Have you ever seen a film in which there is an unscrupulous criminal who uses hypnosis to gain mental control over his victims?
Well, the first thing to say is that this type of hypnosis that makes people completely unable to understand and want is actually impractical.
The second is that the hypnosis techniques that we will discuss in this article are those applicable to oneself. So let’s talk about self-hypnosis; if hypnosis were aimed at third parties, we would instead speak of hypnotherapy.
Using this reading, self-induced hypnosis or self-hypnosis becomes a useful tool to overcome many emotional, psychological and even physical problems. Before seeing how self-hypnosis can be used effectively to achieve its goals, let’s clarify what it actually is.
What is self-hypnosis?
First of all, it is a set of techniques aimed at a particular goal, namely improving oneself, one’s self-esteem and one’s performance. Both straight and self induced hypnosis can be used for example by a sportsman who wants to improve his performance or by a manager who wants to feel more confident in public speaking.
But before seeing what self-induced hypnosis is in fact, let’s see what it is not: self-hypnosis, as well as hypnosis itself, is in no way a tool for mind control or “brainwashing”. Even if self-hypnosis can be used to sleep, it does not correspond to a temporary state of unconsciousness, let alone an unnatural or mystical state of sleep.
Indeed a person in hypnosis is in a completely natural and harmless state, is fully aware of himself and able to get out of the hypnotic state at any time he wishes. In this way, self-hypnosis looks much more like one of the concentration techniques used to focus on a goal and have more chances to achieve it than a somewhat weird method of gaining control over other people’s minds.
Of course, many people use self-hypnosis techniques to overcome everyday problems. With self-hypnosis you can in fact increase self-confidence and develop new skills. Here is a practical example: let’s say you want to use hypnosis to lose weight or to quit smoking.
In both cases, self-induced hypnosis can help you overcome some habits such as those related to food or smoking, identifying and removing the sources of stress, anxiety and tension that lead to repeating that type of behavior several times during the day.
It is therefore clear that for hypnotherapy to be effective, you need the help of a good therapist who can help you identify the cause of the problem, especially if it is regressive self-hypnosis, that is, aimed at bringing to mind the facts and traumatic events of the past; however there are some self-induced hypnosis exercises that you can also do alone to promote concentration and gain greater awareness of yourself, while at the same time spurring you to react differently in some situations.
1. Fixation of the eye
Let’s start with one of the simplest and most useful self-hypnosis techniques to achieve a state of deep relaxation: it is called “eye fixation” and reading the various steps you will understand why. The first thing to do is to find a quiet place, far from any distraction such as telephone, TV, computer and so on.
Then do the exercise like this:
Sit on a comfortable chair or armchair with your legs and feet not crossed: to facilitate relaxation, it is preferable to have a light meal and wear clothing that does not tighten the body too much;
start to fix a point on the ceiling by breathing deeply: while keeping your eyes fixed on this point, inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling; repeat within yourself the suggestion “my eyes are tired and heavy and I want to sleep” until they close;
relax all parts of your body, until you feel like a rag doll: counting down from 5 to zero, concentrate on breathing and make sure that instant after instant your body is increasingly loose and relaxed;
once you feel completely relaxed, do the reverse process by counting from 1 to 5, opening your eyes and stretching your arms and legs once you have reached the end of the count.
Repeat this technique 3 or 4 times: each time you will reach a deeper level of relaxation. It may happen that you feel a little tired after a session and it is normal: avoid driving or using machines until you feel completely awake.
2. Post hypnotic suggestions
Self-hypnosis is primarily intended to encourage you to change your attitude. You will wonder how you can achieve this simply by focusing on one goal.
In reality it is very simple: to get a change of behavior, during the self-hypnosis session you will have to give suggestions to yourself to make your attitude change. In practice you will have to suggest yourself to obtain the desired change.
This type of suggestion, advice or suggestion is called post-hypnotic suggestion: it is of course important that these are realistic and affordable objectives, otherwise the fact of not being able to achieve them will make you feel dissatisfied and frustrated.
These are the rules to best implement this technique:
be repetitive and pedantic in addressing yourself: several times (and in an ever more decisive way) you will repeat to yourself the suggestions to follow, the more you will get that your behavior will adapt;
express yourself in a positive way: to obtain a positive reaction in yourself and in others it is always preferable to use expressions instead of the positive; if you want to have a less aggressive behavior with others the command to give you is not “don’t be nervous” but “I am calm”;
use specific and above all realistic suggestions: if you want to be more productive in the company, the suggestion “I am the most skilled manager on the planet” would not be realistic, but you could say to yourself “I am the manager with the highest turnover compared to colleagues”.
At the beginning you will get small or very small changes, such as, for example, increase the sales of the contracts you follow in first person by 5%: at first glance they will seem trifling but in the end, suggestion after suggestion, adding all the intermediate results together, you will be able to achieve the desired end goal.
3. Viewing images
What is stronger than words? Certainly the images. Another effective self-hypnosis technique is based on the representation or visualization of images.
Most of these are images that represent the desired result and that involve the senses of taste, smell, hearing and touch. Try this exercise to understand how effective and realistic the depiction of mental images can be during a self-hypnosis session:
Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and imagine a lemon;
now imagine cutting the lemon in half and watching the juice come down from each piece;
now take a lemon wedge and bring it to your mouth: you can get to feel the sour taste of the lemon by making a grimace.
How to use hypnosis to achieve your goals
To understand how self-hypnosis can help you achieve concrete goals I will use this example: let’s be afraid of public speaking and next week you will have a meeting to illustrate your new project to customers.
In this case self-hypnosis can really help you. How? I’ll explain it right away: using the post-hypnotic suggestions and the method of visualizing images in a repetitive and systemic way. What will you have to repeat to yourself to help achieve your goal?
“I am loose and confident in public speaking.”
And in what situation will you have to imagine yourself? In the situation you fear most, namely that of being on a stage with a crowd of spectators in front of you.
Here is the step by step technique:
Sit in a comfortable place with uncrossed legs and feet;
without tilting your head or straining your neck, fix your gaze on the point on the ceiling, taking deep breaths and holding your breath for a few seconds while repeating to yourself “my eyes are tired and I want to sleep”; repeat the procedure a couple of times until the eyes close;
at this point, relax every part of your body by counting from 5 to zero, until you are completely loose and relaxed;
imagine yourself in the situation you want to master and repeat to yourself a positive suggestion like “I am confident, calm and relaxed” 3 times; it is important that these incitements are said with conviction as you continue to imagine yourself in that situation for at least 30 seconds;
repeat this three times trying to keep your body perfectly relaxed even when you exit hypnosis;
exit the hypnotic session by counting from 1 to 5 and opening your eyes.
What if I want to use self-induced hypnosis to reduce anxiety?
Self-hypnosis proves to be a powerful anxiolytic in that it acts right there where there is more need, that is, on your mind. The procedure is the same as described above (fixing the eyes and viewing images), but instead of imagining yourself in a stressful situation, you will have to think of pleasant and relaxing images such as a golden beach or a green hill.
Furthermore, instead of using short and pressing phrases, it will be preferable to adopt a more restful communication style: the ideal is to write a text of a few lines to be repeated within yourself or to be recorded on a digital medium.
The text could be similar to the following but feel free to edit it as you wish:
“Now I allow my body to relax until it becomes like a rag doll. As I continue to relax, I notice that the various parts of my body become increasingly warm and loose. With each breath I take, my body becomes increasingly relaxed. Now I count down from five to zero. Relaxation increases with each issue ”
“Now I imagine myself on a golden sand beach. I can feel the warmth of the sand under my feet and the warmth of the sun on my body. I can imagine that I am alone on the beach or that my body is increasingly relaxed. I listen to the sound of the sea, the waves lapping against the shore. I feel so calm, confident and relaxed that I can stay on the beach for as long as I want. After a while I imagine myself in a field on a hot summer day. There is no cloud in the sky “.
“In the middle of this field there is a hot air balloon fixed to the ground with sandbags. By removing the bags, the balloon hovers effortlessly in the sky. Now I imagine putting all my worries, anxieties and fears in the basket of the hot air balloon: while I watch the balloon rising upwards, I feel more and more relieved. The higher the ball, the greater the relief I feel. But as the hot air balloon basket becomes only a dot in the sky, my worries become more and more insignificant. As I watch this balloon get smaller and smaller in the distance, I repeat myself three times: I am letting go of my worry, fear and anxiety. ”
Exit the hypnotic state by counting from 1 to 5 and open your eyes: you will see that it will be a valid ally in the management of anxiety and that the state of relaxation obtained during the session will not abandon you for a long time yet!
You are probably thinking that using self-hypnosis every now and then can do you nothing but good: in truth, to obtain concrete results, you should use one or more of the concentration techniques with a regular, not to say daily, frequency.
One of the basic steps is to identify your goals well. Here is a series of tips to better set the results you want to achieve with hypnosis:
write your goals on paper, making sure they are concrete and achievable;
if they are long-term objectives, divide them into intermediate objectives that can be managed in various phases;
formulates hypnotic suggestions aimed at achieving these objectives, also putting them black on white;
decide the images you intend to use, for example if your goal is to relax you can imagine a beach or a flowery meadow, if instead you want to obtain a concrete result such as speaking safely in public you will have to refer to the situation itself.
If you do not immediately get a result, do not get down: maybe you just have to change your strategy, but the most important thing is to believe in yourself and persevere.