Hypnosis is often misunderstood because of stage hypnosis and movies, which all make hypnosis super intimidating. You can rest assured that it’s perfectly safe – but what is hypnosis, and how does it work?
The definition of hypnosis is “a focused state of attention.” That’s literally all hypnosis is, and the great news is that you’re already a pro at it.
Whenever you’re focusing your attention throughout your day you’re experiencing the hypnotic state. This can include watching a movie, reading a book, daydreaming, zoning out while driving, or otherwise focusing deeply in thought.
So, you are literally in and out of the state of hypnosis all day long, and you’re still conscious and in control. When you’re hypnotized by someone, they simply help you focus your attention, relax, and open up. You’re present and able to refuse any piece of advice at any time just by not wanting to accept it.
Now, if you want to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken (when people do this with stage hypnosis there’s a part of them that’s giving permission to let this happen), then let me get my popcorn first, and we’ll both have a good time.
Not only are you completely in control during hypnosis, but you also may not feel any different than you normally feel throughout your day. You may equate the state of hypnosis with a feeling of relaxation, but no matter how you feel, it will always come down to its definition: a simple state of focused attention.
There is also a misconception that you “go away” in the state of hypnosis, and that you’re no longer conscious.
There is a small percentage of the population that may experience something called spontaneous amnesia, which is when they don’t recall what has happened in the session, but in the hundreds of people I’ve worked with this has only happened a couple of times; rest assured that you will be present and aware.
Hypnosis works by bypassing your conscious mind and accessing your subconscious mind. Your conscious mind is the thinking and rational part of your mind, and the subconscious is the feeling, literal, and imaginative part of your mind.
When you were young you formed beliefs and feelings about life and yourself that may or may not be useful to you at this time. Those beliefs and feelings are in your subconscious mind right now and are manifesting as a blueprint of patterns and behaviors in your current life.
Hypnosis is a powerful tool for helping your subconscious mind bring beliefs and feelings that are holding you back to your awareness. Then you can process the emotions, cleanse them from your body and form new and helpful beliefs about yourself and life.
Essentially, you create a new blueprint to help you live a better life and reach your goals.
As an example, “Jessica” had always had body image issues and even suffered from an eating disorder in her past. She ate really well, but she obsessed about her body, the food she ate, and what she looked like. It consumed most of her thoughts and caused her distress.
In the hypnotic state, her subconscious mind took her back to her past, when she was just being born. In her focused state of attention her subconscious mind took her to a scene where it became known to her that her parents didn’t want to have a child. While this was devastating news, it allowed her to feel the feelings she had buried deep inside of her and finally release them from her body.
Once she had done this she was able to turn her wound into wisdom. She could see clearly that her parents were concerned about money, and at the time, she represented an increase in their struggles. It really wasn’t about her, but about their fears and concerns. She was able to see that she was perfect in every way as a new little life, and her beliefs shifted about the entire experience.
She recognized that her current body image issues were an emotional resonance from this past experience that had been reinforced over time.
Since her session, she was no longer concerned about her physical appearance or obsessed with food, and her relationship with her parents improved.
This is the power of hypnosis.
Hypnosis isn’t something that someone does to you. Rather, it’s something that you do with your hypnotherapist to help bring about the changes that you desire.
You can also learn self-hypnosis. All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis; working with a hypnotherapist is secondary to that.
Really, you’re “de-hypnotizing” yourself from unhelpful beliefs that you formed early on in your life, so it makes sense that you would want to utilize this powerful technique to change your beliefs, behaviors, and patterns, without relying on someone else.
Here’s a self-hypnosis exercise (never do any hypnosis technique while driving, operating heavy machinery, while being in water, or while cooking):
- Put on some nice, relaxing music in the background
- Get in a comfortable position
- Allow your eyes relax and close
- Bring your awareness to your breathing and to the present moment
- When you breathe in, think “relax” on the inhale, and “deeper” on the exhale
- Allow your mind to imagine a beautiful, relaxing space where you feel content and safe
- As you’re in this space bring your awareness on what you want to shift in your life – letting go of stress, worry, or fear, letting go of self-criticism, forming a new healthy habit or pattern, etc.
- See a box of white light just in front of you that is empty on the inside. Place your stress, worry, fears, criticisms, or unhealthy habits or patterns inside the box.
- See the white light enveloping what you put in the box, and notice that it has shifted and transformed.
- Notice what is being offered to you in the box now and pull it out to receive it. This will be just what you need right now in your journey.
- Bring in a feeling of relaxation from your safe space and, when you feel ready, you can slowly open your eyes.
You can also give yourself suggestions with self-hypnosis. When you give yourself a suggestion follow the steps below:
- Make sure the suggestion you’re giving yourself is fair to what your subconscious thinks. If you adjust too far towards the opposite of what you’re experiencing, your subconscious mind may reject it because it has a belief that is counter to what you’re saying, so make sure your suggestion is accessible and believable to both you and it.
- Form the suggestion in the present tense and be specific. Example: I go jogging for half an hour each and every day.
- Use your imagination and see yourself doing what you’ve just suggested.
Your mind can become your best ally, and what I’ve found is that by honoring your body, mind, and spirit, you can bring about lasting change that will help you live your best life.
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P.S. The world needs more hypnotherapists! Becoming a hypnotherapist was one of the best things I have ever done and it’s one of the most rewarding careers you can have. Click here now to access a great resource to help you become a hypnotherapist.