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Use Visualizations to Help You to Quit Smoking

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Your mind is a powerful "device." This device can be used for positive or negative purposes. You win or lose in life based on the way you "run" your mind. Much of running your mind involves visualizing--visualizing what has already happened in your life, as well as what may happen, good or bad.

Visualization is very similar to what our teachers and parents may have called "day dreaming." Children excel at day dreaming and playing "make believe." As we grow older, we tend to suppress our daydreams because of pressures to conform to society's practical approach. Day dreaming or visualization allows us to create bright, fun, fantastic futures for ourselves. Unfortunately, visualization for adults becomes scenarios of unfounded fears, drudgery, regretful memories or just plain darkness.

You never lose your ability to visualize. Instead, you change your visualization to "practical" and logical thoughts. And often, adults do have vivid visualizations but of the negative doom and gloom, "the worst thing that can happen" variety. How often have you let your mind race with pictures of disaster and destruction? You see yourself lashed to a whipping post, being beaten by an IRS auditor, or you see your doctor telling you the pain in your head is a malignant brain tumor.

Your mind can just as easily show you a refund check from the IRS or a "clean bill of health" from the routine physical.

The problem and the opportunity with visualization is that your mind doesn't know truth from fiction when it evaluates the visions in your mind. Your mind simply accepts the visualization as reality.

An example of this is the effect a scary movie may have on you. When the movie Jaws came out in 1975 many people were so frightened by it that they would go nowhere near a beach or lake. Some people were even afraid to take a bath or shower. The mental images of this monster shark took over the mind's rational ability to think and allowed people to imagine sharks coming out of the showerhead. For these people the experience was so real that they changed their actions in the physical world. This is an extreme example, yet it is typical of the way that imagination and visualization can affect your physical existence.

In your mind you can create many different scenarios for yourself. You can visualize good or bad events. Your mind tends to act on these visualizations. Whatever you imagine, your mind will accept as real. In time your mind will work to "fulfill" your thoughts, creating them in reality. Think negative thoughts, create negative results. Think positive thoughts, create positive results.

Much has been written on visualization, and you should seek some more in-depth information on visualization techniques.

Here are some quick tips for using visualization to help you quit smoking:

check.gif (911 bytes) Visualization often begins with affirmations--positive statements you make to yourself. State your affirmations positively and as if you already have what you are affirming. If possible, state your affirmations aloud, five to ten times.
check.gif (911 bytes) Some examples of positive affirmations include: "I enjoy breathing easily and deeply," "I am free from any desire to smoke," "My hands and teeth are clean and smoke free," "I enjoy being around non-smokers," and "I am relaxed and calm."
check.gif (911 bytes) Write down some goals for yourself, relating to smoking. For example, "I will quit smoking by the last day of March," or "My body no longer desires nicotine," or "I will take a vacation to Mexico next year with the money I save by not smoking."
check.gif (911 bytes) To create deep visualizations that can profoundly affect you, relaxation is very important. To relax you should sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Begin breathing long, deep breaths. Imagine yourself at the top of a staircase. Count down from ten to one, breathing once per number. As you count down, imagine yourself walking or even floating down the stairs. In between breaths repeat statements like "I'm getting very relaxed," and "going deeper."
check.gif (911 bytes) Once you reach the count of "one" (and the bottom of the steps), let your mind wander for a minute or two. Then begin focusing on the affirmations and goals you have created for yourself. Don't be concerned if you don't immediately see anything. You may only see cloudy or fleeting images. That's okay. With practice your visualizations will become more vivid.
check.gif (911 bytes) Focus on controlling the images, however faint they may be. If you have set a goal to quit smoking by the end of March, see yourself throwing all your cigarettes and ashtrays away on March 31. Try visualizing a package of cigarettes, then make it "explode." Visualize your lungs as very clean and healthy. Visualize socializing with non-smokers. Visualize yourself effortlessly running a marathon. Visualize your friends and loved ones honoring you at a quit-smoking banquet. Create your visualizations from the goals and affirmations you have written down.

By Fred H. Kelley

Copyright 1997 Fred H. Kelley
Email: fredk@quitsmoking.com
Web: http://www.quitsmoking.com

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