Anyone can harness the power of self hypnosis. Since 1958, the American Medical Association has recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment for certain conditions; depression, gastrointestinal disorders, pain relief, anxiety and even surgery.
For some hypnosis has a negative connotation. Others even equate hypnosis with magic tricks, but the benefits of hypnosis are much more than an illusion. Self hypnosis is a skill. Understanding hypnosis will help you see the real power it has to improve the emotional, physical and intellectual aspects of human behavior.
For instance, do you want to lose weight, overcome shyness, or become more focused? You can. Hypnosis gives you the power to hold your life in your hands, control it, and feel the way you want to feel.
Understanding Self Hypnosis
You have two minds. One is the conscious mind the other is the subconscious mind. You think with your conscious mind, and you are usually not aware of the subconscious mind, but the subconscious mind is said to determine much of what you do. When you practice self hypnosis, what you’re doing is making suggestions to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is open to suggestions, so it’s important to make sure that your suggestions are good ones.
Good meaning your suggestions should be what you really want, because a good suggestion repeated often enough and long enough will be accepted by the subconscious mind as true. That’s the key to hypnosis. Suggestions also need to be possible.
For instance, if you’re five feet tall, you won’t become six feet tall overnight. In short, avoid suggestions that you know are impossible. If you know it can’t happen, don’t expect your subconscious mind to believe it. Here’s an example of a suggestion. Say you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. For whatever reason your subconscious mind maybe signaling your conscious mind to wake up.
During self hypnosis you can make a suggestion to your subconscious mind that you will go to sleep at a certain time and stay in a restful sleep until the time you want to wake up in the morning. The suggestion could be something like this; I will go to sleep around 11:00pm and stay in a restful sleep until 6:00am.
It’s always best to be specific when wording your suggestions. It may take only one or two repetitions for this suggestion to work, but it may also take a week or two of daily repetitions for your subconscious mind to begin to believe it. It really depends on your ability to bring yourself into a hypnotic state of mind in order to have an impact on your subconscious mind.
How to Practice Self Hypnosis
First, give yourself the proper setting. Find a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed and where you feel relaxed. Block out at least 10 to 30 minutes to focus on the process. It may also be more effective if you lay down in a comfortable position. If noise is an issue, use music or white noise to eliminate any distractions. Once you have mastered the skill of self hypnosis you will be able to do it almost anywhere. It takes practices, but it’s possible. In general, the basic process to induce a hypnotic state of mind is relaxation, deepening relaxation, suggestion, and termination.
You have found a comfortable environment and you are in a comfortable position. Now begin to relax yourself. It really depends on you whether relaxing will be difficult or easy for you. Some people have never developed the ability to fully relax, while others can relax with no problem at all.
Close your eyes and let the tension in your muscles go and allow your entire body to go literally limp. It may take some time to discover a really deep relaxation, so don’t rush it. You will defeat the whole purpose of relaxing if you are building up anxiety around trying to relax. As you get better at it, you will be able to recognize when you have reached a deeply relaxed state of mind.
If you are a beginner make sure to take your time. This is a very important step. If you are having difficulty relaxing you can try a process called Progressive Relaxation. You tense your muscles one group at a time, hold your muscles very tense for ten seconds each and then let go. It helps you discover the difference between how you feel when your muscles are tense and how your muscles feel when you are relaxed.
Once you have given yourself time to become truly relaxed, you should then begin to deepen that relaxed state. As you go even deeper into relaxation you will move into a hypnotic state. If you are a beginner you may not know when you are in a hypnotic state. But even if you’re not sure, don’t force it, don’t question it, and don’t interrupt your level of relaxation. Going into a hypnotic state of mind is similar to going to sleep, but you won’t loss consciousness.
The next step to deepen relaxation is the count-down technique. You are not counting out loud. You are counting in your mind. To use the count-down technique you just start counting down from say 10 or 20. Count-down from whatever number feels right to you. As you count imagine yourself drifting deeper and deeper with each number. You may have images or other thoughts cross you mind, but don’t let them distract you. Just continue counting.
Count at a rate that feels comfortable and relaxing to you. As you count drift deeper into your hypnotic state, slow your breathing and as you do slow your counting. Slowing your breathing and counting should allow you to go deeper and deeper toward your hypnotic state of mind.
Self Hypnosis Suggestions
Once you have reached the end of the deepening process you are ready to apply suggestions. What you have done during the relaxation and deepening process is to increase your mind’s sensitivity. In other words, you have opened your subconscious mind to receive your suggestions.
You have already prepared the suggestions you will now begin to repeat in your mind. The suggestions should be short, concise, believable, and what you really want. It’s also best to have them memorized, because you should not get up and read your suggestions. That is counter productive to everything you just did to put yourself into a hypnotic state of mind. You should simply think you way through your suggestions at this point. And make sure you are using “I” statements.
Example, “I am no longer uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups.” I like to exercise now and I am getting slimmer everyday.” “I am on a budget and I have more than enough money,” and so on. Some people see immediate results from their suggestions. If it takes longer for you, don’t be impatient.
Self Hypnosis Termination
Once you have finished repeating your suggestions you can terminate your session. It is not advised to just open your eyes, get up and go on with your day. It is highly suggested that you formally end every hypnotic session. It’s important because it helps your mind understand that there is a clear separation between the hypnotic state and your conscious awareness. To end your hypnotic session you begin by thinking to yourself that you are going to be fully awake and alert after you count up to three. That is a very common practice with hypnosis. You can say something like this to yourself, “I will now end this session at the count of three. One, I am slowly moving toward an awake state. Two, I am becoming more and more alert. Three, I am completely awake and I feeling refreshed.”
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