There are several important facts to know when learning how to hypnotize yourself. Although it is possible for anyone to learn hypnosis, self hypnosis techniques are something that need to be practiced. This article will guide you through the basics of learning self hypnosis.
- Start With The Facts.
- All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Really! The best hypnotists know they are simply your guides into and during the trance state; so when you learn hypnosis, you become your own guide.
- There's a difference between hypnosis and trance. Hypnosis is the act of leading yourself or someone else into trance. Trance is an altered state of mind and what we will be learning a little more about here.
- You've been in a trance! Well, probably not this moment - but if you think you have never been in a trance before, think again. Involved in a good book or movie, daydreaming about a pleasant experience or sometimes just watching television, most likely you've been in a trance and didn't even realize it. Surprised? Most people are. That's because most people still believe that hypnosis is something that's done to people as it's been portrayed in some old (and pretty awful) movies.
- "Hypnos" is the god of sleep. When people first discovered that the state of trance could be formally attained, they still weren't sure what it was. They also didn't know why the hypnosis techniques and procedures they were using worked. Since most persons in trance close their eyes and become very still, it appears as if they are asleep. Hypnosis is a word derived from the name of the Greek god of sleep, "Hypnos." Although it is a misnomer, it has stuck and is a source of continued misconceptions about hypnosis and trance. A knowledgeable hypnotist will make sure you don't slip off to sleep during trance work. When you hypnotize yourself, if you are in need of a good snooze it's best to practice self hypnosis some other time. You are going to be doing mental work. Relaxation, deepening, suggestions and alerting take focus, and you can't remain focused when you are sound asleep.
- Other misconceptions. Some people are afraid they will get "stuck" in trance, especially when doing self hypnosis. You may become comfortable enough in your own trance that you choose to ignore minimal interruptions; however, you will always be alert if you need to be. You are in control of your own state of mind. Other people are afraid they will do or say something that is totally inappropriate or completely against their conscious control or wishes. The truth is, you won't do anything under "hypnotic influence" that is totally against your will or wishes. That's one reason you will be phrasing the suggestions you make to yourself very carefully. You want to give yourself every reason to act on the changes you want when you alert from trance.
- You are more open to suggestion in trance. The process of induction and deepening during hypnosis helps you set aside the critical filter of your conscious mind. Once that is accomplished, you have direct communication with your subconscious mind. That's important because getting your subconscious mind to accept and agree to the changes you would like to make is what it's all about. When your subconscious mind is on board with an idea, it's much easier to act on the changes in your daily life.
- What it's like. Most people want to know what it's going to "feel" like if they have never been formally hypnotized. It can be different for each individual, but almost everyone reports that it feels great and is a wonderful, very pleasant experience. If you have ever been in that "in-between" place as you wake from a good night's sleep, you may have an idea of what it feels like to be in trance. In this state, you are aware of your own inner dialog and sensations. You are calm and comfortable and you usually feel deeply relaxed and comfortable. It's this "in-between" place that you are aiming for in your self-hypnosis.
- Get Ready. Some people experienced with self hypnosis are able to attain their trance state in a matter of seconds and in the most unlikely places. Starting out, you will want to give yourself the best opportunity for success.
- Choose a comfortable place in familiar surroundings such as an easy chair or sofa in your own home. You can lie on your bed, however, if lying on your bed makes you want to go to sleep, it's best to choose another spot.
- Pick your "best" time of day. In other words, if you are a "morning person," plan your self-hypnosis session for early in the day.
- Allow yourself plenty of time. Altogether and allowing for an unhurried experience, your self hypnosis session should take around 30 to 60 minutes.
- Interruptions can break your concentration, so remember to turn off your phone, television, radio, beeper or anything that may be a distraction.
- Now "Just Do It!" Like the commercial says. And of course, like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it will become. When you've picked the time and place and reduced the possibility of distractions, go ahead and relax.
- Progressive Relaxation. Relaxation is a health benefit as well as one of the most commonly used and easiest ways to move into your own trance state. Follow the guidelines below to relax progressively:
- Beginning with the top of your head or starting with the tips of your toes, work slowly through your body and relax it. Focus your attention on muscles, joints, tendons (even down to the cells if you wish) and relax them all completely.
- Move slowly. Spend time on the common tension spots like your neck, shoulders and lower back. As you do this, you will notice your sense of calm and tranquility becoming more and more profound.
- Breathe easily and naturally. If you find yourself worrying about the process or whether or not you are doing it "right," take a minute to take some slow deep breaths. It will slow you down and help you focus on the relaxation and not the process.
- As you near the end of your progressive relaxation, you will notice a new calm and centered quality to your thoughts. You may also notice how still and quiet your body is while your thoughts remain very focused.
- Make one more slow sweep of your body from head to toe to determine if there are any little pockets of tightness that you might have overlooked. If you find any areas that are still a little tense, relax them now.
- When you feel completely, deeply relaxed and comfortable from head to toe (or toes to head depending on the direction of your progression), take a few moments to enjoy yourself before you move on to deepen your trance.
- Deepening. And yes, you are probably already in a light trance just by doing this progressive relaxation. As the name implies, deepening will help you enhance your trance state. There are many methods of deepening. Most use visualization and some kind of orderly movement downward to cue your thoughts further inward into your trance.
- You can picture a flight of stairs or take steps down toward a pleasant place that you picture in your mind. Some people like to imagine moving toward a beautiful beach and count the steps down a path toward it in their minds.
- The goal is to allow yourself to become even more relaxed so that your mind becomes as comfortable as your body now. Simply tell yourself that with each stair or step or number that you count down, you will become more and more relaxed, so that by the time you reach the number one, you will be deeply in trance. Which brings us to how you tell yourself things while you are in trance, which are called suggestions.
- Suggestions. You can suggest anything to yourself. Remember, you're not going to jump up as soon as you are finished with your self-hypnosis and cluck like a chicken (unless that was your goal and what you really wanted to accomplish). You should keep your goals simple and reasonable. Since your subconscious is just part of the whole you, you probably already know the best way to convince yourself to begin to act on the changes you really want. Whatever your goals are, you will accomplish them much more easily by directing suggestions to your subconscious mind while you are in trance with short positive statements. You should also talk to yourself in the first-person using "I" rather than "you" when you remind yourself to get started on that new project. (See "Quick Tips" for a helpful hint.) When you are finished with your suggestions, it's time to alert from your trance.
- Alerting. Alerting can be as simple as "waking up" when you are done. Most people like a gradual alerting and use this time to wrap things up by giving themselves some closing suggestions. You can suggest to yourself that the more you practice your self-hypnosis, the easier it's going to get. You can do a short review of the suggestions you have already made and tell yourself that you are ready to act on them when you alert. You can also give yourself a little treat and a great boost for the day by suggesting that as you move back toward full wakeful alertness, you will feel more and more refreshed, rejuvenated and really good with each number you count up. Complete your alerting process by counting from five to one or simply open your eyes.
That's it. You have hypnotized yourself. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and you now have a wonderful tool for making the changes you want. Go ahead and discover the possibilities.
CJ Winfrey, C.Ht.
~~As a man thinketh within himself, so he is.~~
National Guild of Hypnotists
American Board of Hypnotherapy
American Alliance of Hypnotists