Star hypnotherapist shares four secret tips for breaking habits

For the estimated 21 million Americans who suffer from an addiction, the New Year is the perfect time to kick bad habits.

But by now, just over a week into 2023, more than a fifth of people will have abandoned their resolution, and almost half will have failed by the end of the month.

But the stars’ hypnotherapist Max Kirsten has given four tips to get back on the horse.

Max has helped the likes of Tom Hardy, Ewan McGregor and Adele quit smoking, and rumor has it that even former British Prime Minister David Cameron has benefited from his services.

Max Kirsten (pictured) is a London based hypnotherapist who has treated many high profile British clients. His Quit Smoking NOW app helps cigarette users quit smoking and quit smoking permanently

Max Kirsten (pictured) is a London based hypnotherapist who has treated many high profile British clients. His Quit Smoking NOW app helps cigarette users quit smoking and quit smoking permanently

Mr. Kirsten – who used to smoke a pack a day himself – focuses primarily on helping people with nicotine addiction.

But smoking is more akin to other addictions than you might think, he says, and the tips and tricks he uses to stop people smoking apply to things like food, recreational drugs, or even social media.

Learn to love yourself… or just use breathing techniques

Mr. Kirsten says that at the root of many addictions is a discomfort with oneself.

A person who is not content will actively search for things that make them feel whole. In many cases, this can include nicotine, alcohol or even unhealthy foods.

Not feeling well can also lead to anxiety, a risk factor for many addictions. Users find solace in a substance and cling to it to balance themselves.

“If you’re comfortable, you don’t need much,” he explained.

This is where hypnotherapy can come into play. With repeated movements, images and sounds; a person can be brought into a more relaxed state.

It is believed that in this state of hypnosis, a person’s behavior can be altered and a therapist can implant thoughts into their brain.

Mr. Kirsten says he uses hypnosis to help a person find their “true self” and unlearn the harmful activities they engage in to avoid doing so.

He refers to the harmful behavior as being committed by a “stranger”.

The deep relaxation and better understanding of oneself helps relieve anxiety while dropping a person’s need to reach for substances.

Hypnosis can be achieved at home using therapy recordings that are easily found online on sites such as YouTube.

He has launched his own app Quit Smoking NOW, Mr. Kirsten gives users daily tips, tricks, a support group and information to help them quit smoking.

It is available on Android and iPhone.

Typical relaxation techniques that fall short of full-fledged hypnosis can also be valuable tools.

When someone struggling with addiction experiences cravings, Mr. Kirsten recommends they use his three-breath technique.

To perform this, simply hold your breath for eight seconds before slowly releasing it.

Repeat this two more times.

Cravings often only last about 60 seconds when managed properly, and this quick relaxation technique can help stave them off temporarily, according to Kirsten.

If this doesn’t work the first time, do it a few times and see how you feel.

Grammy-winning singer Adele (pictured) is among the high-profile clientele that Mr Kirsten has kicked cigarettes at

Golden Globe Award-winning actor Ewan McGregor (pictured) sought out Mr Kirsten to help him kick cigarettes

Grammy Award-winning singer Adele (left) and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Ewan McGregor (right) are among the high-profile clientele who helped Mr. Kirsten kick up cigarettes

better sleep

Better sleep allows you to be more relaxed throughout the day.

One of the reasons a person reaches for cigarettes, food, or any other substance is to relieve stress.

Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress in the body, builds up when a person doesn’t get enough sleep each night.

Reaching for an addictive substance can help relieve this stress, but sleep is also a more natural and healthful form of relief.

Mr. Kirsten says the “first few nights [of sleep after dropping an addiction] are interesting.’

This is because the withdrawal a person feels from not having their substance causes stress, but over time they will feel the relief from a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is a natural treatment for anxiety — which is often at the root of addiction — and is an important part of recovery from a substance use disorder.

Kirsten recommends general tips like avoiding screens like TVs, computers, and phones in the hours before bed, avoiding large meals before bed, and darkening the room as much as possible.

However, most people won’t be able to help themselves, and Mr. Kirsten recommends a separate breathing technique that can also help.

To do this, a person can slow their breathing down to just six breaths per minute – each breath lasting ten seconds.

The first three seconds of breath should come through your nose before exhaling for seven seconds.

Think of all the benefits of quitting

One of the first parts of quitting is understanding all the good that comes from it, says Mr. Kirsten.

He said patients could think about having more energy during the day, not smelling like cigarettes and improving their overall health.

People often look better and feel more confident when they rely on a substance to control themselves.

Healthier people also live longer, which means more time with family, friends, and other loved ones.

Other experts recommend taking 15 minutes each day to clear a person’s mind and reflect on what’s really important — and how great life outside of their addiction can be.

Visualization can be a real tool in achieving goals as it allows someone to see what their future might hold if they stick to their plan.

World mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor has even said that visualization has helped him throughout his glittering career.

Part of quitting, Kirsten says, is understanding that quitting one thing can help make everything else better.

“Above all, addiction is giving up everything for a cause,” he explained.

While this may seem obvious from the outside, it can be difficult to convince an addict that the rest of their life is more valuable than any substance.

With the help of counseling, hypnotherapy, and even support from loved ones like friends and family, a person can learn to truly understand the benefits of quitting and moving on from their addiction.

Learn how to socialize again

One of the final parts of overcoming an addiction is learning how to restructure a person’s social life away from the substance.

For many people, especially those who suffer from alcohol abuse, this can be difficult.

Bars often serve as a gathering place for lots of friends, and a boozy night out is a popular way to de-stress at the weekend.

Mr Kirsten says those hoping to break a bad habit should try to learn new activities that don’t lead to the use of alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs.

For example, move your after-work drink or weekly meeting with friends to a restaurant instead of a bar.

“Bars are more about drinking, restaurants are more about socializing,” he said.

Alcohol is also less likely to be involved during the day, and a person should aim to be active during the day if possible.

This includes going to the gym, playing sports, visiting museums, spending time in nature or other daily activities.

However, it can be difficult for a person who has previously struggled with substance abuse to find new friends willing to participate in these activities.

Mr. Kirsten said that finding friends who are also trying to overcome an addiction can be valuable for anyone recovering from an addiction. Star hypnotherapist shares four secret tips for breaking habits

Bradford Betz

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