To Understand how to use self-hypnosis, it will be easier to first examine “hypnosis” itself.
Hypnosis: noun – A procedure in which suggestions (from the “operator,” “hypnotist,” or “guide”) are given (to a subject) during a state of focused awareness.
In other words, a hypnotic process is underway any time a person’s attention is focused and possibilities are offered for their consideration.
- “Let your body relax totally, from head to toe”
- “You will awaken feeling alert and fully rested.”
- “Picture in your mind the most relaxed, peaceful place you could imagine.”
- “Imagine you can hear your beloved grandmother’s voice.”
If your attention is focused on any of these suggestions, the phenomena of hypnosis tend to ensue. You enter a light “trance” state.
If this is done over a longer period of time, say 10 minutes, you will tend to go to a deeper level, especially if gentle music is playing in the background. And if you are listening to a talented storyteller, you can go even deeper, since you don’t have to know what suggestions to use next. The more experienced the storyteller, the more deeply you can go into the experience.
Benefits Of Self Hypnosis
What we are saying is that any experience that takes you into a relaxed or inspired state of mind by guiding your focused attention is de facto a hypnotic state, no matter what people may call it. By this definition, then, we can see quickly how television, PR agencies, political propaganda, religions, and advertising regularly make use of hypnotic processes. And obviously, it can, like any other powerful tool, be put to bad use as well as good use.
There is no mystery about how to use this tool. It’s just that most of us are denied the right to know about how to use it for our own good, while the same “powers that be” are using it to delude, mislead, and control us. The bad use is all too visible around us, so we will focus on the good uses, the positive application of the hypnotic process to produce healing, wellness, and optimal performance.
Hypnosis is widely used by physicians and psychologists in the treatment of physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral dysfunctions. In keeping with this therapeutic use of these tools, Dr. Miller has developed this definition:
Hypnosis is a process using a particular collection of tools and skills that:
- Enable a person to move in and out of various states of consciousness.
- Enable the user to guide awareness (the conscious mind).
- Are used to enhance or diminish certain patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, believing, or relating.
- May affect the behavior of the cells of the body, the emotional state, the thoughts and images in the mind, and the belief system.
- Used properly, can facilitate healing and wholeness at every level of system.
The “Hypnotic State”
There is no one “hypnotic state;” there are, however, many different states of consciousness that can be reached through suggestion, using self-hypnosis techniques. Through the use of hypnosis, for example, the guide can lead a subject into very deeply relaxed states, states of joy, or states of extreme excitement and activity.
Therapeutic Trance States – You Are Always In Control
Generally speaking, the state of consciousness that is most useful for stress management, self-healing, and behavior change is a relaxed, accepting, quiet, inwardly focused state. This is the one usually aimed for in self-hypnosis as well since it allows deeper self-awareness, presence, and the ability to access and change physiological and behavioral patterns.
The way you achieve these states is through following a series of “suggestions,” possible ways of thinking that are offered by a guide to the subject (patient or client). An example might be to think of the most enjoyable vacation you ever had. If you begin to imagine yourself in that vacation place and even visualize the scenery around you, you will tend to enter a state of consciousness very similar to the one you had on the vacation: peaceful, happy, and relaxed.
On the other hand, you could choose not to hold that image in your mind. You have the power to think about what you want with your mind. But if you do allow yourself to follow the suggestions of the guide, you are much more likely to experience the benefits of a self-hypnosis program.
In a very real sense, then, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
The term self-hypnosis is used to refer to the situation in which a person is giving suggestions to himself or herself. To gain access to the powerful tools of self-hypnosis, you need to learn how to induce (or allow a self-hypnosis audio recording to induce) a relaxed, receptive, trusting, open state of consciousness through a series of suggestions given to yourself (autosuggestion). Dr. Miller often refers to this as the “healing state.” Next, you offer yourself specific healing suggestions designed to induce your mind and body to function in a more positive way. (Of course, this process is much easier if the instructions are learned by listening repeatedly to recorded suggestions, such as are found in our Online Store.)
“Suggestions” carry the real “payload” of the hypnotic process. These suggestions may be very simple: “As you let out that deep breath, let yourself sink deeply into the surface beneath you.” Or they may be quite complex: “Return to that memory in the third grade and relive it, this time handling the situation fearlessly, with a sense of self-confidence.” It depends on each unique situation.
A good hypnotherapist is one who is an expert at formulating suggestions that offer the mind powerful, compelling, positive images of the future, and effective ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving in certain situations.
The power of self-hypnosis can help you bring about profound change, healing and positive growth in yourself.
The Power of Your Mental State
If you are like most folks, you might notice that your state of consciousness changes from day to day, and sometimes several times a day. In one moment you feel enthusiastic, and in another, bored. You might feel romantic in one moment, and in the next, very unresponsive.
Self-hypnosis programs can be used to help you change from one state of mind, or from one mood, to another. Each mood is a kind of mini-hypnotic (or hypnoidal) state. Thus there is actually no specific state that can be called truly “not hypnotic” – unless it is pure enlightenment!
For instance, imagine there’s a day when you’re feeling great, and then suddenly get really bad news: a call comes in that your stocks crashed and your life savings have just gone up in smoke. That news changes your mood, your thoughts, and what you say and do.
Next, imagine that an hour later you get another phone call informing you that the previous one was in error, that the truth is that you have just won the lottery. Presumably, there is a dramatic change in how you feel – for the better. Actually, nothing has really happened to you physically except that on both occasions, your mental image of yourself and the world changed.
If a person in a receptive trance state is told they have touched poison ivy, they can break out in a rash; if told they are naked outside on a snowy day, they shiver; if told there is an open bottle of ammonia, they can smell it. This is due to the fact that there is a direct line between the images you have in your mind and your body – hypnotic techniques simply help you use this connection to improve your life.
Of course, the kinds of suggestions offered during hypnotherapy, or that you give yourself while listening to a guided imagery audio experience, are designed to enable you to heal more rapidly, manage stress, improve your performance, change your behavior patterns, and become the person you most want to be.