Because I help people to quit smoking, I couldn’t help but notice seven smokers all in a row.
Recently when arriving back in my old hometown I drove past the regional hospital and I witnessed a curious sight. On an old brick fence out the front of the original entrance were seven hospital workers all smoking, sitting side by side in a row.
It looked like a scene from the 1970’s although I assume in those days they would have had the luxury of smoking in the hospital canteen or the nurses lunch room. The truly bizarre thing was that it was happening at all.
I suppose given there could be two hundred plus staff that seven weren’t many. In my years of helping smokers to quit I have worked with many nurses and some doctors, even those working in the cancer wards treating those who were there with lung cancer.
I suppose I realised that human behaviour isn’t always logical, sensible or rational, and often it isn’t. My clients have also included many personal trainers and yoga instructors and in the many decades I have trained and instructed martial arts it is still not uncommon for people to go outside for a smoke during a training break.
Smoking has always operated along side people’s efforts to be healthy and to help others. For most of the history of smoking it was not seen as a physical impediment to wellness. Of course we now know the truth about tobacco.
For those who embrace fitness and still smoke, obviously it is not good for them, but now there is a psychological price to pay.
This comes from maintaining a separation of parts, almost like two identities, one that looks in the mirror and sees a person who promotes a healthy life, and another who smokes and feels ashamed on some level of their own behaviour.
Those seven hospital staff would leave their old brick fence and return to the wards where they would again adopt the identity of a professional carer. All the while hoping that no one would uncover their guilty secret.
Some non smoking patients may notice and the smoking patients who are struggling with not being able to easily go outside to smoke would be certain to smell the smoke on their hair and clothes.
We all have our secrets and our multiple identities, but the good news is that using hypnosis that anytime a smoke wants to quit there is a successful pathway for them to do it.