Several years ago, I made an appointment with a hypnotist to quit smoking. In all honesty, the smoking was just an excuse-I had always been curious about hypnotism and used smoking as my reason to go. I did actually stop smoking after my appointment, but more importantly, I learned how to utilize self-hypnotism in my everyday life, and still use it to this day. For those who have never experienced hypnosis, it is probably nothing like what you imagine. You don't black out, lose control, or do anything that you wouldn't normally view as acceptable behavior. If I had to describe the feeling of being under, I would say that it feels like that moment when you are on the very brink of sleep, but not quite asleep yet. You know that relaxed, floating sensation that starts to take you away, when you are almost dreaming? That's what being deeply under feels like. And do you know how you feel when you are in this state, and the phone rings? How you almost jump out of your skin? That is also the way you react to stimuli when you are under hypnotic suggestion; even though your conscious mind may feel slightly out of it, your subconscious is exquisitely attuned to what it going on around you.
After trying it out, I became fascinated with the topic. To a certain extent, we hypnotize ourselves daily. When we drift off and zone out, we are partially engaged in a hypnotic state. When we are actively daydreaming, we are in an even deeper state of self-hypnosis. Most people can be hypnotized, but it is MUCH easier to hypnotize someone who has frequent daydreams: their minds are already prepped to go under. I also learned that rolling your eyes up into your head is a gauge of how good of a subject you are. If your eyes can roll all the way up, until only the whites are showing, you will likely go and stay under very easily. If, on the other hand, you can barely get your eyes to roll, you probably aren't a good subject.
The beauty of self-hypnosis is that it can be molded to fit whatever your needs are at the time. As we all know, we only use a tiny fraction of our brains. The subconscious mind is the real powerhouse, and we can access this through hypnosis. I am so intrigued by the powers of hypnosis that my next plan is to find a way to incorporate it during sessions with my patients. It really adds a whole new dimension to the term "mind-body work"!
It costs between $80-$120 to set up a hypnosis session...but fortunately, I'm going to teach you the basics for free. Aren't you glad you decided to read my blog today?
First of all, I have found this easier to do first thing in the morning, before your mind is all clouded up with the stresses of the day. Set your alarm clock ten minutes early. Then, think of something you need to accomplish during the day. It could be anything. If you are trying to lose weight, maybe your goal is to work out and stick to your diet. If you are a student, your goal might be to retain all the info you need for a test. Your goal might just be to feel relaxed and stress-free throughout the day, or to just feel happier in general. Whatever it is, visualize it, then let it go for the moment. Now, if you are lying in bed, find a spot on the ceiling and focus your eyes on it. If you're in a chair, do the same thing with a spot on the wall. Really stare at this spot until it is all you can see. As you are staring, start from ten and relax each part of your body, starting with the toes, and using a very deep breath to punctuate each number. Here's what you should be saying to yourself as you start counting: "As I count backward in my mind, each breath takes me deeper under. Ten. (Take a long, slow, deep breath, then let it out just as slowly. Each "command" you give to yourself should be covered within the length of one long inhale and exhale.) Every muscle in each foot is loose and relaxed, sinking into the bed. All of the muscles are relaxing, letting go. With each number my mind is sinking deeper...Nine (another deep breath) Now this feeling of relaxation is moving up my calves, all of the tension is flowing out of these muscles as well, as everything starts to relax. My mind is settling even deeper into this state of relaxation...
You get the point, I hope: every breath corresponding to a group of muscles releasing all their tension, moving up the body until you get to your head. By the time you get to two or three, you almost feel as if you are floating. At this point, say to yourself, "When I reach one, I will be completely under, and open to only my own suggestions." Now, roll your eyes up as far into your head as you can, then close them. Continue taking the deep breaths and punctuating your commands to yourself with each one. Think of whatever you want to accomplish, then turn it into a command. For example, if you are utilizing this to study, in one breath you might day to yourself, "I will have the focus and concentration to absorb all of the information I read today." In the next breath you might say, "The information that I read will be easily retained and accessible to me." Modify this to fit your own needs.
After you have planted all the necessary suggestions into your subconscious, tell yourself that you will start to come back, starting with one and ending with ten. With each number and breath, you will take a step closer to being awake and alert. Tell yourself that when you get to ten, your eyes will open and you will be energetic and ready to start the day. Then simply reverse the original process, counting forward from one, feeling energy flow into your muscles from the head down with each number. At ten, open your eyes.
This may seem time-consuming to do, but once you get the hang of it, it can be done in less that five minutes. And the more you do it, the easier it is to go under. Your mind starts to become used to dropping into this state, and after a while, you can enter this state with very little effort.
And there you are-a simple guide to self-hypnosis. Hopefully it was easy enough to follow. If not, feel free to email for more details.