~Paul McKenna, PhD
Born in 1963 in England, Paul McKenna is a hypnotist and self-improvement author who has written a host of books aimed at helping people overcome problems with issues like weight control, finances, self-esteem and smoking.
Mr. McKenna never smoked, but lost an uncle prematurely to a smoking-related disease. His father was a smoker who quit successfully and as of this writing, is living a healthy, smoke-free life.
Quit Smoking Today Without Gaining Weight - The Book
From the introduction by Mr. McKenna to the final thoughts he offers at the end of the 7 sessions included in the book(plus bonus weight loss session), he teaches us how our minds work and offers simple techniques to reprogram and correct behaviors that don't serve us.
The Process of GeneralizationMr. McKenna refers to generalization as a learning principle employed by our minds. Once we learn a new skill or create an association, our minds generalize about it, telling us that it is true for all things, even though it might not be. He uses the example of learning how to open a door, saying that once learned, our minds generalize the technique to be true for all doors. In practical terms, this allows us to learn and move on. Without the ability to generalize, we'd be stuck learning the same thing over and over.
As smokers, we quickly learn to associate stress with smoking. Physically, our bodies are stressed because of smoking. When the nicotine level in the blood drops, it makes us feel anxious, and when it's topped off with a cigarette, we're relieved. This is addiction to a drug, but the mind generalizes the association to mean that smoking = stress relief.
Emotionally, we learn to use smoking to control our feelings. We smoke when we're angry, sad, happy, and so on. Over time, the generalization becomes powerfully ingrained that cigarettes help us cope, again reinforcing the idea that smoking = stress relief.
7 Programming Sessions
By changing how we respond to stress, and what we associate with stress, we can, with practice, reprogram ourselves to automatically react to stress with healthy choices. At the same time, we can teach our minds to automatically respond negatively to smoking.
Periodically, Mr. McKenna offers what I think of as troubleshooting advice for those of us who are not having success with the techniques offered in the book. They are helpful checkpoints that add to the usefulness of this quit smoking primer.
Quit Smoking Today Without Gaining Weight - The CDA guided hypnosis CD is included with Quit Smoking Today Without Gaining Weight. Paul McKenna's voice soothes and relaxes, taking the listener into a state of self-hypnosis quite easily.
Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight is engaging and a quick read. The visualizations provided are easy to follow and are useful in changing the destructive relationship we all had with smoking. The cd is a valuable companion for the book, reinforcing the path to creating new associations with smoking that, if used faithfully, can help readers kick tobacco to the curb for good.
Paul Mckenna's book would benefit from a mention about the importance of including some support in a person's quit program.
As a former smoker who found the key to long-term release from nicotine addiction through an online support forum, I know how critical it is to have a group of like-minded people in your corner as you move through smoking cessation. I found the change of mindset that Paul teaches in this way, and know that for those who are trying to quit smoking, support will solidify the concepts he shares.
A word about smoking cessation and weight gain...
With the exception of a few remarks throughout the book, the topic of avoiding weight gain while quitting tobacco is not tackled until readers reach the bonus weight loss session at the end.
If you want to change your life, change your mind.
As someone who knows how critical a change of attitude is for lasting freedom from nicotine addiction, I fully endorse Paul McKenna's approach to smoking cessation. His guided visualizations and audio cd are solid tools that, along with the support mentioned above, can yield a change of perspective that will transform the reader's relationship with smoking.
True Freedom is a State of MindSmoking cessation is not out of reach for any of us. If you have a strong desire to quit, Mr. McKenna's book will help to fuel that fire within you.
Remember: Once you change what cigarettes mean to you, you can truly leave them behind and move forward with your life, happily smoke-free.