Changing Habits

From the Mental Health Minutes   

One of the secrets of changing a habit is to move it a bit first. For example if you are thinking of quitting smoking, smoke only in some awkward chair holding the cigarette between your ring and little finger and smoke very quickly (such as a drag of the cigarette every 12 seconds.). Moving the pattern of a habit makes it easier to change by first making it less automatic and more conscious.

Substitute something that you will feel good about for the old habit. For example if the old habit was biting your nails, every time you start towards your mouth with your hand, caress you nails with your thumb. With smoking you might consult your doctor for nicorettes gum or a patch to help you through quitting. After a few days the nicotine addiction is usually gone and the only thing you must deal with then is the all the associations you had with the habit.

At the Hudson Center we use hypnosis to help quit smoking. This will usually involve mobilizing unconscious resources for help; making associations that will help; and using imagery to pull you through to being a non-smoker.

Remember there is a little child in each of us that wants what it wants when it wants it. Just like getting a child to go to bed, if you're firm for a couple of nights it gets much easier. After some conscious effort to make it through the initial change your will find that it gets easier.

Dr. Hudson's Book MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOUR UNCONSCIOUS MIND has a chapter on changing habits and Dr. Hudson also has an audio tape on Smoking Cessation. You can find the book, tape and other helpful material in our Online Catalog.


Copyright 1999, 2003 Dr. Pat Hudson. All Rights Reserved.