It is a fact that we hypnotize ourselves all day long, every day.
Through the constant mental chatter that we engage in, our inner monologue, we remind ourselves of who (we think) we are.
We tell ourselves what kind of people we are:
What we do and what we avoid doing, what the nature of our world is, how we fit into the world and countless other things.
If our limiting or destructive ideas have been causing us suffering, then self-hypnosis can point the way towards personal growth and healing.
Self hypnosis as a deliberate practice involves replacing undesirable streams of consciousness that we keep repeating to ourselves with more positive motifs through concentration, imagination and emotion.
We focus our full attention upon an idea, reinforce that focus - and hopefully - accept that new idea as a new foundation for our thought processes.
It can thus be of great service in helping to rid our minds of unhealthy beliefs and introducing new, more life-affirming ones.
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We can employ it through a variety of methods, including creative visualization, repeated verbal suggestions (often referred to as mantras) and more dramatic expressions such as play-acting.
When can hypnotism be of particular help?
The answer depends upon a number of factors, including our degree of inner distress or agitation, how well we know our own thoughts and beliefs, and what our real goals and values are in life.
Then we must consider the question of approach, because we have recourse to both self-hypnosis and formal hypnosis, which relies upon the services of a formal practitioner.
The first can be done entirely alone - responding to self-administered suggestions - or with various aids such as self-hypnosis audios (see below).
The success that we may have with the latter is largely dependent upon two factors: the skill of the hypnotist, and how able and willing we are to accept the suggestions.
Formal, in person hypnosis may be of help if you're having trouble isolating problematic thoughts on your own, or if certain beliefs are so tenacious that you can't rid yourself of them despite how much you want to.
This is usually a sign that they are reinforced by other, invisible, ideas; and a good hypnotist can help to shine a light on those darkened places within your mind.
In the end, however, we are always responsible for our own healing processes.
We may as well commit to trusting ourselves and experiment with the power of our own hypnotic suggestions.
What makes this such a crucial practice is the reality that our thoughts and feelings create our life experience. Confronting the beliefs that we hold, the beliefs that mold and shape our lives, and rooting out the ones that are causing us unhappiness and dissatisfaction is one of the most crucial steps we can take towards our own growth and healing.
You may have heard a lot about how hypnosis can manage pain, relieve anxiety, and help you stop smoking, drinking, and over-eating.
You may also want to know how it works before trying it.
It's actually surprisingly simple.
The hypnotic trance is something you are more than likely already familiar with.
Have you ever gotten lost in a really good piece of music?
Have you ever tasted something that was so good that you didn't notice anything else going on around you?
Have you ever been working so hard on something that you didn't hear somebody talking to you?
Then you have already been in a trance.
A trance is simply the state of mind that you get in when something demands a lot of your attention: the parts of your mind that normally pay attention to everything else get shut off for a little while.
On the one hand this lets you concentrate better than ever. On the other hand it also lets you really relax, both physically and mentally.
In this way it is very much like meditation, and carries many of the same benefits.
Whenever you have a compulsion to overeat, or to light up a cigarette, or do any other unhealthy thing, there are usually one or more subconscious issues that are at the root of the problem. The hypnotic trance relaxes you so that your conscious mind, the part that is always thinking and worrying, quiets down. This makes the faint distant voices of your subconscious mind easier to hear. The therapist then guides your thinking so that the super-focus of the trance state can help you find out what the problem is with a minimum of fuss.
Many problems, such as anxiety, are caused by instinctive reactions to external stimuli. For example, when something makes you uneasy, you tend to instinctively tense your muscles up, which makes you even tenser. This feedback loop can turn being startled into a full-blown panic attack. The hypnotic trance can be used to learn new, healthier reflexes. In a hypnotic trance, the therapist can guide you to learn to deliberately relax your muscles when you are startled instead of tensing them up, interrupting the feedback loop. It can teach you to instinctively think of calming, relaxing things instead of frightening things.
Feeling pain is as much a mental matter as a physical one. Even people living with a chronic physical condition that causes pain can learn to lessen that pain through hypnosis. By learning to hypnotize yourself, you can learn to enter the relaxed-yet-concentrated trance state and push the pain into the background.