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Have you ever picked at your pores, only to step away and find that your face is red as an apple and to find that the next day, two more have popped up?

Have you ever picked at your pores, only to step away and find that your face is red as an apple and to find that the next day, two more have popped up? Perhaps you want to kick that smoking habit or finger nail biting fixation. It's hard I know; I tend to bite my finger nails when I'm anxious or just bored. Rest assured there is a solution, and no it is not a self-help tape that will convince you to think you're a pretty girl like poor Chandler. Grace Smith, renowned hypnotherapist and owner of both Grace Space "Your Virtual Hypnotherapist" and Grace Space Hypnotherapy School, specializes in helping people kick their nasty bad habits with hypnotherapy.

What tips can you give people who are trying to change a bad habit?

Most people try to change a bad habit while they are extremely stressed out or fed up. Next, they typically try to change the habit through the use of willpower which is usually both very difficult and ineffective. This is because our habits are stored in the subconscious mind, not the conscious mind, and will power only impacts our conscious actions. In order to change a bad habit, we must reach it where it "lives," by accessing the subconscious mind through deep relaxation. It is also important to replace a bad habit with a good habit, rather than simply hoping to remove the bad habit without a replacement (when we do this the subconscious typically chooses the replacement which is why we often see ex-smokers eating more than they would like – it's much more powerful and positive when we choose the replacement habit). The final step is to condition the new habit. So my tips are:

Achieve a deep state of relaxation before attempting to change any habit;

Access the habit where it "lives" in the subconscious mind and, with the help of a certified hypnotherapist, negotiate the "terms" of this habit;

Replace the bad habit with a good habit;

Practice the new habit both actively (consciously) and by using visualization (subconsciously).

 What are some tips to prevent stress, whether it be around holiday times or just work stress.

Use deep breathing paired with a hypno-affirmation like "I am safe, I am calm, I choose to be here" throughout the day to condition your mind to stay relaxed throughout the holiday season or while in the office. Taking even just 3 minutes to listen to a mini hypnosis recording can also completely change your state. Remember that the holidays come every year and work stress is likely an ongoing experience, meaning it is very important to prioritize maintaining a sense of calm, otherwise we'll just end up living in a constant state of stress. When the thought "I don't have time for that 3-minute stress relief recording" pops into your mind, remember this Zen proverb… "You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour." -Zen proverb

Prioritize self-care and at first it will treat the stress, but eventually, it will prevent it.

How do you help people be mentally ready to change?

This is actually the only part that is up to the client before we even begin our work together. The efficacy of hypnosis is dependent upon how much someone desires the result. For example, if the client knows smoking is not good for them but still loves smoking, a session for quitting smoking would be a waste of time. I would say "come back when you really, truly want to quit." Luckily, for most clients, they are ready and willing to change by the time they come to see me, they just haven't been able to do it on their own and hypnosis will provide the support they need. If someone is not ready to change, the sessions will not be effective until they are. While we could certainly have a session or two to increase the desire to change, additional sessions increase the cost to the client. Most people have so much they want to work on that we can simply start at the top of their list in terms of the transformation they desire most and work our way down. Typically our desire to improve increases the longer we continue to suffer from a particular bad habit, and so by the time we reach those items at the bottom of the list, there is usually a much greater desire to work on them.

I saw you wrote a book that is to be released this year. Will this book help the people who want to change; will it inspire people?

Absolutely!  I've written my book in such a way that simply by reading it, chapter by chapter, the reader will condition their mind to become more calm, positive and productive. There are self-hypnosis scripts at the end of each chapter and we cover everything from overcoming fear of flying to nail biting, weight loss, insomnia and beyond. I'm counting down the days until I get to hear the stories about how much hypnosis has helped everyone who reads this book! It's called "Close Your Eyes, Get Free" and it is already available for pre-order on Amazon.

What inspired you to be a hypnotherapist. How did you get into this line of practice?

I became a hypnotherapist after using it myself to quit smoking and overcome a debilitating fear of public speaking. I was very skeptical before my first session but I trusted the friend who suggested hypnosis and, needless to say, I was blown away by the results. At first I started off part-time simply helping friends and colleagues, but about a month after completing my certification, I witnessed a client breaking through their stroke-induced paralysis during our first hypnosis session together. Essentially, this client had been a United Nations Peacekeeping officer in Syria. His convoy was attacked and the last thing he remembered was looking out the window of the convoy at a bazooka pointed directly at him. He woke up 10 days later in Lebanon to find that the left side of his body was paralyzed. I met him three months later in New York City and he hadn't moved the left side of his body even once throughout those three months. To make a long and beautiful story short, during our first session he broke through, moving his finger and his wrist… it was incredible. Once this happened, I couldn't let another day go by where I wasn't doing this full time. I quit my fancy corporate job and have been on a mission to make hypnosis mainstream ever since. The best part of this story? That man is now my father-in-law 🙂 When I married his son he told the story of we met at our wedding and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

 What would you say to people who are unsure about trying hypnosis

If you're skeptical, I get it! I was too, but don't let that stop you from giving it a shot. Your best life awaits! Hypnosis is nothing like what you've seen in the movies and it is one of the most powerful tools, if not THE most powerful tool, you can use to transform your life.

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