wikiHow to Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

Two Parts:Preparing to Perform Self-HypnosisPracticing Self-Hypnosis

Quitting smoking can be incredibly difficult, but it’s a good decision for your health. If you have tried other methods to stop smoking and they haven’t worked, self-hypnosis could be an option for you. Some people respond to hypnotic suggestion and some don’t, but hypnosis may be able to help you relax, manage anxiety, and kick your smoking habit for good.

Part 1
Preparing to Perform Self-Hypnosis

  1. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 1
    Understand how hypnosis works. Unlike the myths in popular culture, hypnosis doesn’t render you unconscious, and you cannot be forced to do anything against your will while under hypnosis.
    • Hypnosis first encourages you to relax. Relaxation is often achieved by deep breathing and visualization exercises. If a trained hypnotherapist is helping you, they may speak very softly and slowly to you. If you are on your own, you may find a hypnosis CD or soundtrack with relaxing noises helpful.[1]
    • Once relaxed, hypnosis provides statements and suggestions to help you change your behavior. It is thought that the hypnotic state makes you more receptive to embracing suggestions.[2]
    • Hypnosis helps you achieve focus. While in a hypnotic state, ideally you will focus only on the goal that you want to accomplish. This enhanced focus can help you accept the suggestions and prepare you to work for your goal.[3]
  2. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 2
    Explore your own mental state. Hypnosis can’t make you do something you don’t want to do. It cannot give you a “secret password” that makes you never want to smoke again. It can, however, help you focus, concentrate, and change your behaviors.
    • Hypnosis works best for people who are suggestible. If your personality is very resistant to new ideas or changes, or if you find it difficult to suspend disbelief, hypnosis may not be a good fit for you.
    • Hypnosis relies on your own belief that the treatment will work. Hypnosis will only help you make changes that you actually want to make.[4] For self-hypnosis to help you, you must be committed to quitting smoking.
  3. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 3
    Find a quiet, private space to practice self-hypnosis. Ideally, it should be free of all distractions: no TV, no cell-phones, no other people. You should feel comfortable and relaxed in this location.
    • If you can, avoid lying on a bed, as you may end up falling asleep instead of entering a hypnotic state. A comfortable chair or recliner may be more helpful to keep you relaxed but awake.
  4. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 4
    Create affirmations for yourself. Hypnosis may be more effective if the suggestions you use are direct statements, rather than abstract questions. Rather than asking yourself something like “Why do I smoke?” consider using statements such as “Smoking harms me. I do not want to harm myself.”[5] Write them down and keep them.
    • Try to keep your affirmations reasonable. A statement such as “It will be easy to quit smoking” or “I will never want to smoke again” may not be very effective. Instead, consider something like “I respect my body and will not damage it by smoking.”[6]
    • Affirmations that are phrased in the present tense, such as “I do not want to smoke,” may be more helpful to you as they keep your attention on what is happening at the present moment.
  5. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 5
    Accept that self-hypnosis may take some time. Most people are not immediately skilled at self-hypnosis. Even if the technique does work for you, it may take quite some time for you to become fully comfortable practicing self-hypnosis. Stay patient with yourself and keep trying.
  6. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 6
    Commit to consistency. While some people can stop smoking after only one session with a clinical hypnotist, for most people it may take several sessions for the technique to work.[7] This is doubly true if you are practicing self-hypnosis, as you may need to experiment and practice before you are able to effectively use it.
  7. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 7
    Understand when to see a professional. While many people have found self-hypnosis useful for helping them quit smoking, it may not work for everyone. Sometimes, seeing a trained clinical hypnotherapist can help even if self-hypnosis has not worked for you.
    • The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis maintains a database of certified professional hypnotherapists. It is highly recommended that you visit a professional, as clinical hypnosis requires training to be administered safely and effectively.

Part 2
Practicing Self-Hypnosis

  1. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 8
    Prepare yourself for self-hypnosis. Go to the private, quiet space you previously identified. Sit and make yourself comfortable.
    • Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Wear comfortable clothing, don’t eat a heavy meal just beforehand, and schedule your self-hypnosis at a time when you know you’re unlikely to be interrupted.[8] If you live with others, ask them not to disturb you for a little while.
  2. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 9
    Focus your attention on a particular spot in the room. This should preferably be a wall or a ceiling that does not have distracting details. Take long, deep, slow breaths, breathing in through your nostrils and breathing out through your mouth.
  3. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 10
    Think about feeling tired and heavy. Silently repeat to yourself that your eyes want to close, and that you want to relax. Close your eyes. Keep breathing deeply.
  4. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 11
    Relax your body. We often hold a lot of tension in our bodies that we’re not even aware of. Allow your body to completely relax, becoming loose and heavy in the chair.
    • Continue to breathe deeply, allowing your attention to focus on the movement of your chest, lungs, and diaphragm.
    • If you have trouble relaxing, simply continue your deep breathing and try not to focus too much on the fact that you’re having trouble. The more you focus on not relaxing, the more stressed you may become.
  5. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 12
    Repeat your affirmations to yourself. Use a soothing, soft tone of voice as you repeat your affirmations. Don’t be harsh or angry toward yourself. Hypnosis is more likely to work if you are positive about the process.
  6. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 13
    Visualize an image that represents your goal. This image should be positive and represent you achieving your objective. Perhaps you could visualize yourself running a marathon without running out of breath, or perhaps you could picture yourself surrounded by your friends and family who are proud of your achievement.
    • While focusing on this visualization, repeat your affirmations to yourself. Continue this for about 30 seconds.
  7. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 14
    Return from the hypnotic state. Once you have completed your affirmations, tell yourself that you are coming out of your relaxed state. You are becoming light and energetic, and returning to your surroundings. Count from 1 to 5, then open your eyes. Stretch and take a few deep breaths.
  8. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 15
    Repeat this process consistently. Ideally, you will be able to practice self-hypnosis every day. Even if that isn’t possible, try to be consistent with your sessions and practice at least a few times a week.
  9. Image titled Use Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Step 16
    Remain patient with yourself. You may experience some difficulty with self-hypnosis techniques at first. You may even find that self-hypnosis is not effective for you to stop smoking. Be accepting and kind toward yourself, and don’t focus on the negative.


  • About 25% of people are simply not hypnotizable.[9] If self-hypnosis or even clinical hypnosis does not work for you, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
  • If you are still struggling with self-hypnosis, you may find it helpful to see a professional hypnotherapist. They can instruct you in self-hypnosis techniques.
  • Hypnosis is not a magic act. You will not lose control of your mind under hypnosis. Hypnosis is most effective when performed by trained clinical professionals.[10]


  • There is still significant medical debate over the effectiveness of self-hypnosis to quit smoking. It is probably best to combine self-hypnosis with other smoking cessation techniques.

Article Info

Categories: Hypnosis | Smoking Addictions