People often wonder how they can change a deep rooted habit. And they have good reason to wonder. A habit is something that is enacted instinctively and automatically, without conscious thought. It is something which is triggered by subconscious processes.
Take nail-biting for example. I have never met someone who says that they enjoy biting their nails of that they consciously want to bite their nails. Rather, their fingers are in their mouth and the nails have been bitten almost before their conscious mind has realized what is happening.
Even the way in which you put on your shoes can provide an example of habitual behavior. Most people employ the same sequence of action every time they put their shoes on; right one first, left on second, or vice-versa. If you decided from tomorrow that you would reverse your instinctive sequence do you think you would remember to do so, or would your shoes be on your feet before your conscious mind caught up?
There are many, many examples which demonstrate habits in action. Driving, cooking your favorite dish, brushing your teeth, reading for 15 minutes before you go to sleep, and so on. Habits can seem very difficult to change, even those habits which have no emotional connotations. But as I said before habits are fuelled from your subconscious mind and therefore it follows that this is the place one needs to go in order to seek some sort of change.
Hypnosis provides access to the subconscious mind and this is why hypnosis is linked in most people’s mind with habit changes. Most people know that hypnosis helps with stopping smoking or stopping nail biting, or finding it easier to lose weight. Hypnosis is a state which can be used to help with changes in many ways, whether it is a habit change or overcoming a fear or phobia, or in maximizing ones potential in general.
Hypnosis speeds up the process of habit change. Without hypnosis, you would have to find a way to remember to act in a different way each time your normal course of action is triggered. Thus you would have to find a way to notice your nails are near to your mouth, or to be consciously aware that you are about to put your shoes on, and so on. Then you would have to consciously think about your new behavior and execute it. Once you have done this consistently, every time you are presented with these triggers, for about two to three weeks, your new habit will be pretty much in place. Hence the saying that a nail is driven out by another nail.
With hypnosis this whole process is easier and quicker. As you access your subconscious mind with hypnosis you can make suggestions which “disengage” you past habit patterns and create a strong image of the new and desirable habit instead. As your subconscious mind sees the new pattern of behavior and appreciates its benefits it learns to AUTOMATICALLY link it to the triggers which used to spark the old habit response.
Not only that, your mind does not know the difference between something which is vividly imagined and something that is real; therefore as you visualize yourself following your new habit pattern again and again, your mind thinks that this has really happened, again speeding up the acquisition of your new habit. The secret behind easy habit change is that your habits can be changed quickly and easily with the use of hypnosis.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis for change and well-being.