It takes 21 days to make or break a habit.
Hypnotist James Dayley of Ogden aims to get smokers started on the first step to cessation during an event Thursday for the Great American Smokeout, the annual day on which the American Cancer Society rallies smokers to go smoke-free.
The free two-hour seminar is at 7 p.m. in a conference room at 4590 Harrison Blvd., Ogden. The program will end with a 20-minute hypnosis session, during which Dayley will put the audience into a light hypnotic state with the goal to stop smoking.
Dayley smoked since he was 19, but quit six years ago. "Now, I can't imagine smoking," he said.
Some people say they enjoy a smoke break during the workday to relax. But, tobacco is actually a nervous system stimulant, Dayley said, that elevates the heart rate and raises the blood pressure.
"Everything we do for a good reason -- even bad habits," he said.
Among Dayley's tips:
SBlt Change brands and cut back.
SBlt Put the cigarettes in a plastic sandwich bag. Write on a piece of paper several reasons why you would like to stop smoking, then put the paper in the plastic bag.
SBlt Smokers should think about triggers -- why they smoke. Dayley said he used to light up every time he stopped at a red light or a stop sign.
SBlt Find replacement techniques. "You need to have options that work," Dayley said. He suggests techniques like deep breathing.
Since there is limited seating, participants must RSVP by noon Wednesday for Dayley's seminar. Call 866-466-5404 to RSVP and for a five-minute pre-seminar consultation.
Dayley, owner of the Two-Bit CafA(c) on Ogden's 25th Street, does hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis, as well as magic shows.
Dayley leads hypnotherapy sessions focusing on stress management skills as well as smoking-cessation sessions at Serenity House of Ogden, which offers residential substance abuse treatment services.
"He (Dayley) comes in and does meditation and guided imagery and hypnotherapy," said Jared Sanford, director of Serenity House. "It gives them the skills to deal with everyday stressors in life."
Serenity aims to become a smoke-free campus by the end of the year. "We want to be treatment-free of all substances," Sanford said. "We address all substances, all addictions here."
Dayley takes the Serenity group into a light hypnosis of guided imagery in which they picture themselves overcoming their addictions.
"I'm a facilitator and I can guide you in. But it's all self-hypnosis," Dayley said. "You have to allow it to happen, follow the instructions."
Only 25 percent of the population can be easily hypnotized. Anyone can be put into a relaxed state of mind. But three types of people can't be hypnotized: babies, because they don't understand language; a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and a person who doesn't want to be hypnotized, Dayley said.
Mark Sage, 59, of Roy, has been going to Dayley for hypnotherapy since July 2010 when Sage's wife died. The hypnotherapy has aided Sage in handling his grief so he can function in his daily life.
"The emotions are still there, but I can control them more," Sage said.
Besides smoking cessation, hypnosis can help people with insomnia, weight loss, stress reduction and overcoming fears such as public speaking. Dayley charges $100 a session, but operates on a sliding scale. Sessions last between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on the issue.
Go to http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GreatAmericanSmokeout/... for information on the Great American Smokeout.