’ll try” says “When it gets too hard, I’ll just stop the program because my goals for life do not extend beyond my next cigarette craving.”

“I’ll try” says “I’m not really interested, but I’ll say something that sounds like I am.”

“I’ll try” says “I have given my personal power and identity to a cylinder of leaves. This is who I am, that is all I am.”

I cannot make anyone change their ways. My profession is not one of control, this is a common misconception that I have addressed in the past.

I am here to help individuals grow and discover their true identity and personal power.

Depending on what they are going through, it may take many sessions and much emotional release. Sometimes it’s as easy as a simple hypnotic suggestion session to get them on track to finding their true nature.

This article is presented as a series of questions, a make-shift flow-chart, if you will, to help you decide if you are up to committing to changing your life with hypnotherapy.

The only answers to the questions in this article are “yes” and “no.” Unacceptable answers include, “I can try,” “maybe,” or “I don’t know.” The most honest of these responses is “I don’t know.” At least from that perspective you can choose to learn more or stay stuck. The other answers are excuses for staying where you are not happy, healthy or growing.

In the words of Yoda, “There is no try. There is only do or do not.”

Hold a pencil in your hand. Now try to drop it. You either dropped it or you did not; you did not “try” to drop it.

If you are a smoker, ignore your next craving. It will go away. Do not “try” to ignore it; simply choose to ignore it – find something else to engage your attention or to relieve your perceived stress.

No challenge is insurmountable. Our only barrier is our belief in our ability to achieve a goal.

If you truly want to achieve a goal, you will find a way to do it. It may be a hard road to success, but your drive will keep you moving forward every day. On some days you will achieve many proverbial steps on you path, other days you will inch forward as if you were a snail.

The important thing is that you commit to moving forward.

1. Do you want to change your life?

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

2. Are you willing to make potentially drastic changes to your life? (For example, if you are a smoker, are you willing to find new friends who don’t smoke; If you are in a one-sided, bad relationship, are you willing to take responsibility for yourself and move out of it?)

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

3. Are you willing to take responsibility for being in your situation, for you life being exactly where it is right now, doing what you are doing right now, surrounded by the people whom surround you right now? No excuses, no blaming others or mysterious forces for your position. Are you ready to take responsibility for yourself?

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

4. Do you have a vision or a feeling that you are destined for something bigger in this life? Do you have a dream of accomplishing something more than what you are currently doing? Do you feel like you are wasting your time being stuck?

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

5. Have you tried other avenues to change your life? Seminars, counseling, new jobs, new relationships and/or new friends? Have you moved to a new town or state to create a new life, but found that it’s all the same, “Wherever you go, there you are.” You just brought your baggage with you.

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

6. Are you ready to drop your bags, the ones that you no longer need and create something new? Let go of the past that holds you back and move forward with strength from the foundation of what works in your life?

If your answer is “yes,” then read on. If it is “no,” then stop reading now and find something better to do with the next few minutes of your life.

7. Are you willing to try hypnotherapy as a tool to help empower you to reach your goals?

If your answer is “yes,” then read on.

If your answer is “no,” then you are probably not a good candidate for hypnotherapy at this time. When you are ready to answer “yes,” then please contact me.

If you are on the fence, reach out and we can discuss it – no pressure. I promise to listen and give you a fair assessment.

A “Yes- attitude” is important for your success. I will not accept your business unless you are committed to yourself.

8. Are you ready to move forward now?

If your answer is “yes,” then contact me and we’ll schedule a free 30-minute consultation. Online sessions are available for anyone, anywhere in the world. We’ll work out the time zone differences, I am here to help you reach your goals.

Daniel Olexa, CCHt

daniel@danielolexa.com

Whole. New. YOU!

 

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING, PART 4

 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FRIENDS AND FINISH WITH SUCCESS

Welcome back!

Let’s start this check-in as we did with Part 3:

How many fewer cigarettes did you have this week than the week before?

Remember, even if that number is just one, you have had success in the week. Build on that win and know that you are moving forward.

Celebrate your success. You have reduced your intake of cigarettes.

Congratulations.

What is your goal for this week? How will you hold yourself accountable and then celebrate your next level of success?

Here’s this week’s challenge for your success : Share your goal with a friend. Ask them to hold you accountable.

A study at Dominican University, concluded that the process of both writing a goal and sharing regular updates with a friend resulted in a 76% success rate, compared to only 43% for those who just thought about their outcomes.

FINISH STRONG

You may be feeling challenged at this point. Your comfort zone that included smoking is falling apart as you reduce, or cease, your intake of cigarettes. Your comfort zone is fighting back to keep you inside of it.

The world outside of it, that world of being a non-smoker, is scary to it. It only knows smoking and how it uses the activity to keep you trapped in comfort.

Newsflash: Comfort Zones Kill Dreams.

Here is where we must tap back into the intention that you agreed to in part 2. WHY do you want to quit smoking? What great things are you going to do with your health?

A PERSONAL STORY OF CHALLENGE

A few years ago, I was out of shape. I was looking for a trainer who would push me hard so that could be healthier.

I was introduced to a man named Fred Ettish.

Fred was part of the UFC in its early days. He appeared in UFC-2.

He is a martial artist, an MMA fighter and inspiration.

Every Monday night for a year, Fred pushed me past my mental and physical limits. Even though our kickboxing drills were incredibly far out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed this challenge to improve myself physically. It’s the only workout routine that I ever stayed with for more than 3 or 6 months.

I sure that I was a challenging student: Mid-40s, uncoordinated, confused and weak-minded. But Fred never gave up on me. He coached me through my perceived shortcomings with the compassion of a drill sergeant during training and the understanding of a best-friend after the timer rang.

Fred is driven man; absolutely no-nonsense during training sessions. In his view, we are training to protect ourselves or our loved ones. If we ever found ourselves in a real fight, our attackers would not step back if we said, “I’m tired. Give me five minutes.”

They, like cigarettes, would continue to kill us.

One night of particularly hard training, I was wiped out. I remember saying to Fred, “I can’t” when he gave me the signal for the final five minute round. In my mind, I was tired and done.

Fred pushed me, not so gently, to keep going. I remember him saying, “Your mind will give out before you body. Keep going. Your body can do it.”

And you know what? I did it.

Another night as we were going through a conditioning routine, he saw I was fading in intensity and form. He shouted, “It’s only two minutes. You can do anything for two minutes. KEEP GOING!”

And I did. It may not have been my prettiest performance, but I completed the program and time.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because it applies to your process of quitting smoking.

You can do it. Stop listening to the voices between your ears that tell you to crave a smoke.

You do not need it.

You have the endurance to keep going in your non-smoking life. The life that you committed to last week.

If you are experiencing challenges this week, know that it is common and that you have the power to keep moving forward.

You may have felt the attraction to a cigarette in the past few days. You either did or did not give into it.

If you did not give in, congratulations. You are succeeding.

If you did give in, that moment is now in the past. You can’t change it, but you can learn from it.

When the next craving hits, tell it “No.”

If your smoking friends are asking you to join them, go find better friends. Choose to create your non-smoking future now. One minute at a time; two minutes at a time.

Follow Fred’s advice, “You can do anything for two minutes.” Link them together. Two minutes becomes four. Four becomes eight. Eventually, the craving is gone because you chose a healthy path.

Yeah, I know it’s not easy. Neither is swinging a twenty-five pound kettlebell for 27 minutes.

But you can do it.

One of Fred’s other major teaching moments came one night that I was struggling with that twenty-five pound kettle bell. He said to me, “Are you going to let a little piece of metal get between you and your goal? It’s nothing. It’s just a piece of metal.”

I ask you, are you going to let a much smaller item, one made of paper, tobacco and chemicals, one that is much lighter than twenty-five pounds, much less dense and so flimsy that you can completely destroy it with a match or a glass of water, get in your way of creating a longer, healthier life?

Just as that kettlebell really had no power over me, those cigarettes have no power over you. They only have the power that you give to them.

You’ve taken so much of it back in the past few weeks. Keep going. You can do it.

You are in the home stretch.

Time to finish hard.

Keep pushing.

I’m here to coach you. I learned from the best.

Next week: Success Celebration. Are you going to be there?

If you are ready to stop smoking, I can help. As noted in part 1 of this series, (LINK) hypnosis has been shown to be effective in helping smokers to kick the habit. Visit my website www.danielolexa.com to learn more and sign up for my newsletter.

 

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING, PART 3

MOVING FORWARD

Celebrating Wins

After making your decision to quit last week, how many fewer cigarettes did you have than the week before?

Even if that number is just one, you have had success in the week. Build on that win and know that you are moving forward.

What will you do for yourself to recognize and honor that success? Mark it, make it special because you have done something extraordinary. You have reduced your intake of cigarettes.

Congratulations.

What is your goal for this week? How will you hold yourself accountable and then celebrate your next level of success?

Words Have Power.

Last week you committed to changing your life by choosing to become a non-smoker.

Let’s make an important distinction this week. It may seem like mere wordplay, but it is a powerful point to understand.

Let’s be clear about something: You are not quitting smoking.

Huh?

The word “quit” and the process of “quitting” implies failure, not success. Quitting smoking is a double-negative. Even though you are leaving behind something that is harming your health, the negative connotation of quitting impresses a sense of lack into our psyche to help you feel like a failure.

As noted in this excerpt from The Journal regarding The Psychology of Media Production, the author’s discuss The Psychology of Language:

“Semantics represents the incisive use of language. Managing language is fundamental to communication and central to our ability to understand. One simple example may be seen where examining the use of the word “quit.” “Quit” is a pejorative term of frustration that means “to give up.” “Quit” also is a software programming term that is used for programmers when writing code. Unfortunately, it has found its way to the user. The subliminal response to the word “quit” is negative when it is used in educational or consumer programs. . .”

Who wants to refer to themselves as a quitter? Even if it is in relation to ending a bad habit, the term implies weakness and lack of commitment.

Wouldn’t you rather call yourself a successful smoker than a quitter?

And therein lies an important distinction about why so many people continue to smoke.

We will not be referring to ourselves as quitters from this point forward.

Releasing The Past

It’s time to take another step forward.

It is time for you to have an honest conversation with yourself and your cigarette.

Your homework for this week is to write two letters.

In the first one, you will pretend you are your cigarette(s).

You are going to write to yourself, as your cigarette and explain all of the horrible things that you are doing to the person who is inhaling you. Be clear, be honest, be cruel – this is a one-sided, abusive relationship. Cigarettes are stealing your health, life, family time and money. They are no better than an abusive spouse.

This should be an emotional letter. Get angry, cry if you need to. You need to realize how bad the situation is so that you can have the strength to change it.

Once you are done with that letter take a moment or two for yourself to re-center.

Your second letter will be one of personal strength.

This letter is coming from you, from this new place of personal strength.

You have realized just how bad your relationship with cigarettes has become. You know it is time to move forward. Write to your cigarette and tell it why you are leaving it behind.

Focus on all of the positive things you are choosing to do with your life now that you have freedom, health, energy and more money.

Realize that nothing outside of you has any control over you. Take back that which you have given away to tobacco and nicotine. You now have the power of YOU.

Positive Labeling

Begin now to refer to yourself as a “non-smoker.” Not as a “former smoker,” and not as someone who “quit smoking.” Your label for yourself from this moment forward is “I am a non-smoker.”

Why am I telling you this? What’s the difference between the terms?

I’ll explain in a moment, but first a brief metaphor.

One day in my high school biology class there was a discussion on the difference between the terms “dead” and “non-living.” As a group of fifteen or sixteen-year olds, we were confused? Weren’t they the same thing?

Our teacher explained that, no they are not. “Dead” refers to something that was once living and has ceased to be alive. “Non-living” refers to something that has never been alive – like a rock. Rocks have never been alive in the way that animals or insects are alive. They do not move from a state of living to a state of post-living. They just are as they are.

The terms “former smoker” and “non-smoker” have a similar relationship.

If you were to ask one of your friends who never smoked to label themselves in terms of smoking, which of these two terms would they choose? Obviously, “non-smoker” as the word “former” has no relevance to their status.

They haven’t quit; they haven’t reformed; they are, and always have been “non-smokers.”

As non-smokers, what things to you imagine they have never experienced?

They have never experienced the draw of a cigarette. They have never experienced the anxiety of desiring to offset stress with a smoke. They have never experienced the addiction of smoking in all of its physical and mental manifestations.

I am asking you now to see yourself as part of this group. Just as rocks are labeled as non-living, I am asking you to label yourself as a non-smoker.

By including yourself in this group, you can experience being free from withdrawals, free from cravings and free to make healthy choices.

Say it out loud: I am now and forevermore a non-smoker.

If you are ready to stop smoking, I can help. As noted in part 1 of this series, (LINK) hypnosis has been shown to be effective in helping smokers to kick the habit.

Visit my website www.danielolexa.com to learn more and sign up for my newsletter.

 

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING, PART 2

WHERE DO WE BEGIN?

I would normally suggest following Steven Covey’s rule and “Begin with the end in mind.” However, if you’re reading this, we already know that your goal is to stop smoking.

Therefore, let’s start with where you are, right at this moment. Just like getting driving directions from a GPS, we can only calculate an efficient path to your goal if we know where you are at this moment.

I invite you to print this article and fill out the worksheet below as we move forward. The process of writing your numbers down makes them more real and may help you to solidify your choice to become smoke-free.

How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

Write that number here: _______

Now, let’s assume that it takes you 5 minutes, on average, to smoke a single cigarette. If you know that your number is higher or lower, then please substitute it in the math below.

Please multiply the number of cigarettes you have per day by the number of minutes it takes to smoke each. For example, if you are a pack-a-day smoker, using the 5 minute average above, your math would look like this: 20 cigs x 5 minutes = 100 minutes per day.

# of Cigarettes x Minutes per Cigarette = Total Minutes per Day Smoking

How many minutes did you come up with? Enter it below.

My number of minutes lost to smoking each day: _______

Now let’s multiply that number by 7 days to see how much of your time is being consumed per week.

Total Minutes per Day Smoking x 7 = Total Minutes per Week Smoking

My number of minutes lost to smoking per week: _______

Now some quick division. Divide the Total Minutes per Week by 60 to discover the total hours per week.

My number of hours lost to smoking per week: _______

Total Minutes per Week Smoking / 60 = Total Hours per Week Smoking.

How many hours did you find you are losing each week? Wouldn’t you like to get that time back to spend with family, friends or working on other goals?

Multiply that number by 52 and see how many hours you are losing per year.

My number of hours lost to smoking per year: _______

Divide your yearly number by 24 to discover the number of days you are sacrificing to this habit.

My number of days lost to smoking per year: _______

And remember, these are immediate days, not the ones you are losing due to the long-term effects of smoking that are shortening your life.

It is also estimated that each cigarette takes 11 minutes off of your life-expectancy.

At this rate, one pack per day is reducing your life by another 220 minutes, nearly four hours EACH DAY!

In total, a pack-a-day habit is costing you six hours of your life EVERY DAY– two immediately and four that you are mortgaging in the future.

At an average cost of $5 per pack, it is also costing you monetarily – at a pack per day, $1,825 per year, to be exact. You can also add to that increased insurance costs for coverage and increased medical costs for treatment of diseases linked to smoking.

It’s time to get your life back.

COMMIT TO CHANGING YOUR LIFE

Read and sign this page to show your commitment to your future as you set the intention for your life.

I, ___________________________, promise to myself, on this date, _____________________, that I will choose to live my life with a positive purpose and mindset to become smoke-free.

I now choose to become a non-smoker. I was a smoker in the past. My past is not my future. I am free.

I take responsibility for my choices and actions. I am moving forward knowing that my goal of health is entirely possible.

I will celebrate each win, no matter how small.

My goal is possible and I know that I can achieve it.

I was a smoker in my past. That is now behind me. I now choose to be a healthy, happy non-smoker.

Today, I set the intention for my present and future to leave smoking in my past and build my healthy new life.

I now choose to live my life based from this intention of health. I begin on this day.

Signature:___________________________

Date: ____________________________

Congratulations! You have just taken the first step in breaking you habit.

If you are ready to stop smoking, I can help. As noted in part 1 of this series, hypnosis has been shown to be effective in helping smokers to kick the habit.

Visit my website www.danielolexa.com to learn more and sign up for my newsletter.

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING, PART 1

UNDERSTANDING THE SMOKER’S MINDSET

Smokers are treated horribly in today’s society.

They’re looked upon as dirty, weak, stupid; given limited locations in which to enjoy their cigarettes; preached at by non-smokers and reformed smokers in holier-than-thou tones. They are seen as pariahs and treated as if they were lepers.

It’s no wonder that they defiantly hold onto the one thing that brings them a few moments of pleasure. Smoking is their moment of peace, it is an identity with which they enjoy relating.

They have great role models in smoking history: John Wayne, The Marlboro Man, Humphrey Bogart, John Constantine. All strong, all defiant, all individualistic Mavericks. What’s not to love about sharing a habit with icons of this caliber?

The sad fact is that their habit is killing today’s smokers just as it killed every one of those icons. Technically, John Constantine is a comic book and TV character, so he can’t really die, but he did battle advanced cancer in his Vertigo comic series. Ironically, a deal with the Devil saved his life.

If you are a smoker, I am not going to preach to you. You know the statistics. You know how a cigarette makes you feel, both short-term and long-term.

When you are having a stressful day, you know you can get relief from a deep breath taken along with a smoke. It’s a refreshing pause; a moment of personal relaxation enhanced by the stimulation of nicotine.

As a person who has seen many suffer from the effects of smoking, I ask you to consider how you are making the choice to continue smoking. Why are you choosing short-term pleasure over long-term health?

Is it because you have tried before and failed, telling yourself, “I can’t quit?”

Is it because you are so conditioned to metering your day with smoking that you can’t imaging life without a cigarette?

Or, is it because you feel your individuality is at stake if you give up smoking? Do you identify yourself so much as “a smoker” that without a cigarette in hand you will not be the same person?

In any one of these scenarios you are giving your personal power over to a small object outside of you. You may think you are making the choice to smoke, but really, you are allowing the cigarette to choose for you.

Take your power back. You can choose to quit, be successful and still retain your individuality. You can take on a new identity as a successful non-smoker.

Or, you can choose to continue to give your power of choice to a bundle of paper-wrapped tobacco; partaking in a habit that is ruining your health.

You have my respect for making your choice as an individual.

If you are ready to give up smoking, I am here to help. Hypnotherapy is shown to help curb the side effects of quitting, such as weight gain and other withdrawal symptoms.

A study by the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center determined that “…hypnosis combined with NP (nicotine patches) compares favorably with standard behavioral counseling in generating long-term quit rates.” Participants in the hypnosis group were shown to have higher rates (20%) of smoking abstinence after 12 months than participants in the standard behavioral counseling group (14%).

In a summary of this same study from The University of California San Francisco, lead author Timothy P. Carmody, PhD makes note of one additional finding that is quite interesting: hypnosis was significantly more effective in helping smoking cessation than standard counseling: 27% vs. 16%.

You can stop smoking if you choose to do so. If you commit to the process, you can win the battle in which so many give up.

Will it be hard? Possibly. It will be as difficult as you choose to make it.

Hypnosis can help to make the road easier to manage. We’ll discuss how over the course of my next few articles.

Can you succeed? Yes. I have no doubt that if you commit to quitting, you can do so.

The choice is yours. I respect either decision that you make and I hope to see you along for the ride.

Contact me at daniel@danielolexa.com to discuss private hypnotherapy sessions to help you become a non-smoker even faster.