Are you aware that you may already practice self-hypnosis? Most people put themselves in hypnotic trances without even realising…
Anyone who worries about forthcoming events is practising a form of (negative) self hypnosis, as they may be imagining the forthcoming event, immersing themselves in what (they think) it will be like…
Hypnosis is simply a state of very focused attention, and increased susceptibility to suggestions. This can occur while you are feeling relaxed, or alternatively when you are excited and transfixed on an event or idea.
Three of the features of hypnosis are time distortion (not realising that time has passed), intense concentration on an idea, and being unaware of what else is around you. You may agree that this description fits a sport fanatic who is watching a sport TV programme while their favourite team is competing!
In this post, I will outline one basic method of self-hypnosis, and in next week’s post I will explain further about how to craft your own suggestions for maximum benefit.
The benefit of using hypnosis, is that while we are in hypnotic states, our subconscious mind comes into the foreground, as the conscious mind ‘takes a back seat’. As the subconscious mind is where the habits, phobias, and worries can sit, hypnosis gives us a chance to speak directly to the subconscious mind and offer alternative interpretations or instructions on how to deal with life events.
Self-hypnosis can be used for a multitude of reasons, including:-
- confidence (e.g. visualising positive outcomes)
- stress reduction
- practice via visualisation (e.g. in sports)
- stopping habits (e.g. smoking, drinking, skin picking)
- minimisation of medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, pain (these would all need medical approval).
Method of self-hypnosis
While doing the procedure below, I recommend speaking to yourself (in your mind) using ‘you’, e.g. “As you relax” not “As I relax”. This may seem strange, but it is your conscious mind speaking to your subconscious mind, and this format gives better results. It is also important to use a ‘tone’ that is relaxing, encouraging and sympathetic.
- Remove distractions
Ensure that you will not be interrupted. Silence your mobile phone, and ensure that pets and children will not disturb you. perhaps choose a time when there is no-one else in your house.
- Sit in a comfortable chair
Sitting is best, because if you lie down it is likely that you could fall asleep. Have your legs and and ankles uncrossed, because once you start relaxing, it may be painful to feel the weight of one leg on the other. Ensure that your clothes are not tight (if so, loosen them). Remove glasses or contact lenses.
- Take three long slow breaths in and out
For each of these three breaths, take around 7 – 10 seconds to inhale, and 7 – 10 seconds to exhale. Let yourself relax more with each breath. After the third breath, close your eyes gently and tell yourself to relax. This deep breathing works at a physical level to help you relax, as when we breathe deeply, it sends a message to our brain for it to calm our body.
- Deepen your relaxation
Tell yourself that you are relaxing more and more. You can use such suggestions as “With each breath, you are becoming more and more relaxed, sinking deeper and deeper into the chair which is supporting you”.
- Use imagery if you wish
Some people like to imagine that they are walking down a staircase, counting the stairs as they walk down, and with each step they are becoming more and more relaxed. They are then completely relaxed by the time they reach the bottom of the stairs. It is useful to really immerse yourself in whatever scene that you may be imagining. Use all of your senses – see what you would see, and hear what you would hear. You could perhaps imagine what the stairs would feel like under your feet, and what the bannister would feel like when you put your hand on it if you are walking down the staircase.
- Count yourself back to full awareness.
Start counting in your mind from 5 to 1. As you progress towards 1, ‘talk’ faster and louder in your mind (closer to normal speed and volume). Between each number, says something to yourself to encourage you to come back to awareness, e.g.5 – Starting to come back to full awareness
4 – Noticing the support of the chair you are sitting on
3 – Noticing the sounds around you
2 – Having a stretch – stretching your arms and legs
1 – When you are ready, open your eyes
You should practice this at least once per day for best results, and as you become more proficient, you may like to remain in the relaxed state (between steps 5 and 6) for a while.
As some people can feel drowsy immediately after coming out of hypnosis, please allow sufficient time before driving, or doing anything else that requires concentration. This drowsiness is to be expected, and it may not affect you every time.
Next week I will post further information about the best methods of creating hypnotic suggestions, but until then, please practice the basic technique and get accustomed to entering the relaxing, hypnotic state!
If you would like to know more or have a no-obligation consultation, please either email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0403 932311.
© Lisa Billingham, 2018
Please note – this post does not provide medical advice, and is solely for general education. If you have any type of medical condition, please seek advice from a medical professional before using self-hypnosis. Thank you!