Hypnosis is possibly one of the least understood tools in a therapeutic setting. For those unsure of its benefits, this form of therapy utilises the power of positive suggestion to establish subconscious change, affecting the way we think, feel and behave – in helpful ways of course!
Despite what many think, hypnosis is a therapy that requires your consent. There’s no chance someone can hypnotise you into meowing like a Cat at the sound of a tin being opened – so you needn’t worry, you can’t be hypnotised without your awareness. It’s just not that kind’a party.
The process is actually really helpful and can help to alter our states of consciousness in ways that calm the conscious parts of our mind whilst simultaneously acknowledging the subconscious part.
There are trained professionals working all over the world who have the skills and abilities to help transform your life through their practice. For those of us who aren’t quite ready for that, don’t have the time or money to support that type of therapy, you can learn to hypnotise yourself in a practice called ‘Self-hypnosis’.
To get you started, Harley Street hypnotherapist, author and international speaker Tom Fortes Mayer has provided 3 simple ways to learn the technique in the comfort of your own home. Passionate about helping people lead happier lives through the art and science of hypnosis, Tom is a post-graduate from the highly acclaimed London College of Clinical Hypnosis – so, you are in good hands.
TRY IT: SIMPLE RELAXATION
This exercise introduces you to one of the most basic principles on which hypnosis relies. Learning how to relax is a fundamental part of the process. With practice, it is a relatively easy state to achieve.
1. Sit in a comfortable position and find something to stare at. Take a moment to become completely still.
2. Soften and relax the stare. Then start to stare into the distance as though you were looking out to sea, while at the same time maintaining awareness of the space before the point on which you are focusing. Also try to be aware of everything else your eyes can see, even though you are not actually looking at it.
3. Choose your moment to become totally transfixed. Then slow down your breathing, making each breath last for as long as possible. Allow your eyelids to feel tired and try to induce your vision to blur slightly.
4. Gently close your eyes and rest in total stillness, simply noticing relaxation flowing through your body. Do this for as long as it feels good.
TRY IT: MODELLING BEHAVIOUR
If there is someone you admire who is particularly good at something you would like to be better at, this exercise will help you to bring out the latent potential inside you.
1. Close your eyes and relax your body by deepening your breathing. Slow everything down and focus your mind. Do this for a minute or so to get deeply relaxed.
2. Then take a moment to imagine a situation where you would like to have more of a particular skill, ability or characteristic. You could call to mind a real situation from your past, or you could imagine a hypothetical scenario.
3. Invite the person you admire or respect to join you and visualize them managing the situation or demonstrating their ability. Take a moment to really enjoy watching them buckling down successfully to the task.
4. Rewind the scene to the beginning and float into this other person’s body. Imagine being them and being aware of everything they think and feel. Take a moment to re-experience the situation as them, with all of their grace, ease and skill. Just simply enjoy experiencing that emotionally without knowing how.
5. Repeat the experience a few times and then ask that person to give you some advice about the things you could change in your life, or how you could approach this kind of situation differently. You might imagine them vividly talking to you or you could find yourself daydreaming all sorts of new ways to think and feel about this situation or this new skill set. Take some time to simply enjoy feeling more capable in this area.
TRY IT: DEALING WITH INSOMNIA
If you are prone to sleeplessness, you are not alone. Self-hypnosis can help you to overcome the problem and fall into a deep sleep that should last through the night. Try this simple four-step sequence:
1. Progressively relax your muscles while also focusing on breathing slowly, deeply and naturally.
2. Visualize yourself in a tranquil place, such as a mountain meadow filled with wildflowers or a quiet tropical beach.
3. Continue breathing deeply and slowly, keeping your thoughts focused on the image in your mind.
4. Tell yourself that, as you relax, you will drift comfortably into a satisfying slumber from which you will wake up refreshed the following morning.
Alternatively, counting sheep makes use of two powerful aspects of hypnosis – visualization and the mantra-like repetition of numbers. For it to be really effective, count backward rather than forward.
What is Hypnosis? by Tom Fortes Mayer © Tom Fortes Mayer 2016 published by Watkins Media Limited, London is available to purchase for £7.99 here.