There is a therapy created by Tad James called Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality

It's about changing a clients perception of time.  Part of that intervention is giving the client the imagined experience of floating above their time line to a time before the event happened.

Then you have the client leap over to a time in the future where they have learned the lesson of the past and are clear of that negative event.

That's the basic gist of it.  Changing the perception of time to create a change in a subconscious program and in particular, changing the emotional valence of a past event so that it can be reconsolidated with a closer to neutral meaning.

How could you apply that intervention to the idea of quitting smoking?

What if you were wanting to quit smoking and were to do this strategy on yourself?

You would have to give your brain the experience that went all the way back to your childhood, perhaps around the time when you were first offered a cigarette.  And then visualize that you saw a cigarette being handed to you.

But instead, a friend pushed it out of your hand and stopped you.
Good thing!
Remember that this would have happened all the way back then so continue to engage the neural networks related to that moment in the past so that your brain can categorize cigarettes in a different way and have those different cell assemblies activate in the future in a way that is associated to your identity of being a person that doesn't smoke.  You are changing the meaning with emotions so that the neurons that fired together in the past will stop playing catch with those smoking neurons.  You want new neurons to fire with so fire up the ones associated to the time before you were a non smoker and then slam all that shut!

If you gave your brain that novelty rich experience so that your brain got the message so that it caused you, in the future days, to notice how you feel totally different about cigarettes, so much that it doesn't even seem to be a part of you any more, then that would reprogram your mind to strategically quit smoking.

Maybe they should make commercials like that and see what effect it has on smokers? Perhaps an anti-smoking campaign to tap into smokers’ memories and tug at their heartstrings to times when they weren't smokers?

Ali Hussain thought the same.
He asserted that 'advertisers often use nostalgia-evoking messages to promote consumer products, and that tactic could be just as effective in encouraging healthy behaviors'.

Ali Hussain, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism,
“A lot of no-smoking messages are centred around fear, disgust and guilt,” Hussain said. “But smokers often don’t buy the messages and instead feel badly about themselves and the person who is trying to scare them.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States, accounting for one of every five deaths.

Hoping to find a solution, researchers conducted a study of smokers, ages 18 to 39, exposing some to a nostalgic public service announcement Hussain created and some to a control message.

Those who viewed the PSA reported greater nostalgic emotions and displayed stronger negative attitudes toward smoking, especially women.
For more about the study:
Nostalgic Emotional Appeals for Smoking Prevention

Here is the PSA that was used.
{Courtesy of Ali Hussain, doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism]

Starting with images of childhood memories, the PSA script includes phrases such as, “I remember when I was a boy” and “I miss the simplicity of life, being outside on a warm summer night,” making references to familiar smells and tastes from bygone days. It ends with the narrator remembering when someone introduced him to cigarettes and a call to action.

So why did it work?

Nostalgia-themed PSAs play off consumers’ most cherished and personal memories, so they feel more engaged, the researchers said. And that nostalgic thinking influences attitudes and behaviors.

“Our study, which to our knowledge is first of its kind, shows promise for using nostalgic messages to promote pro-social behaviors,” said Maria Lapinski, professor in the Department of Communication.   “We know that policy and environmental changes have an influence on smoking and this study indicates persuasive messages can influence smoking attitudes.”

When persuading people with a PSA for anti-smoking, or as a hypnotherapist or doing the strategy yourself, know that your mind is capable of being influenced through your perception of time and is capable of rewiring habits under the surface as a result of those new learned experiences re-codified in that temporal association.

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