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Hypnotize Your Habit:  Clinical hypnosis can help smokers with treatment 

Actor Matt Damon, famously underwent hypnosis to help kick his two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, which he'd had since his teens. While the term hypnosis may conjure up a stage show complete with a swinging pocket watch, the practice is really not just smoke and mirrors. In fact, you may know someone who has experienced clinical hypnosis. 

Deborah Fish, a hypnotherapist, explains that hypnosis can help you relieve stress, become more confident and even give up smoking. 

The use of hypnosis dates back thousands of years, and in recent centuries it has been used effectively for medical, psychological and dental applications. Due to advances in neuroscience, this altered state of consciousness is now better understood. 

Moreover, as people are taking increasing responsibility for their own health, more are considering approaches like hypnotherapy. In fact, actor Matt Damon famously underwent hypnosis in L.A. to treat his two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, which he'd had since his teens. He recounted the experience during a discussion with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, saying he wished he'd tried the treatment years before. 

Experts say there is nothing scary about the trance state. In fact, we are in that state when we daydream, listen to repetitive sounds like drumming, and during the process of falling asleep. Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation during which your sensory awareness is heightened and your attention moves inwards. You need to expect, want and allow it to happen. As you become progressively more relaxed during the induction process, your brainwaves slow down from an alert state to a calmer one. This allows easier access to the unconscious mind, in order to facilitate helpful changes. 

Research has shown that when we are in this very pleasant trance state we have an enhanced capacity for insight, creativity, healing psychosomatic illnesses and accelerated learning. Inhibitions can be reduced and new skills can be strengthened. 

Because hypnosis is a relaxing trance state, it is particularly effective for reducing anxiety and enhancing feelings of calm and confidence. Hypnotherapy or hypno-psychotherapy is the clinical use of hypnosis to help an individual move towards a particular therapeutic goal, such as quitting smoking. Nobody has power over you during the process, because you work as a team with the hypnotherapist. And yes, you are aware of what is happening at the time, and you do remember it afterwards. Various techniques can be used when someone is in the hypnotic state. 

Hypnosis is a tool that can be used to discover the underlying needs that smoking attempts to satisfy. These can vary by individual, for instance to justify taking a break or as a reward. Hypnosis could be used to reinforce someone's motivation to quit, to strengthen her resolve to make healthier lifestyle choices, to lessen feelings of anxiety, to reduce cravings or to be less affected when around others who might be smoking. A smoker may also need to learn to modify her emotional responses to cope more effectively without cigarettes. She could use techniques like self-hypnosis to calm herself, as well as incorporate regular physical, emotional and spiritual self-care activities into her busy week. 

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