Self-hypnosis is another technique of relaxation. First of all I need to address some myths about hypnosis and clarify them.
Some of us may have seen a show which featured stage hypnosis: a group of volunteers went on stage, and at the suggestion of the stage hypnotist started to act like musicians or dancers, or just looked like they were totally “out of it”. Immediately we shake our heads at the very idea of hypnosis. Brainwashing, losing control and not knowing what we are doing comes to mind, and this does not sound like a good idea to us. Clinical hypnosis is not designed to get us”out of control” at all. We are in control, we are merely allowing our mind to slip into another ego state.
Normally we rely on the left side of our brain in our intellectual functioning (provided that we are right hand dominant. If we are left hand dominant, the right hemisphere is the one which is mostly utilized).
Automatic behavior patterns
If we are allowing ourselves to become deeply relaxed, the other side of the brain is the active one: if you are right-handed, it is the right side of the brain which is more active in a deep state of relaxation. If we were hooked up to a EEG machine (which can measure the brain wave activity), a different wave pattern would be seen by a technician who is trained to read these tests (Ref. 4).This is the technicality. Now we look at the practical side of being in an altered state. There is nothing complicated about it. It is easy. You have switched to this state many times in your life. I’ll give you one example. You are going out of the house, and a mile away, you wonder, whether you have switched the lights off (or the iron or another appliance).
Focus on a conversation
You turn around and go back home to prevent trouble, but when you check, all is well: the lights are off, and the appliance is switched off. You did it “automatically”. A similar event could be an animated conversation on the telephone or time with some friends. Before you know it, an hour or more has elapsed. You wonder, where the time went. It moved past you, but you did not notice it, as your focus was entirely on the conversation.
You can practice self-hypnosis alone or with the help of a self-hypnosis cassette or disc
Sit in a comfortable recliner chair or lie down in a comfortable spot. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Visualize yourself at the most relaxing place you can envisage. You may envisage yourself lying on a warm, sandy beach or at some other serene setting. Now imagine the clear blue sky with white clouds high above. Put yourself onto one of those clouds and drift, slowly and gently into a state of profound and satisfying relaxation. You can count from 10 backwards to one: Ten…you are letting your muscles in your neck become soft and let all the tension go. Nine…let the warm relaxed feeling flow into your arms and all the way to your fingertips. Eight…as you continue to breathe in and out deeply, the feeling of relaxation flows into your chest and into your abdomen.
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All the time you drift more and more, deeper and deeper relaxing. Seven…allowing yourself to rest, nothing concerns you, nothing interrupts you, and you enjoy the feeling of letting go. Six…the sense of rest and relaxation fills you with a gentle warmth, which expands to the muscles of your thighs and your legs, all the way to your toes. Five…as your muscles are relaxed from head to toe and your mind is free from all daily concerns, you let the warm wave of relaxation carry you. Four…relaxing more and more. Three…drifting, floating, relaxing. Two…you are taking all the quiet, the sense of peace and the calmness that fills your mind, as you are preparing for your work and for returning from your journey into this relaxed state. You are becoming aware of the sounds around you, as you are feeling yourself waking up. One…fully awake now, rested and comfortable.
Self-hypnosis is like a power nap experience
This would be a suitable exercise for self-hypnosis. You will soon find out, that it can become like a “power nap”. It is a skill that you can use to unwind from a day and fall into a comfortable sleep. You may want to use it as a relaxation break after a stressful morning at work. Relaxation cassettes or discs can be very beneficial and are easy to use, as the voice of the therapist can help you achieve a state of deep relaxation. You should, however, never attempt to listen to a cassette or disc when you are driving or operating machinery!
How much time to invest in self-hypnosis
If you wonder, how much time you have to invest in such an exercise, you can be assured, that you will not need hours and hours. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes, which will be ample. Find the relaxation technique that appeals to you most, or meditate, and incorporate breathing exercises.
These would be some examples for meditation or relaxation. Like with any exercise, you will get better with practice and will find more benefits to your emotional well-being as you go on.
There are many very good relaxation tapes/discs. Personally, I like the psychologist, Dr. Lee Pulos’ discs.
1. B. Sears: “The age-free zone”.Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2000. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
2. B. Sears: “Zone perfect meals in minutes”. Regan Books, Harper Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
3. B.J. Wilcox, D.C. Willcox and M. Suzuki: “The Okinawa Program.” Clarkson Potter,2001, N.Y., U.S.A.
4. E.L. Rossi: The psychobiology of mind-body healing. Norton &Co., 1986, N.Y., U.S.A.
5. Vitamins and Foods. Audio-Digest Family Practice Vol 49, Issue 29, Aug.7, 2001.
6. P.C. McGraw: Life strategies. 1999, Simon&Schuster Source, N.Y., U.S.A.
7. B. Sears: “The top 100 zone foods”. Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2001. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.