Saturday, September 30th, 2017
Have you ever seen old horror films and television programmes that portray hypnosis as a frightening instrument of mind control where unscrupulous villains enslave the will of helpless victims? Perhaps you have seen stage shows where a hypnotist seems to be able to use their “hypnotic powers” to make people do and say things that they would never do or say under normal conditions. If so, it is not surprising that hypnosis may seem just a little bit wacky, not unlike other seemingly mystical and unexplainable phenomena. This is unfortunate because hypnosis is, in fact, a serious therapeutic tool that can help people overcome many psychological, emotional and even some physical problems.
The state of hypnosis can best be described as a state of highly focused attention with heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis is sometimes but not always accompanied by relaxation. When a person such as a therapist induces hypnosis in another it is called hypnotherapy. When hypnosis is self-induced it is called s self-hypnosis. The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypos” which means sleep. It is an abbreviation of the term neuro-hypnotism which means sleep of the nervous system.
This term was used by the eminent neurosurgeon James Braid (1796-1860). However, hypnosis is not a sleep state. In fact, when in hypnosis a person is awake and usually aware of everything that is said and done. Realising this, Braid later tried to change the name to monoideaism. This means a marked preoccupation with one idea or subject. However, the term hypnosis stuck and is used right up to this day. Based on the work of Sigmund Freud – the human mind can be split into three distinct areas of consciousness; the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It can be useful to think of each part of the mind on a scale of depth.
Freud believed that the conscious mind is the top or shallowest part of the mind and is responsible for making sense of the things we are directly aware of – like stress levels. The subconscious mind is below consciousness most of the time, a deeper level – it is therefore not so easily accessible and controls how we may feel or react to certain situations or circumstances, based on what we have learnt through experience, in the past. It also controls and regulates our essential bodily functions, such as breathing. The unconscious mind is the deepest part of our mind and is much more difficult to reach – it can include suppressed memories of traumatic events. Hypnotism works by reaching a relaxed state whereby it is possible to sink deeper into our minds and rewrite or reprogram our subconscious.
Through physical and mental relaxation, self-hypnosis can allow people to bypass their conscious minds and introduce positive thoughts and ideas into their unconscious. Upon ‘awakening’ from the hypnotic state the new thoughts and ideas in the subconscious will, eventually, affect the conscious mind and can, in turn, lead to changed behaviours.
Hypnosis is not sleep, more a deep state of relaxation, where your brain waves start to slow down. Hypnosis slows our brain waves down to either alpha or, ideally theta, which are states we also experience when about to fall asleep, or when meditating. This is the time when the mind becomes open to re-learning deep-seated beliefs.
Hypnosis is similar to meditation/ mindfulness because your brain goes into the same state, which can deepen with regular practice. Your brain waves slow down in exactly the same way as in hypno. What is different is we use this state to then do some work. Being in the present moment is generally the main goal of most meditation. However, hypnosis goes a step beyond that to provide suggestions to the brain, to rewire thinking and therefore new patterns with a specific goal in mind.
You can find yourself in and out of hypnosis throughout the day – when you are in different ‘zones’ – the most obvious being when you are falling asleep or waking up (which is what hypnosis feels like – relaxed and very comfortable place where the body and mind are calm). When we are in such a place, our nervous system is calm and we can be in a deeper brainwave and able to accept suggestions that our conscious mind may not readily accept. Our conscious mind is just 12% of our whole mind. A whopping 88% is driven by our subconscious understanding of the world including our patterns and beliefs.
Imagine the mind as a metaphor of that of a library. This library contains millions of reference books that all work as a guide to yourself about the way things work such as how to make a cup of tea, how to get dressed, how to deal with a cut on your knee, how to move house, how to respond politely. These guides are based on your observations an experiences (some may be perceived bad experiences) and so we develop our view on the world and how we react to it. We have a reference book for absolutely everything but of course if we have conscious access all of the time then it would be insane. So we place the books away and get them out when we need them. Most often we don’t know we are getting them out because they are so routine; brushing our teeth etc. Yet this can also be applied to the way we respond to something or someone. Hypnosis aims to rewire a new pattern of behaviour for a new preferable, when we would like to change one, when we marry the conscious and subconscious and through repetition for habit forming.
This can be extremely powerful when the source is from a instinctual primal fear reaction such as amygdala base anxiety (which is a consequence of imagined fear that has created a deep trench as an automatic response with no seemingly obvious link or no obvious cortex based over thinking e.g sudden panic for no reason, insomnia when not overthinking anything, worry about large groups but no logical reason. The chemicals take over the body as a fight or flight reaction overriding the cortex (thinking side of the brain). It also works with cortex based sources of undesirable patterns e.g. over-thinking).
|Hypnosis is not:
||When in hypnosis a person is:
Self-hypnosis is often used to modify behaviour, emotions and attitudes. For instance, many people use self-hypnosis to help deal with the problems of everyday living. Self-hypnosis can boost confidence and even help people develop new skills. A great stress and anxiety reliever, it can also be used to help overcome habits such as smoking and overeating. Sports men and women can enhance their athletic performance with self-hypnosis, and people suffering from physical pain or stress-related illnesses also find it helpful (hypnosis should only be used in this way after a medical diagnosis has been made and under the guidance of a doctor or qualified therapist).
I am going to introduce you to a simple but effective technique of self-hypnosis. This technique is called eye fixation self-hypnosis and is one of the most popular and effective forms of self-hypnosis. We will start by using it as a method to help you relax. After you have practised this a number of times you can add hypnotic suggestions and imagery. Reduce distractions by going into a room where you are unlikely to be disturbed and turning off your phone, television, computer, etc. This is your time. You are going to focus on your goal of self-hypnosis and nothing else. Then:
Avoid eating a large meal just before so you don’t feel bloated or uncomfortable. Unless you wish to nod off, sit in a chair, as lying down on a bed will likely induce sleep. You may also wish to loosen tight clothing and take off your shoes. If you wear contact lenses, it is advisable to remove them. Keep your legs and feet uncrossed.
Without straining your neck or tilting your head too far back pick a point on the ceiling and fix your gaze on that point. While you keep your eyes fixed on that point take in a deep breath and hold it for a moment and then breathe out. Silently repeat the suggestion “My eyes are tired and heavy and I want to SLEEP NOW”. Repeat this process to yourself another couple of times and, if your eyes have not already done so, let them close and relax in a normal closed position. It is important when saying the suggestion that you say it to yourself as if you mean it, for example in a gentle, soothing but convincing manner.
Allow your body to become loose and limp in the chair. Then slowly and with intention count down silently from five to zero. Tell yourself that with each and every count you’re becoming more and more relaxed. Stay in this relaxed state for a number of minutes while focusing on your breathing. Notice the rising and falling of your diaphragm and chest. Be aware how relaxed your body is becoming without you even having to try and relax it. In fact, the less you try, the more relaxed you become. You can repeat the 5-0 count down as many times as you like to go even deeper.
Tell yourself that you are becoming aware of your surroundings and at the count of five you will open your eyes. Count up from one to five in a lively, energetic manner. At the count of five, open your eyes and stretch your arms and legs. Repeat this technique three or four times and notice how each time you reach a deeper level of relaxation. However, if you find you do not relax as much as you would like, do not force it. There is a learning curve involved so resolve to practice self-hypnosis on a regular basis. * After deep relaxation do not drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake *
Have you ever experienced the frustration of having a name on the tip of your tongue? The harder you try to remember the name, the harder it is to recall. Then when you relax the name comes back to you. Sometimes, when we try too hard, we block ourselves from achieving our goals and remove expectations. The attitude you take towards self-hypnosis will determine how easily you learn it. Don’t try too hard or set unrealistic goals. Relax and take your time. Accept the pace at which you achieve results, however small they may at first seem. Believe in yourself and you will go on to achieve the success you desire. You may benefit first from listening to a similar guided meditation/ relaxation to get used to it.
Before you attempt self-hypnosis for the first time it is useful to have told somebody else in the nearby vicinity what you are doing. Reaching a hypnotic state is a little like sleeping and you may be more comfortable telling somebody else that you are going for a nap. By telling somebody else, you are not likely to be disturbed or worried that you may be disturbed.
Post-Hypnotic Suggestions And Their Rules
As previously mentioned, hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility. Giving yourself suggestions when in hypnosis will enable an action or other response to take place after the hypnotic experience has occurred. These forms of suggestion are called post-hypnotic suggestions and will help you to achieve your goals. Over the years, hypnotherapists have developed rules of suggestion. These are guidelines that will enable you to achieve maximum success with the suggestions you give yourself. What follows is a summary of these rules.
Have you ever seen an actor mumbling his lines on stage, speaking in a quiet meek voice? The result is a performance that’s not very convincing. Unlike acting, hypnotic suggestions are repeated silently. However, you need to repeat the suggestions as though you mean what you say. Be reassuring, positive and confident.
Most of us will react more favourably to a positively worded suggestion than a negative one. Which request would you rather hear: “Do not leave that lying on the floor” or “Would you mind picking that up?”
The mind has a tendency to focus on the noun, therefore if you say ‘I don’t want to be scared’ and then try to change to ‘I’m not scared’ the mind will still focus on ‘scared’. = ‘I’m scared’. Suggestions are far more effective when you mention what you wish to move towards, rather than what you are moving away from. For example: “I am calm” is better than “I am not anxious”. “I stop smoking with ease” is better than “I will try to stop smoking” as the word try implies difficulty and struggle.
Your suggestions are best phrased in the present tense, as though they are happening at this moment in time. So, “I am relaxed on the aircraft” is better than “I will be relaxed when I am on the aircraft”. Or, “I am becoming more confident” is better than “I will try to be confident”.
Your suggestions are going to be more effective if they are specific and realistic. If you wish to improve your swimming performance, it would be unrealistic to give yourself the suggestion “I am a world-class swimmer”, unless of course you are, or are about to become, a world champion. Instead, ask yourself what specifically it is about your swimming that you wish to improve. So if you wished to improve your breaststroke, you would give yourself a realistic suggestion tailored to that specific aspect of your swimming. Structure your suggestions on changes you wish to see in yourself rather than things that are out of your control, such as external events and other people. Do not give yourself suggestions for two or three issues all at the same time. For instance, the suggestion “I am confident that I can lose weight and stop smoking” is probably not effective. Instead, work on one goal at a time, repeating suggestions associated with that goal. When you see some results, move on to your next goal.
Advertisers know the value of suggestion, which is why they repeat television and radio commercials on a regular basis. One of the most important rules when practising self-hypnosis is repetition of your suggestions. That way you drive the point home and are far more likely to effect positive change.
While giving yourself hypnotic suggestions, visualise the situation, the action and the feeling that you desire. As well as picturing a desired outcome, you can utilise your sense of touch, hearing and even smell. You can create new images as well as using images from your memories and experiences. People sometimes believe they have to see a crystal clear image of their goal, as though watching a movie. However, a positive attitude and a belief that you are “in the role” is more important than clear imagery.
Hypnotherapy does not claim to be a ‘quick fix’ – (commit these suggestions to memory and focus on them in your mind. When you practise self-hypnosis the imagery you use and the suggestions you give yourself are only limited by your imagination. Remember the more you put into any kind of healing the more you get out. But always remember to be kind to yourself in your healing process including the blips and plateaus which are just as important as the successes because these teach us even more about ourselves.
* *Part of this information has been taken from a variety of hypnotherapy websites
Personalised Hypno Recording Questionnaire
In order to prepare your personalised recording there are a few questions below that are required to be answered to understand what it is your feeling and what you are wishing to feel, or generally wanting to achieve through Hypnotherapy. Using Hypnotherapy is more effective than using willpower or affirmations alone using only your conscious awareness because the subconscious is 88% of your total mind and this portion drives your everyday thinking, feeling, behaviours and actions; therefore your quality of life. Hypnotherapy works by relaxing the body and the mind to get to a slower brainwave which allows for suggestions to be placed in the subconscious. In a recording you may not be the same as an interactive one-to-one session but it will still be effective when listened to regularly. You are fully in control at all times and your relaxation into hypnosis is a choice made through your willingness. You can read more about Hypnotherapy on my blog http://www.inspireandrewire.com/hypnotherapy-faqs/
How to get the best out of a personalised recording
It is important to note that you get out what you put in. If you listen to your recording regularly and consistently over a period of more than 3 weeks then you will notice significant difference on how you feel. Later once you feel you have embedded a new way of thinking and feeling you can use the recording as a ‘top-up’ every now and then. Note also that your recording is not a replacement for long term belief patterns that may require more in depth one-to-one sessions to address underlying causes. But in many cases because this is individualised you will notice significant progress compared to a general hypnosis recording or mediation.
You can use recorded Hypnotherapy for a variety of topics such as confidence, reducing anxiety, public speaking, fear and phobias, new ways of thinking, cutting cords with old belief systems or people/ situations/ experiences/ countries/ jobs, motivation, goal setting, finding your purpose, sleep, even pain. The list goes on. The more information and detail you provide in your answers, the more personalised the recording. You don’t have to reveal personal information if you are not comfortable (although all information of course will remain confidential). Instead if you prefer you can generalise or indicate something because your subconscious will know exactly what or who you are speaking of.
Listen to your recording when you are comfortable and will not be disturbed. Earphones are the best to drown out outside interference. During your session where you listen to the audio, sometimes you may fall asleep and sometimes you may be very aware and conscious, either way is fine so long as you are relaxed. Notice if you are seeing improvements even if you fall asleep. If there are no improvements try to listen to the recording when you are not likely to fall asleep and perhaps sit up a little or fully. When you fill in the questionnaire below take your time – you may need to spend a bit of time thinking about the answers, if you are not used to being aware of your thoughts it may take a little time to begin listening to yourself. Try not to judge your thoughts or feelings; this is a great step towards self-awareness which is moving towards making mindful choices and making positive changes.
I look forward to preparing your audio and enjoy the process of the journey.
You can also see the FAQ of Hypnotherapy here
Order a personalised recording with us by emailing Nicola and discussing your unique request