Can Hypnosis Really Help You Quit Smoking?

The American Cancer Society doesn’t exactly recommend hypnosis as a reliable way to quit smoking. “For the most part, reviews that looked at controlled studies of hypnosis to help people quit smoking have not supported it as a quitting method that works,” it says on the ACS website. “Still, some people find it useful.”

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Hypnotist Rich Guzzi, 50, would argue a lot of people find it useful. A hypnotist of 30 years, he’s utterly convinced of the power of hypnosis as a method to quit (plus, celebrities like Matt DamonBen Affleck, andCourteney Cox have said hypnosis has helped them cut cigarettes).

Guzzi is even launching a tour on Nov. 21,, which happens to coincide with the ACS’s “Great American Smokeout,” and will travel around America, entertain audiences with his hypnosis show, and spread the word about this method for kicking the habit.

“You don’t even have to believe in hypnosis to make it work,” Guzzi says. “You just have to be willing to say, ‘I really want to quit smoking. Let me give this a shot.’ It’s worth trying.” Anyone who comes to one of Guzzi’s shows will get a free CD copy of his stop smoking program, he says. His goal is to help 100,000 people quit.

Guzzi spoke to Parade.com about how hypnosis works to help people kick the habit and what he says to skeptics.

How did you get into hypnosis?
“I was a comedian first. One day, I was doing a really terrible show—it was one of those tough nights where nothing’s going right. And I had learned hypnosis from reading a book when I was a kid, and I used to practice on my friends. During this bad show, I brought some people on stage, hypnotized them, and made them do goofy stuff. And then people started really laughing at it, and I thought, ‘I’m onto something here.’ So I kept on doing it, made it more elaborate, and as time went on, it really grew into something pretty good.”

Stop smoking with hypnosis LA Stephanie Voss Hypnotherapy Can Hypnosis Really Help You Quit Smoking?

So what training do you have in hypnosis?
“I went to school for it later on. I became a certified clinical hypnotherapist. I am trained formally, but most of the stuff I do now is my own techniques that I’ve learned over the years.”

How did you transition your hypnosis comedy show into helping people quit smoking?
“I realized that in my comedy shows, I could make the volunteers do pretty much anything with hypnosis as long as I made the scenario real enough. Hypnosis is actually so powerful that you can actually do what are called ‘post-hypnotic suggestions’ for people to do good in their lives after the hypnosis is over—to get people to lose weight, to stop smoking, reduce the stress in their life, and maybe cure some fears and phobias. Eventually, the show evolved into not being a comedy show anymore. After the shows, people would come up and tell me they want to try it, so I’d be hypnotizing people at the bar and helping them quit smoking and lose weight.”

What motivates you to help people quit smoking?
“When I was a kid, my dad was a car mechanic, and he taught me how to be a car mechanic as well. I thought I was going to go into the family business. But my dad was a smoker. He was an old-school guy and he had some bad habits. My dad was my hero—we were like two peas in a pod. And he was never sick; he was always a healthy guy. And then one day, he said, ‘Man, I’m not feeling so great.’ It started to get really bad—he was sweating; he was in bad shape. We got in the car to go to the hospital, but we never even make it to the hospital. It was New York traffic at five o’clock in the afternoon—and he died right in the car.

 Can Hypnosis Really Help You Quit Smoking?

“It was a brutal experience. I was 20 years old. It was life-altering. I didn’t want to do the car stuff anymore. And that’s why I turned to comedy; to get me out of the funk. It was almost like my therapy. Now I’m in a position to help a lot of people, and I still dedicate every show to my dad, every night. This is a way for me to give back.”

Many people don’t believe hypnosis works. How do you deal with those perceptions?
“Hypnosis is almost like a dirty word, like it’s a card trick. There are still a lot of people who don’t accept it or don’t believe in it. And I know I’m partly at fault for that for doing hypnosis shows in comedy venues. But I see the people I help every night at my shows.”

So what do you say to the skeptics?
“Believe it or not, I turn skeptics around and make them my biggest fans. What happens is that we have fans that come to the show, and they’ll bring their friends. And some of the friends think it’s nonsense. They’ll come to the show, and the skeptic thinks, ‘He probably knows all these people.’ So they come back the next night to see if they use all the same people—and of course, it’s different people because I always use volunteers. So the guy goes, ‘I’m coming back a third time, and I’m going on stage, and I’ll find out it’s fake.’ So he goes on stage and he gets hypnotized, he wakes up an hour and a half later and doesn’t remember anything, and goes, ‘Holy mackerel, this is real!’ Then he brings his friends the next night, and the cycle keeps continuing.”

And that happens often?
“It happens all the time, it’s so cliche at this point. That’s how my fan base has been built up, from all the skeptics saying, ‘This can’t be real so I’m going to try to debunk it.’”

smokefree Can Hypnosis Really Help You Quit Smoking?

How does your quitting smoking hypnosis program work?
“A person who smokes erroneously puts files in their subconscious mind next to each other that are wrong—like if they have a cup of coffee, they have to have a cigarette, or if they had a great meal, they have to have a cigarette. They’ve associated pleasurable experiences with the habit of smoking. I go into the subconscious mind and put in the files that are supposed to be there—that smoking can make your clothes smell bad, give you nasty breath, cost you a lot of money, and hurt yourself. By putting those new thought processes into your subconscious mind, you don’t smoke anymore, because your subconscious mind will be in unison with your conscious mind.”

It sounds like this is pretty rewarding for you.
“I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. If I can put hypnosis on the map as not just a carnival trick and something that’s really good that people should be using, I guess I did my job for the day.”

Hypnotist Marc Savard — from nearly fatal car crash to entertaining Strip audiences

It’s difficult to believe that adults can act like silly children onstage at hypnotist Marc Savard’s nightly shows at V Theater in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Smart women “go under” and become stripper-pole experts. Well-dressed businessmen wind up playing amorous porn stars with inflatable blow-up dolls. Who would imagine a 300-pound volunteer becoming a “Riverdance” genius or people fearing a belt has become a poisonous snake?

photos marc 2 Hypnotist Marc Savard — from nearly fatal car crash to entertaining Strip audiences

These are not “plants.” These are not people on Marc’s payroll. They are volunteers, 30 of them at a time, from the audience who undergo a series of Marc’s hypnotic pre-trials until he whittles them down to eight subjects he believes will perform. The results are hysterical, and it’s a different eight every time as proven here in his YouTube videos.

This is the funny side of Marc, but he also is able to use his hypnotic skills to help people lose weight, stop smoking and build self-confidence.

He’s known as one of the world’s youngest professional hypnotists, but, at age 22, he fought for his life after being hit head on by a drunken driver, causing a broken back and a fractured skull. Doctors were baffled that he used the power of his mind instead of medication and how once almost given up for dead made a rapid and complete recovery.

After watching Marc, who served as MC of the most recent and third “Showbiz Roast, of the Quad headliner Frank Marino at the Stratosphere, perform his hypnotist act, I am still baffled as to how he pulls off what he does. I talked with him the next day after watching and laughing out loud at the show about his career and what I saw that mystified me.

How on earth did you know that you wanted to be a hypnotist?

I wish my answer was exciting, like I was hit by lightening or something, but that’s just not the case. It happened by accident, to be honest. I was trying to get into med school, and I was at the University of Alberta. I saw a hypnotist show at a nightclub and was fascinated how someone could use the power of words to influence someone else’s behavior. It seemed almost magical to me. I didn’t understand it, so I started doing my own research on it.

80853 7e8ad57ee4c7408284fb3082b110838b Hypnotist Marc Savard — from nearly fatal car crash to entertaining Strip audiences

My friends got wind of it and asked me to hypnotize them; I did, and it worked. From there it became a hobby. I never wanted to get into it as a career. People would ask me to do a little show at their house. So I did six shows the first year, 52 the next year and 115 the year after that. At that point, I decided to get business cards printed and call my parents and say, “Your son is not going to be a doctor; he’s going to be a freak show, sideshow variety entertainer.”

They were not impressed with that news, obviously, so they urged me to get something more solid under my belt. I went for hypnotherapy training, and that’s to do private sessions like to stop smoking, weight loss or seminar work. The rest, as they say, is history, and here we are 20 years later, my 20th year doing hypnosis.

And how many years in Las Vegas?

I’ve been living here 10 1/2 years, but I’ve been performing seven complete years in February.

My image of a hypnotist, and you have a hint of it in your show-opening imagery, is of the elderly grandfather figure waving a pocket watch in front of your eyes until you fall asleep. You don’t do any of that, though?

No, and that’s kind of the misconception of hypnosis. Two things cause people to go into hypnosis — fatigue or overload of the nervous system. Hypnosis happens not necessarily in the brain, per se, but the mind of the nervous system together. It mostly flies between the awaken state and the sleep state. So it has characteristics of being fully awake, yet characteristics of the dreaming capability. It can kind of resemble sleepwalking. People are fully able to handle a series of tasks and have no idea that they did any of it. The dreaming mind, or subconscious mind, handles those activities.

marc savard comedy hypnosis 766 Hypnotist Marc Savard — from nearly fatal car crash to entertaining Strip audiences

What I’m trying to do as a hypnotist is lessen their consciousness activity and increase their subconscious activity. That can happen when you’re watching a movie. When you’re watching it and it becomes so emotional that you start crying with the character; well, you’re not in that character’s life, and you’re not in the movie, but you can sustain reality for a short period of time and become involved from the subconscious mind.

There are many ways to get to that; when someone goes into shock in a car crash, they, too, are able to maybe walk on a broken leg by shutting off the conscious stimulus and allow the subconscious mind to use pain control to bring themselves to safety. For example, my wife Joanna delivering all four of our babies, including our newest 2-month old Lorelle, using hypnosis by tapping into her own body chemicals by using a state of hypnosis and relaxation.

There are many ways to get there. The pocket watch is just a classic focus point. Really with hypnosis all I’m trying to do is get them so focused on an idea that the idea becomes the reality for that given time. Hypnosis is portrayed by Hollywood to be complete mind control, but it’s not. I don’t control anything; I put them in a dream state where I can control that dream.

Now if I asked them to go and kill somebody, they would wake up from hypnosis. They wouldn’t do anything against their moral belief system. Now is dancing on a stripper pole against your moral belief system? Not really, but if they were getting naked, some wouldn’t do it. Other people would because that’s just their personality. Everyone has their own personal set of rules.

That was like a layman’s technical explanation of what it is and what happens, but, in the end, it’s still entertainment, isn’t it?

Right, and ultimately hypnosis is very similar to alcohol in a performance sense because what hypnosis does is it takes away inhibitions and really allows the person onstage to be their truest personality without consequence. The people onstage who are hypnotized could absolutely care less what the audience thinks.

Because they’re in this semi zone of not awake but not asleep.

Right. Almost in a dreamlike state where reality doesn’t really matter.

So I watched the snake routine on YouTube before I came to actually see it for myself. It’s so hard for me to wrap my belief around the people who think that a belt was a snake and be scared out of their brains.

Think of it this way: Let’s pretend that there are 10 people onstage who are hypnotized. Let’s use a scale of measurement-like picture: a weight scale. The weight scale right now is conscience vs. subconscious. You’re in a state right now of 98 percent conscious and 2 percent subconscious.

0315kissarrivals33 t653 Hypnotist Marc Savard — from nearly fatal car crash to entertaining Strip audiences

We’re having this conversation, it’s an analytical conversation, it’s very coherent with the ideas we’re talking about. Now the moment you get tired or emotional or relaxed or get into the zone, the conscious weight starts to lift a little bit, and the subconscious starts to come up, and, all of a sudden, let’s say you’re 70 percent conscious and 30 percent subconscious.

You’re emotional, watching a movie, getting engaged, etc. As that begins to change more and more, you fall into sleep, this dreaming; then when you hit the snooze button in the morning, you get that 9 minutes of snoozing, that’s when you have the craziest dreams. You’re kind of in it, you’re kind of not. You’re dreaming and then all of a sudden there’s a phone ringing in your dreams, but you realize all of a sudden you wake up, and it’s your phone on the night table that came into your dream and became a part of it.

That’s the closest real connection I can say to someone who hasn’t been hypnotized. Now here’s my point: At one point when it becomes 51 percent subconscious and 49 percent conscious, that’s when hypnosis begins to happen. Now out of 10 people onstage, three or four may be 70 percent subconscious, and their conscious mind is about 30 percent active. They’re kind of aware of what’s happening, they’re not really sure what’s happening, weird things are going on, they’re a little puzzled, they’re relaxed and delayed, whereas three or four people would be 90 percent subconscious and 10 percent conscious where they’re completely out of it.

Then there are one or two people who are 100 percent subconscious and have no idea what’s happened and have no clue where they are. They actually think it’s 100 percent happening. So when I bring 30 people up onstage, I’m narrowing it down to the people who are the highest ratio of subconscious vs. conscious.

So to answer your question with the snake, I’ve now narrowed it down to the best 10 who have these types of characteristics. Out of the group of 10 you saw, three or four were super, super hypnotized. Another three or four were pretty good, and there were one or two who were a bit lighter, but they’re still in that state.

When I make the sound with the snake, a very small percentage of people will actually hallucinate and see the belt turn into a snake. You’ll hear them after the show describe it. They’ll even say what color it was. The majority of people won’t see it visually, but they will still experience all of the emotions. You’ll hear them talking after the show, “I knew it was a belt, but I couldn’t stop my heart from racing and jumping back.”

The best way to describe that from an audience perspective is when you were watching it, their reactions are totally spontaneous. When I hiss, they all jump back immediately. How do you practice that? How do you think that? How do you time that? You can’t. That’s what shows the true power of what’s truly happening onstage.

You have the stripper pole and snake experiences; what’s another one that gets a great reaction from audiences?

The blow-up dolls on the stage, but we don’t post those on YouTube just because we respect them. If he’s a principal at a school, I don’t want him to lose his job because a video suddenly surfaces. We’re very careful about what we put on YouTube. I change the routines depending on the night.

A couple of months ago, I had a young guy come up, a war vet. He had an amputated leg, and during the warm-up routine when they play in an orchestra, he pops his leg off and starts playing his leg as a trumpet! I had never seen anything like that in my life. Then during the “Riverdance” number, his leg fell off!

Every night, you never know what you’re going to get from the audience. Another example is the backside pinching one. I shake the girl’s hand, and she thinks the person next to her is pinching her tush. So last night, I did it to a lady and normally when I move her, she thinks the person next to her did it. Well this lady wouldn’t let it go. She thought it was the first guy! So every time I would shake her hand, she would blame him even though he wasn’t anywhere near her. She would say, “I don’t know how he did it; it was him!”

Do you ever have nightmares that you bring 30 people up, and they all become duds?

Nope. To be honest, I’ve never had an issue where I couldn’t get anyone hypnotized because it is a natural state of consciousness. If you can sleep and dream, you can be hypnotized. It’s shocking that when I say who wants to participate, they swarm to the stage. They just swarm up there.

I shake my head sometimes about people ever volunteering for a show like this. Maybe with the popularity of “American Idol,” reality TV shows, “America’s Got Talent,” people will do anything to get onstage and let their inhibitions go.

When I write this, is it easier to explain that you are a navigator who takes people into a very natural state that you can have fun with?

I think that’s a great analogy. Hypnosis is such a terrible word. The Hypnos comes from the Greek goddess of sleep. These people aren’t sleeping; it’s a meditative state.

Is it true that every person can be hypnotized?

Yes, but in certain social environments. For example, Uncle Frank can be an attorney at a firm where he’s trying to make partner, and they’ve hired me for their Christmas party. They send him up onstage. He’s afraid of what he’s going to say, he doesn’t want to say anything that’s going to hurt his chances, he doesn’t want to insult the partners, he doesn’t want to do something too embarrassing, he can’t relax. He doesn’t enter the state of hypnosis very well.

A week later, they hire me for his family reunion, and now he’s Uncle Frank with a lampshade on his head who could care less about the things that we make him do while hypnotized.

Have you ever hypnotized yourself?

I have. I was in a car crash when I was 22. I broke my back, fractured my skull, and brain fluid leaked out of my nose. I got hit by a drunken driver and am very fortunate to be alive. I did all natural healing; I had just gotten out of that hypnosis training. It was that moment in my life where I could prove it or not.

Instead of teaching people about the power of the mind, here was an opportunity to use it. It was the time. I did all natural healing with no medication whatsoever and sort of became my own personal success story. I spoke about it a lot in high schools. I would tour around speaking about drinking and driving and the power of the mind and how I healed myself.

It’s a major part of my life and my wife’s life, and we’re implementing it into our children’s lives. I don’t hypnotize you; I bring hypnosis out of you. It’s an internal process.

Check out MarcSavard.com for Marc’s YouTube videos. His comedy hypnosis show plays every day except Fridays in V Theater. It features adult humor, so the audience must be ages 18 and older.

Heal your body on command

Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle

There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.

In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a “paradigm shift” in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out “reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems”, used by psychiatry.

Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.

“On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,” Johnstone said. The provocative statement by the DCP has been timed to come out shortly before the release of DSM-5, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The manual has been attacked for expanding the range of mental health issues that are classified as disorders. For example, the fifth edition of the book, the first for two decades, will classify manifestations of grief, temper tantrums and worrying about physical ill-health as the mental illnesses of major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and somatic symptom disorder, respectively.

Some of the manual’s omissions are just as controversial as the manual’s inclusions. The term “Asperger’s disorder” will not appear in the new manual, and instead its symptoms will come under the newly added “autism spectrum disorder”.

The DSM is used in a number of countries to varying degrees. Britain uses an alternative manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organisation, but the DSM is still hugely influential – and controversial.

The writer Oliver James, who trained as a clinical psychologist, welcomed the DCP’s decision to speak out against psychiatric diagnosis and stressed the need to move away from a biomedical model of mental distress to one that examined societal and personal factors.

Writing in today’s Observer, James declares: “We need fundamental changes in how our society is organised to give parents the best chance of meeting the needs of children and to prevent the amount of adult adversity.”

But Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and chair of psychological medicine at King’s College London, said it was wrong to suggest psychiatry was focused only on the biological causes of mental distress. And in an accompanying Observer article he defends the need to create classification systems for mental disorder.

“A classification system is like a map,” Wessely explains. “And just as any map is only provisional, ready to be changed as the landscape changes, so does classification.”

How To Stop Smoking
Hypnosis To Quit Smoking

Deductive Reasoning vs. Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a basic form of valid reasoning. Deductive reasoning, or deduction, starts out with a general statement, or hypothesis, and examines the possibilities to reach a specific, logical conclusion. The scientific method uses deduction to test hypotheses and theories.

In deductive reasoning, if something is true of a class of things in general, it is also true for all members of that class. For example, “All men are mortal. Harold is a man. Therefore, Harold is mortal.” For deductive reasoning to be sound, the hypothesis must be correct. It is assumed that the premises, “All men are mortal” and “Harold is a man” are true. Therefore, the conclusion is logical and true.

It’s possible to come to a logical conclusion even if the generalization is not true. If the generalization is wrong, the conclusion may be logical, but it may also be untrue. For example, the argument, “All bald men are grandfathers. Harold is bald. Therefore, Harold is a grandfather,” is valid logically but it is untrue because the original statement is false.

Inductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning makes broad generalizations from specific observations. Even if all of the premises are true in a statement, inductive reasoning allows for the conclusion to be false. Here’s an example: “Harold is a grandfather. Harold is bald. Therefore, all grandfathers are bald.” The conclusion does not follow logically from the statements.

Inductive reasoning has its place in the scientific method. Scientists use it to form hypotheses and theories. Deductive reasoning allows them to apply the theories to specific situations.

Syllogism

A common form of deductive reasoning is the syllogism, in which two statements — a major premise and a minor premise — reach a logical conclusion. For example, the premise “Every A is B” could be followed by another premise, “This C is A.” Those statements would lead to the conclusion “This C is B.” Syllogisms are considered a good way to test deductive reasoning to make sure the argument is valid.

Abductive reasoning

Another form of reasoning is abductive reasoning. It is based on making and testing hypotheses using the best information available. It often entails making an educated guess after observing a phenomenon for which there is no clear explanation. Abductive reasoning is useful for forming hypotheses to be tested. Abductive reasoning is often used by doctors who make a diagnosis based on test results and by jurors who make decisions based on the evidence presented to them.

How To Stop Smoking
Hypnosis To Quit Smoking

Famous Quotes

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
~ Samuel Beckett

“Its lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself”

Muhamad ALI

“We have tamed the beasts and schooled the lightning..but we have still to tame ourselves”

H.G. WELLS

“There can be no knowledge without emotion”

Arnold Bennett

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”

George Bernard Shaw”

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
Abraham Maslow

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Abraham Maslow

“Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity of self-change. And in observing himself a man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his inner processes. He begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening.

George Gurdjieff

Exceptional presentation on natal hypnotherapy by Maggie Howell, who has trained over 1000 midwives to date in natal hypnotherapy, initiated NHS funded research, and has caused the Royal College of Midwives to ask “should all midwives be taught hypnosis for birth?”

Great stuff.

How To Stop Smoking
Hypnosis To Quit Smoking

Hypnosis in Contemporary Medicine James H. Stewart, MD

Hypnosis became popular as a treatment for medical conditions in the late 1700s when effective pharmaceutical and surgical treatment options were limited. To determine whether hypnosis has a role in contemporary medicine, relevant trials and a few case reports are reviewed. Despite substantial variation in techniques among the numerous reports, patients treated with hypnosis experienced substantial benefits for many different medical conditions. An expanded role for hypnosis and a larger study of techniques appear to be indicated

How To Stop Smoking
Hypnosis To Quit Smoking

The Power of Negative Thinking

Lie back and picture life after your ambitions are fulfilled, the motivational gurus used to say, and you’ll bring that end result closer to reality. Make an effort to visualize every detail – the finished screenplay sitting pretty on your desk, the gushing reviews in the paper, the sports car parked outside.

The gurus claimed these images would galvanize your determination. They said you could use the power of positive thinking to will success to happen. But then some important research came along that muddied the rosy picture.

Gabriele Oettingen’s psychology lab at New York University has shown that visualizing our aims as already achieved can backfire. The positive imagery can be inspiring at first but it also tricks the mind into relaxing, as if the hard work is done. This means the more compelling the mental scene of success, the more likely it is that your energy will seep away.

In the study, volunteers felt de-energized after visualizing success in an essay competition. In another, participants who fantasised about their goals for the coming week felt less energetic and achieved fewer of their goals.

Why Picturing Future Obstacles Actually Helps

A related problem with picturing what life will be like after we’ve achieved our goals is that it encourages us to gloss over the obstacles to success that are standing in our way. While the fantasy about our successful new fashion line or our future gym-fit physique might give us a frisson of excitement, it also distracts us from the practical steps we need to put in place to turn dream into reality. Of course you need to have an end goal in mind – purpose and direction are vital – but just as important is to think hard about the hurdles lying in wait.

Oettingen’s team call this strategy “mental contrasting” – thinking about how wonderful it would be to achieve your goals, while paying due attention to where you’re at now and all the distance and difficulties that lie in between.

Visualizing our aims as already achieved can backfire.

Two weeks after a group of mid-level managers at four hospitals in Germany were trained in this mental contrasting technique, research by Oettingen’s group showed they’d achieved more of their short-term goals than their colleagues who’d missed out on the training, and they found it easier to make planning decisions. That’s another benefit of mental contrasting: by thinking realistically about the obstacles to success, it helps us pick challenges that we’re likely to win and avoid wasting time on projects that are going nowhere.

Have a go – think of one of your ambitions, write down three benefits of succeeding, but then pause and consider the three main obstacles in your way, and write those down, too. Going through this routine will help ensure you direct your motivation and energy where it’s needed most, and help you identify if this particular goal is a non-starter.

It’s worth noting, however, that mental contrasting works best as a counter-point to high morale and expectations of success. When you’re feeling confident, it ensures your positive energy is channelled strategically into the tasks and activities that are essential for progress. (If you’re feeling low and struggling to get going on any project at all, then this is not the technique for you.)

Positive Feedback as a Multiplier for Progress

One scenario when we’re likely to be flush with confidence and optimism is after receiving positive feedback. In a more recent study, Gabriele Oettingen and her colleagues tested the value of mental contrasting in a simulation of just such a situation.

By thinking realistically about the obstacles to success, it helps us pick challenges that we’re likely to win and avoid wasting time.

Dozens of volunteers took part in what they thought was an investigation into creativity. Half the study participants were given false feedback on a test of their creative potential, with their results inflated to suggest that they’d excelled. In advance of the main challenge – a series of creative insight problems – some of the participants were then taught mental contrasting: writing about how good it would feel to smash the problems, and then writing about the likely obstacles to achieving that feat, such as daydreaming.

The best performers on the insight problems were those participants who’d received the positive feedback about their potential and who’d performed mental contrasting. They out-classed their peers who’d received inflated feedback but only indulged in positive thoughts, and they outperformed those participants who’d received negative feedback (regardless of whether they, too, performed mental contrasting).

So, the next time you receive some positive feedback, don’t lose your focus. Indulge yourself a little – you’re on track after all – but also take time to think about the obstacles that remain, and the practical steps you’ll need to enact to overcome them. The mental contrasting technique guards against complacency, ensuring the boost of your early win is multiplied into long-term success.

What’s Your Take??

Have you found success in visualizing obstacles when making plans? How did it work out?

How To Stop Smoking
Hypnosis To Quit Smoking

Mental Workout

Mental workout We are next going to do some exercises involving your body and mind, some of these are derived from brain gym exercises, and some of them are what we call mental floss
This next series of steps are a most simple physical procedure, but they are very stimulating for your mind
Lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it. Now, while doing this, draw the number “6? in the air with your right hand.
Drawing the figure 8 in the air with the right hand, then left hand then both hands then draw it from your left eye to your right
Do double doodles, both hands in the air using index finger trace circles
Write your name in the air, first with each hand then both hands and then with the left and then right eyes.
Patting the head with one hand and rubbing the stomach with the other and then swapping hands and swapping movements
Touching the centre of your forehead, something you have probably done many times, helps with the thinking process and relieves stress and tension.
Pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth helps to move energy to the higher functioning area of the brain.
Doing energy yawns helps to relax the muscles in the back of the neck and the jaws and increases sensory perception. Pretend to yawn. Put you fingertips against any tight spots you feel on you jaws. Make a deep, relaxed, yawning sound, gently stroking away the tension.
Folding yourself into a pretzel with legs crossed, arms twined & eyes closed & tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth, to help concentration.
To connect the right & left sides of the brain put your left elbow to your right knee & vice versa, while learning.
Visualise the alphabet one letter at a time in one eye and simultaneously the number in the other eye; so A1, B2, C3 etc, when you get to 9 you can just reverse it.
Lets try it shall we.
This time I want you to draw a BIG figure infinity symbol or number eight on its side and as you are drawing it this time put the letter on the left and the number on the right, try that once and then reverse it.
If you don’t get it right you can just start back at the beginning or stop and take a break.
Mental Workout

Mental workout We are next going to do some exercises involving your body and mind, some of these are derived from brain gym exercises, and some of them are what we call mental floss
This next series of steps are a most simple physical procedure, but they are very stimulating for your mind
Lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it. Now, while doing this, draw the number “6? in the air with your right hand.
Drawing the figure 8 in the air with the right hand, then left hand then both hands then draw it from your left eye to your right
Do double doodles, both hands in the air using index finger trace circles
Write your name in the air, first with each hand then both hands and then with the left and then right eyes.
Patting the head with one hand and rubbing the stomach with the other and then swapping hands and swapping movements
Touching the centre of your forehead, something you have probably done many times, helps with the thinking process and relieves stress and tension.
Pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth helps to move energy to the higher functioning area of the brain.
Doing energy yawns helps to relax the muscles in the back of the neck and the jaws and increases sensory perception. Pretend to yawn. Put you fingertips against any tight spots you feel on you jaws. Make a deep, relaxed, yawning sound, gently stroking away the tension.
Folding yourself into a pretzel with legs crossed, arms twined & eyes closed & tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth, to help concentration.
To connect the right & left sides of the brain put your left elbow to your right knee & vice versa, while learning.
Visualise the alphabet one letter at a time in one eye and simultaneously the number in the other eye; so A1, B2, C3 etc, when you get to 9 you can just reverse it.
Lets try it shall we.
This time I want you to draw a BIG figure infinity symbol or number eight on its side and as you are drawing it this time put the letter on the left and the number on the right, try that once and then reverse it.
If you don’t get it right you can just start back at the beginning or stop and take a break.
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