My name is Sarah, and I had a sugar addiction. But not anymore.
You guys...it worked!!!
I know what you're thinking. "She's hypnotized right now!" "She's become a puppet to an evil puppet master! Before you know it she'll be robbing banks and washing her face in acid!" Before you get all freaked out (I'm talking to you, Mom), I'm here to tell you hypnosis is really nothing more than guided meditation with a purpose. I think when people see the word "hypnosis" they often think of mind control and dark, Voldemort-style shenanigans. But really, if you hypnotize yourself like I did, then the only person tooling around in your mind is you. And that sounds pretty reasonable, don't you think?
In Part 1 of this article, I talked about my sugar addiction and how difficult it's been to quit. I've had hundreds of attempts, with varying degrees of success, still always feeling intensely powerful longings for the sweet stuff. But this feels totally different. First of all (and very BEST of all), I don't think about sugar anymore. I'm not craving it, or trying to tell myself I don't want it, or bargaining with myself, or trying to make a plan to get some. My mind seems to have put it aside, like a boring book I don't want to finish. Secondly, sugar doesn't taste as good. I ate some just to see what would happen and it was kind of yuck. It was a Twix (one of my old faves), and it was just ho-hum. I didn't want a second. Sorry, did you get that? I DIDN'T WANT A SECOND TWIX.
So, now you're wanting to know how I've achieved this miracle, right? And I'm totally gonna tell you. You can do it right now! You try it and let me know if it works for you! I'm a pretty firm believer at this point.
To learn how to hypnotize myself, I read "Guide to TRANCE-formation" by Richard Bandler. In his book, there are lots and lots of exercises for all kinds of adjustments to make your life more positive. Mr. Bandler believes that not all life changes have to be painfully drawn out or a ton of work. He believes that sometimes you just have to help your brain know that it's time to let go.
On the subject of addictions, he says, "Once people make a decision that they've had enough, that they're never going to do something again, and you can help them truly to believe that, they can make it through." Mr Bandler calls this "Going Over the Threshold." "Put simply, the nervous system is capable of maintaining a certain way of functioning only up to a certain point. When you exceed this level, the pattern blows out." So, basically, the idea is to string negative memories of your addiction together until your brain is overloaded, while diminishing the aspects that comfort you, or make you feel good. Mr. Bandler's exercise goes something like this:
- Write down 5 things you like and 5 things you don't like about your addiction.
- Sit in a comfortable and quiet place and relax for a bit.
- In your mind, cycle through the 5 things you like 5 times each, seeing yourself doing whatever you wrote down. As you experience it, drain each image of color, taste, sound, etc. Make each picture small and push it off into the distance in your mind. Try to make the pictures drain, shrink, and ping off into the distance more and more quickly. Be confident.
- Cycle through the 5 things you dislike 5 times each. This time, make each picture bigger, more saturated with color, increase the sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, etc. before moving on to the next picture. Do this faster and faster. You should feel overwhelmed with the bad experiences.
- Ask yourself, "Do I really need to have this limitation anymore?"
- In your mind, spin all the images and feelings into a big ball. Then, spin the whole thing out into the sun and watch it explode.
Now you are getting verrrrrry sleeeeeepy...just kidding!
Here's the great thing: If you have something about yourself you'd really like to change, why not give it a shot? If it doesn't work, you wasted 20 minutes being a mindful person. And to me, there's no downside to that. If this exercise doesn't fit the change you'd like to make (if you're an insomniac or have bad memories you'd like to let go), I'd recommend reading Mr. Bandler's book. There are so many interesting ideas and things to try. It's a really positive read - the opposite of creepy. And some of the things I learned have even helped me in my parenting. I was able to give my son a haircut (he's so, so terrified of them) while he sat quietly and happily, thinking of pleasant things!
I'm pretty psyched to get started on my sugar-free life. Now, what else can I fix?
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Image: Surian Soosay