Even those of us on the spiritual path have some neurological hiccups that result in addictive behaviours that can be corrected with some self-hypnosis.
For many people there is a niggling feeling of hopelessness, such as ‘Why can’t I quit smoking?’ or ‘Why can’t I stop overeating’ or ‘Why can’t I just drink normal amounts of alcohol like other people do?’ This addictive approach to life may dis-spirit you; however, it is in some way helping you.
On one hand there is a strong feeling of being connected and grounded to this earth and yet there always seems some niggling mortal irritation about your behaviour or how you respond to life.
This frustration ironically can create an anxiety that leads to addictions such as overeating, drug taking, drinking too much alcohol or smoking, when you know it is not helpful to your health and wellbeing.
The best made plans to give something up often drives the individual to want to do it more. This vicious cycle makes people feel despondent, along with a lack of willpower.
Looking at this behaviour from a positive aspect, the good news is that these addictive behaviours are signs of vulnerability that we all have from time to time.
The Neurological Scientists of this world now have enough evidence to prove that the brain creates neurological pathways which are commonly known as emotional habits. Irrespective of how long you have been overeating, over-drinking or smoking, your brain can create new neurological pathways very easily.
You could liken your brain to a tree with all the branches that have been growing with habits – some that are supportive and some that are not.
The unconscious mind is the part of the emotional part of the brain that manages these branches which signal when you are feeling any signs of vulnerability such as fear, boredom, anxiety, stress, sadness or depression. In a nano second these emotional feelings are triggered in the neurological pathway to find out how best to alleviate this feeling. If your brain registers this emotion with a past way of responding, such as binge eating or drinking, it will light up your brain with a message that this is how you should respond, even though your conscious mind doesn’t understand why you can’t just say no!
Being vulnerable is a normal emotion; however, if you have trained your brain to deal with life by using substances to run away from these feelings, then it won’t be long before it becomes a conditioned response because the neurological pathway has been created. It may appear that you have an addiction whereas the truth is that your pathway has just perfected an unhealthy response and habit.
With hypnosis you can re-train the brain to build new neurological pathways that reflect how you want to respond, rather than how you used to respond.
When you are in the hypnotic state you are in an emotionally heightened state of awareness. During this time, with the power of suggestion, the neurological pathways that you have created to protect you against vulnerability can create new pathways that support different responses.
Just simply by closing your eyes you naturally drift into a hypnotic state, which is the natural state that we all enter just before we go to sleep and in order for you to wake in the morning you need to go through the hypnotic state to wake. So at least twice a day you are hypnotising yourself. Some people refer to this state as the day dream state, where you are not conscious of where you are -such as not remembering the last 5 stops on the train or when you recognise you have reached your destination without remembering the whole journey. These are classic signs of self –hypnosis.
So, just by practising with your eyes closed, imagining using all of your senses, start seeing yourself calm and dealing with life better without the addictive substance as the answer. If you do this every day for a few weeks, your unconscious mind will learn that this is the response to life rather than drinking or overeating too much as a coping strategy. Your imagination and the positive sensations, once repeated on a regular basis, will take hold as the truth. In other words, the more you imagine these positive outcomes, the stronger they become, as your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. This means that you will be able to adjust your thinking so that you are feeling calmer so that you don’t need substances to relax you or to help you escape life!
It doesn’t matter about your history or your family’s history with addictive behaviour; you can unlearn addictive habits and with a little bit of practice you can create new pathways that support what you consciously want to achieve.
I had a meeting with the Head of Addictions at The Priory in London some years ago, about my special work. When I asked the doctor what percentage of addictions he felt were emotionally based his answer was around 80%.
If you have an addictive nature it doesn’t mean that you will forever have an addictive nature, it simply means that you have created a neurological pathway in your brain that assumes addictive behaviour is how you deal with your life. It is often referred to as the ‘All or Nothing Syndrome.’ I would also suggest that this syndrome is driven by a strong Perfectionist personality and it is this aspect of the individual that needs to learn balance.
One of the main issues with the Perfectionist is that they are very good at doing things 100% and this includes over-indulging. Many people who buy my programmes consciously don’t understand why they repeat this continuous binge cycle of being really healthy, then going to the other end of the spectrum and becoming manic with their eating, drug taking or drinking.
This Perfectionist trait is the problem and with the aide of knowing that it is simply a trained brain function you can alter this driven personality to learn how to have a sense of balance, rather than being driven to ultimate expectations.
Another aspect of the Perfectionist personality is that being perfect can be exhausting! So it is no surprise that often when people are in this driven phase the only way to get away from trying to be perfect is to binge and over-indulge as a way to relax and unwind.
When you have a Perfectionist personality this produces stress chemicals, which signal vulnerability. This can be handled for a period of time; however, as soon as the substance of choice is consumed things get out of hand.
So, if you feel this is you, take 5 minutes out of your day for a few weeks, lie down or sit somewhere comfortable and just imagine using all of your senses to achieve some future outcomes that you want a positive experience from. It could be going to a party where you have already presumed you will drink too much. This is not the truth, but rather a Perfectionist assumption. Keep imagining seeing yourself pacing your drinking or chatting without a cigarette in your hand. It could be that you decide not to do that line of cocaine. See yourself coming home from the party feeling sober and remembering what you said and did during the night. See yourself waking up the next day, feeling proud that you paced yourself. Keep repeating this. The more you do this the stronger the neurological pathway will become, with the positive endorphins of calm within you.
Georgia Foster is a world renowned leader in the field of alcohol control, an international speaker, acclaimed author and the creator of the revolutionary ‘Drink Less Mind 21 Day Programme’. This proven, online self help discovery course gives you the tools to regain control over alcohol, drink less and start to enjoy your life more, using techniques Georgia has successfully taught over the last twenty years. For further information on Georgia and the Drink Less Mind, visit: www.HowToDrinkLess.com
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