What is hypnosis? There are many misconceptions based on movies, swinging watches, and stage hypnotists. Read on to find out how you’re much more familiar with hypnosis than you might think….
Self-Hypnosis: You Do It All The Time
A lot of people think of hypnosis, or trance, (they can be used interchangeably) as a strange altered state, when in fact it’s a common everyday thing. We’re all familiar with times when we’ve just drifted off, losing sense of time. Jogging, reading, driving, watching TV, listening to music, commuting on the subway–these are all trance states and are times when the unconscious takes control.
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.–Einstein
The unconscious mind is in control of as much as 95% of our behavior, which means our conscious mind is only really in control of 5%. This explains why it can be difficult to tackle problems only on a conscious level. The best way to make positive changes is to ensure that the unconscious is helping you, not fighting you.
Hypnosis is a focus of attention and quieting of the conscious, analytical mind. This focus offers peaceful inner awareness and the ability to relax deeply enough to recognize and use resources that might otherwise be overlooked.
When you’re in a hypnotic state, you’re able to pay closer attention to your own sources of information and guidance, enabling your unconscious mind, where all your deeply held beliefs, behaviors, and habits are stored, to make positive changes easily.
What Should I Expect
I think the biggest misconception about hypnosis is that you’re unconscious–you’re actually aware of everything that’s going on (just like a Reiki or reflexology session, you’re relaxed).
A hypnosis session is very similar to a guided visualization, except rather than having the practitioner lead your mind to a beautiful place like a sunny beach, providing all the details that the practitioner THINKS are relaxing, you are more in control. (For example, maybe you hate the beach and prefer to imagine being in the mountains, etc. In fact, I had one client tell me how unrelaxing she finds nature, so I never assume!)
The client is more in control because as the practitioner I never know for sure what you personally are going to find helpful. It varies so much from person to person. By guiding you and helping your conscious mind relax and drift off, you’re able to connect to your unconscious (or Higher Self, intuition, whatever you want to call it) and that’s where you’ll find the answers and wisdom on what you need to do to make a positive change.
Try This: The Movie Technique
I can teach you how to do this more thoroughly in your next session, but here’s a little taste of self-hypnosis.
This works with your mirror neurons: when you watch yourself in a movie, the brain acts as though you’re actually doing it. (Most pro-athletes use hypnosis and techniques like this to improve their performance.)
Pick a focal point and soften your gaze. Count down from 10 to 1, opening and closing your eyes with each count, and feeling a wave of relaxation each time. Imagine sitting in a movie theater watching a short movie of yourself on the screen, having made some positive change or achieved a goal you’ve been working towards. Float into the movie and try it on.
Do this once or twice a day and notice what happens.