If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying hypnosis. Spending even a few minutes in self-hypnosis can restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can practice self-hypnosis. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
And you can use self-hypnosis wherever you are —out for a walk, riding the bus, at the dentist’s or even in the middle of a business meeting.
Hypnosis, also called meditation, has been practiced for thousands of years and aside from healing, was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, hypnosis is commonly known to be used for relaxation and stress reduction.
Hypnotherapy is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine and produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. Hypnotherapy is administered by a clinical hypnotherapist, who will guide you into a calm, receptive mindset wherein they can deliver pre-determined suggestions to help alleviate emotional, behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms.
During hypnotherapy, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
The Benefits of hypnosis
Hypnosis can give you a sense of calm balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. It can help carry you more calmly through your day and is often used to improve certain medical conditions.
Hypnotherapy and emotional well-being
When using hypnosis, you clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.
The emotional benefits of hypnotherapy can include:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
Hypnotherapy has been proven to be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress and research suggests that hypnotherapy may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Sleep problems
A fully competent, trained and insured clinical hypnotherapist should never offer hypnotherapy as a replacement for traditional medical treatment. But will suggest it as useful addition to your other treatment.
Types of hypnosis
Hypnosis is process of focussed attention which leads to a more relaxed state of being and heightened suggestibility. There are many types of relaxation techniques that have hypnotic components. All of them share the same goal of achieving inner peace.
Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, you are advised to form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You are usually led through this process by a guide or teacher.
Using mindfulness, you broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during relaxation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions, but let them pass without judgment. The general result being an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment.
Mantra repetition has you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts and embed suggestions into your subconscious mind.
Qi gong generally combines relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance.
Tai chi is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. A self-paced series of postures or movements are performed in a slow, graceful manner while practising deep, relaxing breathing.
Transcendental hypnosis is a simple, natural technique in which you silently repeat a personally assigned mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase, in a specific way. This form of hypnotherapy allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inspiration and uplift.
Yoga has you perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.
Elements of hypnotherapy
Different types of hypnotherapy may include different features to help you affect the change you desire. These may vary depending on whose guidance you follow.
Some of the more common features in hypnotherapy include
Focused attention. Focusing your attention is generally one of the most important elements of hypnotherapy. Focusing your attention is what helps free your mind from the many distractions that cause stress and worry.
You can focus your attention on such things as a specific object, an image, a mantra, or even your breathing.
As you get more skilled at self-hypnosis, you may be able to do it anywhere, especially in high-stress situations where you benefit the most from hypnotherapy, such as a traffic jam, a stressful work meeting or a long line at the grocery store.
Relaxed breathing. This technique involves deep, even-paced breathing using the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. The purpose is to slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently.
Quiet surroundings. If you’re a beginner, practicing self-hypnosis may be easier if you’re in a quiet spot with few distractions, including no television or phone.
A comfortable position. You can practice self-hypnosis whether you’re sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions or activities. The more comfortable you are the easier it is to relax into a hypnotic state.
Everyday ways to practice self-hypnosis
Don’t let the thought of relaxing the right way add to your stress. If you choose to, you can attend special hypnosis centres, associations or group classes led by trained therapists. But you can also practice hypnosis easily on your own.
And you can make the relaxation as formal or informal as you like, however it suits your lifestyle and situation. Some people build mindset work into their daily routine.
For example, they may start and end each day with an hour of self-hypnosis/visualisation/meditation. All you really need is a few minutes of quality time.
Here are some ways you can practice relaxation on your own, whenever you choose:
Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation.
Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
Repeat a mantra. You can create your own mantra, and continuously repeat it which will allow the suggestions to begin to embed into your subconscious mind.
Walk. Combining a walk with self-hypnosis is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you’re walking, such as in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall.
Building your self-hypnosis skills
Don’t judge your hypnotic skills, which may only increase your stress; Self-hypnosis takes practice
Keep in mind, for instance, that it’s common for your mind to wander during hypnotherapy, no matter how long you’ve been practicing hypnotherapy. If you’re relaxing to calm your mind and your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, sensation or movement you’re focusing on.
Experiment, and you’ll likely find out which techniques work best for you and you enjoy doing.
Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to relax. What matters is that the relaxation process helps you reduce your stress and feel better overall.
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