ted@quitsmokingtoronto.ca
Quick Call: 905-203-1722
Serving Clients: Online, Video, Skype, Zoom, or in Person
Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Cigarettes

Can’t stop thinking about cigarettes? Are you one of those people that even if you’ve quit for a week or even for three or four months you cannot stop thinking about cigarettes? You wake up in the morning thinking about cigarettes. You go to bed at night thinking about cigarettes. You have cigarettes on your mind. If that’s you this post is for you. We are going to explain what is going on in our minds and if you read to the end we will explain the only two ways that we have in neuroscience to actually stop this from happening for the rest of your life. If this post is helpful to you please follow my work.  Join my YouTube channel, subscribe, like, and share. Be sure to hit the notification button. We put two new videos on YouTube every week about how to quit smoking, and it will notify you when we post them. Join my Facebook page, and join my Instagram.

Now, let’s hop right in. The question is how do smokers like you quit with no cravings, no withdrawal, and never ever have a single drag-drop or puff of a cigarette again. That is the question. I’m here to give you the answers. My name is Ted Bradley welcome to my blog.

To understand our cravings we have to understand the neuroscience behind them. One of the ways that we look at the brain is we divide it into three parts. There aren’t three parts. You only have one mind. It just has explanatory power. We have conscious thoughts, and we have unconscious thoughts, and they’re separated by something called the critical faculty. For those of you that haven’t seen my previous posts or have not done my program we know what the unconscious mind does the conscious mind cannot do, and we know what the conscious mind does the unconscious mind cannot do.

The conscious mind

  • Is your thinking thing.
  • Makes decisions.

The unconscious mind contains

  • Habit.
  • Memories.
  • Emotions.
  • Imagination.

I just want to remind you of a very important thing. If you have cigarettes on your brain and you can get it off you’ve got a habit. Habit is right here in our unconscious mind. I just want you to remember that. Hold on to that, because I’m going to refer to it over and over again. Habit is a factor of the unconscious mind. It’s an unconscious thought process. What is going on with these constant thoughts is really simple. It’s a concept in neuroscience called association. That’s what’s going on.

What do I mean by “association? There’s a lot of definitions that are very technical in neuroscience. I’ve broken it all down so we can just really understand in regards to smoking and association. So association defined is really just what we call rutted or grooved thinking. What does that mean? Well, it means the tendencies we have. Our mind creates neurological pathways and we tend to re-walk these same pathways over and over again. This is what habit is.

Habit is something we do over and over again, repeatedly. It creates grooved thinking. So where this most usually occurs with our memories is with our emotions. I need to explain this one just a little bit. This is how your brain works. Remember in the bullet points what was in the unconscious mind – habit, memories, emotions, imagination. These are all unconscious thoughts. All of this happens at an unconscious level. Your conscious mind, the thinking thing, has zero memory. It is incapable of the memory. It can’t recall anything. That all comes from your unconscious mind. That’s where memories are.

So how does this work? I’ll give you a really simple example. You are driving down the road and you get out of a car. Let’s say you’re with a parent now and let’s say that you get in a huge fight with your parent. You’re a young child and your parent spanks you and accidentally pushes you into a rose garden. What our brain does is it stores all of our memories, but it also stores with it all of the emotion and all of these other things. It stores all the senses, the pain, and the trauma, all that experience it stores together and it associates them together. So, what can happen is ten years later you’re driving down the road with a partner and you drive by a rose garden you smell roses. Suddenly, you’re just in a bad mood for some reason, and you don’t even know why. What happened was your memory went to store the smell of roses in the unconscious mind, and the unconscious mind pulled out the smell of roses that you had associated with that traumatic experience. It just kind of throws up, but it doesn’t raise to the level of your conscious mind anything other than the emotion or the feeling. You just feel it. That’s how our brain works. That’s rutted thinking or association.

Association is strongest when stored as a habit or trauma. It clumps it together and kind of gets all glued together. The whole purpose of dreaming and REM sleep is to pull all that out and reorganize it. That’s why sometimes our dreams are very vivid, or we have nightmares where we have strong emotions. Our brain is trying to reorganize those memories in a more efficient way. It is often not successful, but it is always trying.

So, association is strongest where we have a habit or trauma. What do we know about smoking? It’s more habit than addiction or anything else. We’re going to come back to that in a moment. The brain basically uses association for shortcuts. It’s about efficiencies. One of the reasons why we’re so successful as a species is that we create associations so we can do things that we need to continue to do repeatedly over, over, and over again. It’s basically a shortcut.

Association acts as an anchor. It’s something for our mind to get itself around. That’s how it works when we create an association through habit or through trauma. We make it very strong like an anchor and our brain can always latch onto it or find it.

Association is automatic. You cannot help but do association. Your brain does association all the time. You do it unconsciously. It is so hardwired into us.

I’m going to give you an example of how association is so hardwired into your brain that you cannot help but do it. You just do it automatically.

  • Do NOT Read This Message.

You may notice I wrote above here, “Do not read this message.”

You read it. That’s how our brain works it. It does that because we have an association between words and reading it just becomes automatically. Association, there’s no way around it is essentially the point.

So, let’s talk about specifically about smoking and association. I have a list. Some of the items on this list may apply to you they may not. The question is what percentage of these things apply to you as a smoker?

Do you smoke

  • Upon waking with coffee
  • While driving
  • On breaks
  • While walking
  • Before meals
  • During meals
  • After meals
  • When drinking
  • When watching TV
  • After sex
  • When out and about
  • When reading
  • At one of those social events
  • On the phone
  • Before bed
  • Going outside
  • Going inside
  • When you’re on the computer
  • When you’re playing games
  • When you’re walking the dog
  • Watching sports
  • Relaxing
  • When stressed (You can watch my video Smoking and Stress if you want to get more clarity around this issue.)

How many of these things do you do over and over again? Let’s think about how many cigarettes you smoke. The average person is 25. Some people smoke half a pack. Some people smoke two packs a day. That’s 40 or 50 cigarettes! You’re doing it Monday through Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Seven days a week. 365 days a year. You don’t take a week off from smoking unless you’re trying to quit, and you do it typically at the same time every day. You get in your car and you just reach for a cigarette. You have a drink, a beer with a friend, and you just reach for a cigarette. These are things that we do over and over again.

So think about this, really think about this. You’re smoking 25 cigarettes a day on average. How many cigarettes do you really enjoy and I mean really enjoy? When you’re taking a drag you go, “Oh! This cigarette is so good!” How many? Most people will say 2 or 3 of 25 cigarettes. Most cigarettes we’re smoking simply because we have an association or a habit.

The reason why you can’t stop thinking about a cigarette even after you quit for 3 months is because you have given yourself a habit and an association over and over again. Every time you do one of these things your brain automatically, even if you consciously don’t want to, just thinks of a cigarette. That’s why you’re thinking of a cigarette. It’s just association. It’s really that simple. That’s it.

So, I promised you if you stayed to the end we would talk about the only known ways in neuroscience that we can actually change these associations. Here it is. The simplest way to explain this is you have to change your mind. You have to change your unconscious mind. That is really what has to happen at a neurological level.

You have to break up and change these associations. There’s only two known ways. One is called fractionation.

Fractionation is a technique that we use in my program. I did not pioneer this technique. I’m literally standing on the shoulders of giants. Other people have done this, but it’s one of the key things to hypnosis.

You cannot get rid of any memory. It’s law. It’s in your brain forever. These associations have over time created memories of smoking and drinking coffee for example or smoking and socializing over and over repeatedly. It’s become a habit.

To change a habit can take anywhere from three months to a year by doing something else repetitively over and over and over. So what we do in fractionation to speed that process up is we go in and we chop it up. We chop up the association because we can’t get rid of it, but we can use hypnosis to bring an unconscious mind fork in and chop it up.

Why is that useful? It’s useful because when you get the trigger – you’re drinking your coffee -we’ve chopped the association up, and the brain goes to turn around (just like in the example of roses) and pull out that the big mass of all the trauma and the habit it only can pull out a piece of it. So, now it acts like an echo. You’re drinking your coffee. You get half way through and you think yourself, “Oh, wait a minute. I’m usually having a cigarette at this point.” and that’s it.

It’s like an echo. It fades. That’s what we do in hypnosis.

If you don’t do the hypnosis, or you don’t deal with it using an actual technique like fractionation (When I say fractionation I just want to be really clear because I know there other hypnotists that read my content. I don’t mean hypnotic fractioning, where you put somebody in hypnotic trance and you pull them out. What I mean by fractionation is using hypnosis to take the association and to chop it up in the unconscious mind. That’s all I mean.) what happens is you turn around, and your mind just gets the little piece of it just like an echo, BUT you’re not planning on this big mass that goes, “Wait a minute. I’m used to smoking. Huh. Here’s this craving!” You have all those associations attached to it. You can’t deal all of those things.

Fractionation breaks it up so it doesn’t have that massive strong pull on you anymore. That’s one way. The other way is using your will.

People go cold turkey using their own willpower, and they just quit over time. They just sort of power through it. What are they really doing here is they are using time and repetition to build a habit. That is the most difficult way to quit smoking.

I know there’s tons of people that have quit smoking using willpower. It’s about 6% of people. They are real people, and they really did it. That’s 6% of people. Placebo is 12 %. I can give you a sugar pill, and you have a better chance of quitting smoking than somebody attempting to use willpower. That doesn’t mean don’t use willpower. Please, do. I’m just talking about how we do this effectively and how we make it easier for you. That’s really my point.

Those are the two ways you can use to chop up the association, which is what hypnosis is really good for. You can use hypnosis, or you can just will it yourself using time. You have to do it over and over again. It usually lasts a year. You have to keep on going every time you have a craving. You have to fight it constantly, day in, and day out. Time and repetition will change the association to a new association. That’s the hard way, and by all means, please, go that way, it is for sure the cheapest way, or what you can do is you can pay somebody like me to do my program to speed that process up for you so that it happens literally inside three hours. Those are your two choices. You can either will it yourself, or you can pay somebody to help you. It doesn’t have to be me, there’s lots of really good programs out there that will help you with these issues.

If you like this post, follow my work, subscribe to my youtube channel and click the notification button, join my Instagram, and join my Facebook page. I give away tons of useful information, and please comment below if you have questions. I am happy to answer any questions you have just comment in the comment section below. Thank you for reading.

Leave a Reply