In addition to the work we do in a session I often ask clients to practice the art of self-hypnosis.
Often, I begin this process by providing an audio recording to listen to. This will usually be made specifically for each client as we are all unique. (But even listening to a general self-hypnosis recording, whether through YouTube, podcast or any other method, can begin to help make changes).
Then, after having been in hypnosis during our session/s and then listening to an audio in their own time, most clients can easily use this knowledge of hypnosis to begin to empower themselves and begin self-directed hypnosis.
And it can be so empowering. Imagine being able to gain a better perspective of your unconscious beliefs and automatic behaviours, having the ability to have more control over your mind and body and not allowing yourself to be the tumbleweed at the behest of the outside world.
Self-hypnosis is the gentlest, most natural way to calm your mind, clear your thoughts, prepare yourself for new opportunities and to focus on goals. Just like hypnosis with me, being in a self-induced trance is a totally normal state. It’s simply the ability to focus your attention on a goal whilst in a total, blissful state of relaxation.
When you’re in a self-induced trance you will be more receptive to accepting suggestions because your unconscious mind is more open at this time. Suggestions should therefore be positive; for example, ‘I’m feeling a little calmer/confident/capable/optimistic’.
(There is a school of thought that says that if you mention a negative, e.g. I am feeling less anxious, then the mind must think about anxiety to know what it must feel less of. The classic example is not to think of a pink elephant – impossible).
By honing your technique and creating a space in your day to focus fully on self-hypnosis, you will be able to use this inherent skill in a positive way.
Over the years as a hypnotherapist my clients have been able to help themselves feel more relaxed, confident, gain better sports performances, be calmer and more focused through exams and reduce chronic pain.
Interestingly, researchers from the Ohio State University concluded that self-hypnosis (to prevent stress) can also help in protecting the immune system against the negative effects of it. They proved this by showing that students who performed self-hypnosis during stressful exam weeks showed a stronger immune system when compared to those who did not learn the technique of this phenomenon.
There is so much more to be said about self-hypnosis but for the moment here’s a great technique to begin with. Read it through, understand it and find a quiet place to practice. Be gentle to yourself, it can take time for your ‘ego’ to simply give up control for a while.
Simple self-hypnosis technique
- Find a comfortable chair to sit in and once seated find a focal point in the room.
- Look at this point and allow your gaze to soften.
- Let your out-breath gently become a little longer than your in-breath.
- Do this for about 7 breaths and then breathe normally.
- Allow your eyes to gently close whenever they feel tired (although they can stay open if you feel easier – hypnosis is not sleep)
- Then begin a countdown from 10 to 1 and each number is counted only on an out-breath (not every breath out, just as they naturally coincide). As you countdown and breathe out allow every muscle in your body to begin to relax.
- Once you have reached the number one let your body relax twice as deeply and as your body relaxes so your mind will follow. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t reached a Zen-like trance state, simply calming your mind by a small fraction is enough to know that change is possible.
- Whilst a little quiet in your mind simply give yourself some positive suggestions (e.g. I am feeling more alert, focused, calm, confident….’. They must be suggestions that are positive, achievable, beneficial and safe. Even allowing these positive words to reverberate around your mind is enough to begin changes.
- Allow yourself a few moments of peace and then begin the count up from 1 to 10; telling yourself that when you get to 10 you will open your eyes and feel refreshed and totally alert.
- Count up, open your eyes and you will be fully alert and ready to carry on with your day.