Hundreds of people spend hundreds of dollars on cigarettes on a monthly basis, and when they get tired of smoking they may spend hundreds more on nicotine patches and pills and gum and herbal supplements trying to get themselves to quit—to no avail. The following NLP process will teach you to quit smoking without spending a dime by “reprogramming” your mental process using mental images.
How to Perform the “Swish” Pattern for Smoking Cessation
It’s important to realize that the chemical component of a cigarette is only a single part of the addiction. A smoker learns to relieve stress and boredom by smoking, and to expect instant gratification by way of the act of smoking, and fills the spaces in his or her day with smoke breaks until it feels as natural to them as breathing, and quitting feels as unnatural as suddenly having to hold your breath indefinitely.
In order to combat the psychological need for a cigarette, the trick is to learn more about your mental processes when it comes to smoking, and to alter those mental processes in order to alter your behavior by extension. That is where the “Swish” pattern for smoking cessation comes in. Take the following steps to bring yourself that much closer to being done with smoking for good.
1. Find Your Trigger
In order to use the “swish” pattern to quit smoking, you must first discover the thought, feeling or other sensation that initially triggers your urge to smoke. Perhaps it is imagining that you can smell the smoke, a tingling in your hand, or even imagining yourself relaxing and smoking. Try and find the very first thing that sets off the chain reaction of events that leads to you lighting up. If it is a smell, a sound or any other non-visual sensation, make a mental picture that you associate with that sensation.
2. Create a Replacement Image
Once you have decided upon an image that represents the first thing you see or feel or taste that leads to your lighting up a cigarette and pictured it clearly in your mind’s eye, choose an image to replace that image—preferably an image that will make you feel strong and lessen your desire to smoke. For example, you could picture the most beautiful thing you will gain by no longer smoking, such as your own health and the health of those around you, whether it be pets, children or your significant other.
It is important that you place yourself within the picture, creating what is called a “dissociated” image. This type of image allows you to see yourself from outside yourself, having already achieved your goals. An image in which you can see yourself is also more interesting and memorable to your own mind than an image in which you are absent.
3. View Both Images in the Mind’s Eye
Close your eyes and visualize the image you chose to represent the feeling or thought you have that initially leads to lighting up a cigarette, and make it big and bright in the front and center of your mind’s eye. At the same time, visualize the image you chose to replace the former image at the bottom left hand corner of your eye and make it comparatively small and dark.
4. Switch (“Swish”) the Images
When you have both images clearly visible in your mind’s eye, one big and bright and central and the other small and dark at the bottom left hand corner of your “vision,” give yourself the cue to switch the images by saying the word “swish” aloud. Saying the word “swish “ gives the mental switch a more physical, felt quality which can make it more concrete and real for the mind. As you say “swish,” watch the image from the left hand corner drift to the center and grow and brighten while the central image simultaneously darkens and shrinks into the corner.
5. Repeat the Process
Once you have completed the above steps, you “clear” the now rearranged mental pictures from your mind’s eye and start over, placing the first image brightly in the center and the second image small and dark in the left hand corner, just as you did when you started, and when you have them clear in your mind, say “swish” and switch the images. Practise doing this until the point so when you try to call the first image to mind, the second image appears instead.
6. Monitor Your Results
If you are able to get this process to work for you, a picture representing the positive thoughts and feelings associated with the best reason you have not to smoke should appear in your mind rather than the catalyst thought or sensation that used to lead to your perceived “need” for a cigarette. If performing the process on yourself doesn’t work for you, perform it on someone else and have them return the favor, as external assistance will often strengthen your results.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera is a firm supporter of alternative methods to relieve anxiety and stress, and tells everyone he works with that reducing smoking is a great place to start.