Wouldn't it be cool if you could just change your mind and stop doing unuseful things that don't serve you long-term, but that you keep doing anyway?
Sometimes change can feel so challenging that our behaviours become seemingly insurmountable. The reality is, they're not. People change all the time and you can too! This post will teach you how to engage the unconscious mind, so you can change unwanted thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
We don't notice it, but the human brain is in a constant state of change and you can have a say in exactly how you want your brain to change for the better. One excellent way to change your brain is to begin by changing your mind, and one of the easiest ways to change your mind is through hypnosis.
Now, when first practising self-hypnosis it's best to seek the help of a seasoned hypnotist who can introduce you to the experience of hypnosis by guiding you through it. This is because, like any new activity, when you first experience hypnosis in the presence of a hypnotist, you're more likely to succeed at it on your own later. Having a solid first-hand experience of what you're trying to achieve will help you in knowing whether or not you're getting where you want to be going.
With that said, there are no hard rules in the world of change and if you want to give self-hypnosis a run without having experienced hypnosis before, I say, go for it!
So, without further ado, here's my guide to self-hypnosis.
1. Set your intention: What would you like to achieve through hypnosis? Maybe you would like to quit smoking, ace that presentation, or become a more mindful, healthy eater? Whatever you wish to achieve, make sure you choose one thing to change and set yourself an affirmation or mantra.
One of the keys to hypnosis is repetition. Your affirmation must be stated in positive terms and easy for you to repeat internally over and over. e.g. "I am a conscious eater."
You might like to create a couple of affirmations, just make sure that they're both geared toward the same outcome.
*Don't go tricking yourself into thinking that you can set an intention without being fully committed to it. You must be sincere in your quest for change, so no crossed fingers or half intentions through self-hypnosis. You'll only end up disappointed if you're not honest with yourself.
2. Clear yourself of distraction: Find a quiet place where you won't be interrupted. If there's any chance of disruption, eradicate it. This means, switching off your phone and politely telling anyone nearby that you're busy meditating.
*Sometimes people fall asleep during self-hypnosis, so if you feel tired, set an alarm.
3. Sit or lie down: Choose a comfortable position you'll be confident to stay in for the next 10 - 30 minutes, preferably with your limbs uncrossed. Often the body temperature drops in relaxation, so if it's a cooler time of year, make sure you're covered.
4. Find a spot to gaze upon: Now that you're comfortable, choose something still in the room that requires you to look up slightly, without moving your head. Make sure your head is aligned with your spine, and then gently gaze up to your chosen spot.
5. Become absorbed in the spot: Allow exterior objects to blur as you gently, yet intently gaze at your chosen spot. From here you can become aware of your breathing, without needing to change or manipulate it.
6. Close your eyes: When you feel sufficiently absorbed in both the spot and the natural rhythm of your breath, close your eyes with the intention of completely letting go.
7. Touch your heart: Take a few long, whole, deep breaths, allowing the air to exit your body very slowly. On each out-breath place your hand above your heart and say to yourself, "Letting go."
8. Deeper and Deeper: Each time you touch your heart, become aware of the sensations within the hand touching the chest, and then the chest being touched.
Allow yourself to become absorbed in this action of letting go.
Now say to yourself, "Deeper and deeper, letting go."
9. Take your time: There's no hurry. Each time you touch your heart you will find yourself relaxing more. Continue this process until you feel sufficiently absorbed in relaxation. You will know when you're ready to stop touching your heart because it will become too much of a chore to do the action anymore.
10. Double it: Now that you're deep in relaxation, become aware of what it feels like to be relaxed, and then use your imagination. Find a part of the body that is most relaxed and double it.
This is not a matter of trying to relax but of becoming absorbed in the sensation of relaxing. Just as you became absorbed in the spot you were gazing at, you can now become increasingly absorbed in the part of the body which is most relaxed. This will naturally double your relaxation.
11. Suggest and you will receive: You're now in a state of hypnosis and have doubled your relaxation in one part of the body, suggest that this relaxation will flow throughout the whole body. Do this by simply saying to yourself, "Relaxed and heavy..." "Deeper and deeper, letting go." Repeat as necessary.
12. Go to your happy place: It sounds trite, but we all have a happy place. Somewhere we feel really comfortable and at ease. When you feel that relaxed heaviness of hypnotic trance throughout the whole body, go to your happy place.
*Your happy place needn't be somewhere exotic, it could simply be somewhere you feel most comfortable. For example, if you enjoy cooking it might be in the kitchen preparing a meal for loved ones.
13. Affirmation & Visualisation: When you're deeply relaxed within your happy place, begin repeating your affirmation/mantra. For example, "Happily smoke-free", "Articulate, Confident, Speaker", "Mindful Eater."
From here visualise yourself in a scenario where you are living out that affirmation.
14. The felt sense: You've got your affirmation gently flowing and the visualisation of yourself living out that affirmation, now slowly move into the image and felt-sense of being that person. If you struggle to visualise, that's okay. Just imagine what it feels like to be who you are becoming.
15. Stay with this feeling: Stay with it for as long as you like. It's important to repeat your affirmation and the felt-sense around it, so really allow yourself to be who you are becoming now in-the-moment.
*If you find yourself drifting off into reveries, that's good. When you notice you've drifted off, simply come back to your affirmation and visualisation.
16. You are your best judge: You'll know when it's time to return to your normal waking state. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths, stretching out, and gently opening your eyes.
Give yourself time to fully return from hypnosis by doing something nice for yourself, like a few simple exercises or making a cup of tea. Repeat this process again in a few days, or give me a buzz and I'll teach you how to do it in person.
Here's to you and your success in creating change, I wish you all the very best!