What Is Hypnosis?
There is a lot of hype around ‘hypnosis’, but it is a shockingly common state that we all experience on a regular basis. Hypnosis is simply a state of having your attention acutely focused and narrowed on a single object or idea.
Hypnosis is a highly focused state. That’s it. Some people talk about being in a ‘flow state’, where they are highly concentrated and absorbed in the task they’re performing. Where outside distractions seem to disappear, time slows down, and they’re acutely focused.
This TEDx Talk by Lucas Handwerker explores how hypnosis can help us to positively influence the negative limiting beliefs we hold in our lives:
Common Examples Of Hypnosis
We all go into hypnotic states all the time. Think about the last time you drove a car and realized you drove completely on ‘auto-pilot’, that was a hypnotic state. Or being fixated on a movie or TV show, where you get deeply absorbed and experience the characters emotions as your own.
People that are glued to their phones are in a hypnotic state. The world around them vanishes (even if they’re crossing the street!), and they are fully absorbed in their conversation or number of Instagram likes.
Similarly video games, meditation, long walks on the beach, watching a sunset, cooking your favourite meal, listening to music, having a deep conversation with a close friend, binge watching Netflix – these are all common examples of when we all enter a state of hypnosis.
What Is A Trance?
By contrast, a trance is slightly different, even if the terms get used interchangeably. A trance refers to entering the daydream state. We all daydream – it’s our mechanism for looking inside our own minds and solving problems.
Daydreams allow us to unlock our inner creativity and unleash our imagination, to visualize the future, or use lateral thinking to solve problems in unconventional ways. A daydream trance allows us to remove ourselves from the business of day to day life, and ignore external stimuli while our brains process significant volumes of information.
What Is A Hypnotic-Trance?
A hypnotic-Trance is the intentional combination of hypnosis and a trance-like state. The purpose is to both narrow and focus the mind, as well as removing external stimuli to help unlock the subconscious minds innate ability to create and experiment.
The hypnotic-trance is the special state that a trained hypnotherapist will help induce within their client, to help them heal, rewiring the brain in positive ways, letting bad habits go, and helping with the formation of new and positive habits.
What Are The Benefits Of Being Hypnotized?
Being hypnotized by a trained hypnotherapist can allow the patient to overcome a range of issues, generally related to emotional regulation. For example, over-eating, stress, fears, anxieties, phobias, depression, emotional outbursts.
More specifically this could help clients to lose weight, learn to enjoy exercise, reduce stress, overcome fears, learn to love public speaking, start flying again, control anger, overcome addictions to tobacco, alcohol or drugs, and generally feel more positive and optimistic about life.
This short video by Marissa Peer explores why self-hypnosis holds the key for success in our lives:
Is It Possible To Self-Hypnotize?
At this point the benefits of hypnosis should be pretty clear, however, the thought of visiting a hypnotherapist could still feel daunting. Fears ranging from ‘it’ll be too expensive’ or ‘will they turn me into a chicken’ or ‘I don’t trust them’ or simply ‘I’d rather hang out in my undies’ are all valid concerns.
So what if you could take the power into your own life – what if you could take control and hypnotize yourself? It’s definitely much more comfortable to laze around in your undies.
While it is more effective (and faster) to be hypnotized by a professional, it is shockingly easy to hypnotize yourself. Think of it like this: if you recorded a 30 second audio that said ‘I love exercising, I love lifting heavy weights, I love the feeling of my muscles stretching and ripping and growing back stronger’ – and you looped it, and listed to it over and over and over again – you just successfully hypnotized yourself.
You started the process of speaking directly to your subconscious mind, by eliminating distractions, and focusing intently and what exactly was important to you: exercising your muscles.
By listening to that audio over and over again – when you wake up in the morning, when you got for walks, when you eat lunch, when you’re falling asleep – overtime your subconscious would get the message loud and clear: you LOVE exercising.
And the more that your subconscious knows deep down that you love exercising, the more your subconscious will push you and remind you to exercise. After all you’ve now created the image in your mind that you’re someone who loves exercising, so it would go against your self-image to not exercise. And the subconscious loves to maintain that self image.
The Steps To Self-Hypnotize
There are several ways to self-hypnotize, but here is the simplest (and fastest) that I recommend.
- Record a quick 30 second audio file. If your goal is to lose weight you could say ‘I love the feeling of eating light, wholesome, small meals, I love how they make me glow!’, or if you want to relax and relieve stress you could say ‘I’m walking through a calm forest, the breeze is tingling on my skin, the gentle sounds of a sunshower are soothing and relaxing’, or if you wanted to develop deep concentration and focus you could say ‘I love my work, I love getting so intently buried in my work, I love problem solving, I love seeing solutions that others cannot, I love focusing so hard that the entire world around me dissolves and melts away’. Get my point?
- Loop that audio. Some phone audio players have an ability to run an infinite loop, or if you have fancier video/audio production software you could create a 15 minute repetitive audio file.
- Sit comfortably. Find a relaxing chair, plant both feet on the ground, take 3 deep and slow relaxing breaths. Allow your body to melt and relax into the chair.
- As suggested by Grace Smith, repeat these words to yourself “I’m calm, I’m safe, I choose to be here”.
- Listen to your audio on repeat for 15 minutes.
- Once finished, open your eyes and attack the day.
- Repeat 3-5x through the day. Note: this does not always need to be done sitting – you can listen while out for walks or eating meals – the main point is repeat the audio over and over again – to drill those positive reinforcing messages deep into your subconscious.
How Long Does Self-Hypnosis Take To Work?
As with everything, it depends how suggestible you are, and how excited you are to listen to your own suggestions. Side note: in order for hypnosis to work you MUST be excited by what you’re trying to achieve. You can’t force yourself to do something you really don’t want to do.
They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. So my recommendation would be to give yourself a full month. Give yourself a full 30 days of listening to your audio 3-5x per day, before you pass any judgement. This will allow the proper time necessary to communicate with your subconscious.
Never forget that the subconscious is a bit of an enigma, and it doesn’t like to be told what to do. This is why the subconscious hides itself below the realm of the conscious mind. It loves hiding out of site.
Be patient with yourself, and keep at it. Don’t be discouraged if after a single day you’re not superman. Real change takes time. Give yourself a promise and commitment that you will listen to your audio regularly, at least 3-5x times per day, for a full month before you pass judgement and decide it doesn’t work.
If the goal you set is something that you truly want to achieve, your whole mind, body and soul will start focusing in that direction. Remember in the Law of Attraction: what the mind focuses on, is what it manifests.
If you focus your attention on eating healthy, you’re going to eat healthy. If you focus your attention on loving the feeling of ripping your biceps to shreds, you’re going to rip ‘em to shreds. And similarly if you focus on being calm and relaxed, you’d be surprised to find yourself calm and relaxed.
For those that want to go deeper – here is an 8 hour relaxing, meditative and theta brainwave inducing piece of chilled out music: