Techniques from Mind Tools
Hypnosis, like meditation,
has a dubious image. Many people over many
years have made their living by overlaying
this practical and useful technique with
unwarranted mystical and magical rituals.
In fact, it is a useful tool for achieving
Self-hypnosis is when you hypnotize yourself.
This is often more practical as a stress
management tool than normal hypnosis, as
you do not need to have a hypnotist present.
Drawing on the same "relaxation
response" that drives meditation,
self-hypnosis helps you to relax your body,
lets stress hormones subside, and distracts
your mind from unpleasant thoughts. The
relaxation achieved with self-hypnosis can
be intense. Unlike meditation, we often
use affirmations as part of self-hypnosis
to manage stress and build self-confidence.
Affirmations are the positive statements
(based on rational thinking) that we make
to ourselves to counter stress and unpleasant
thoughts - see our article on Rational
and Positive Thinking for more information
Along with meditation and imagery, self-hypnosis
can usefully be used as a part of a daily
stress management routine.
Using the Tool:
First, decide if you want to use affirmations
as part of your self-hypnosis session (you
will still be able to relax deeply if you
do not use them). If you do, then prepare
the affirmations you want to use before
you start the session, as you will not want
to think about them once you have reached
a state of deep relaxation!
Next, find somewhere comfortable and quiet,
and sit down.
Now, relax your body. A good way of doing
this is to close your eyes and imagine waves
of relaxation running down your body from
your scalp downwards, washing out stress.
Let the waves run in time with your breathing,
first washing down over your head, then
your neck, then your torso, then arms, and
finally your legs. Feel the muscles in your
body relaxing as the waves of relaxation
wash over them.
The next step is to use suggestion to deepen
the state of relaxation. This can be as
simple as saying something like: “I
am feeling relaxed and comfortable to yourself.
With every breath I am becoming more relaxed
and more comfortable…" Alternatively,
use the traditional approach of suggesting
sleepiness: "I am tired and sleepy.
I can feel the heaviness in my arms and
legs. I am more and more tired…"
Once you feel completely relaxed, use the
affirmations you have prepared. Mix these
in with the relaxation suggestions.
Typical self-hypnosis sessions can last
between 15 and 25 minutes; however, they
can last for as long as you like.
An alternative to using self-hypnosis is
to listen to hypnosis MP3s - the benefit
of these is that you can listen to them
and relax when you are too tired to want
to hypnotize yourself. A good source of
these is Hypnosis
Downloads, whose information we show
on the sidebars. Hypnosis Downloads provide
the following relaxation and stress management
These are instantly available so you can
try them out and see their effectiveness
Self-hypnosis is a practical and effective
technique for relaxing deeply. It can be
used with or without affirmations, depending
on what you want to achieve.
To use the technique, find somewhere comfortable
and quiet to sit down. Think about, and
prepare, any affirmations that you might
want to use. Start by closing your eyes
and relaxing your muscles. A good way of
doing this is to use imagery. Move on to
use suggestion to relax yourself even more.
When you feel very relaxed, use any affirmations
that you have prepared. Enjoy the state
of hypnosis for as long as you like.