Self-hypnosis: everything you need to know

Although the image that comes to mind when we think about self-hypnosis is that of the pendulum swinging in front of us, there is something else. If we do not give in to prejudices, we can find ourselves with a useful tool to achieve well-being and explore emotional states.

Self-hypnosis does not imply that we will lose control of the body, but that we will function differently for a short interval. The objective is to work on brain waves and states of alteration, to pass to other more harmonious ones through suggestion and words.

What is self-hypnosis for?

According to the American Psychological Association, hypnosis is a state that involves focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness, with a greater ability to respond to suggestion. From this definition, we see how a typical myth associated with unconsciousness falls.

The same is reaffirmed by Cabrera et al (2013), ensuring that hypnosis is a modality of waking consciousness that is achieved through words, visualizations and gestures. Through these it is possible to generate a certain excitement in the cerebral cortex, so that a more subconscious temporary mode of operation is achieved.

At that moment, the functioning at the motor, vegetative and sensory levels of thought, behavior and brain electrical activity changes.

Self-hypnosis is used to gain access to the subconscious through concentration and guided relaxation. The goal is the reprogramming of emotions.

It takes as a starting point the fact that people function automatically, as in constant inertia. So by bringing things to mind and focusing on them, we can analyze them, observe our behavior, and design future actions.

By learning certain behaviors or ways of responding, we get used to it, so self-hypnosis seeks to interrupt this automatic chain to propose new paths.

Uses of self-hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is used in different areas; Some of the most common are linked to the relief of chronic pain (for example, in fibromyalgia patients) and anxiety symptoms, sleep disorders, smoking cessation, childhood enuresis, and irritable bowel, just to name a few.

On the other hand, following with Cabrera et al (2013), it is important to remember that, unlike other medical procedures, self-hypnosis is harmless, in addition to being compatible with them, so it can be combined.

Self-hypnosis has been used to address digestive problems, such as irritable bowel.

It may interest you: How to treat chronic pain

What is a self-hypnosis session like?

During the self-hypnosis sessions, three strategies will be focused:

  • Display.
  • Fixation
  • Breathing.

As for visualization, what is sought is for the person to imagine himself in an environment that brings calm and serenity, that connects with those sensations and emotions that give him well-being.

The idea is to recover all the possible details, from colors and aromas to sounds, in such a way as to make the scene feel very vivid. Then, by finding ourselves at ease and at our full potential, it is about introducing the element of change that we seek to achieve.

Regarding fixation, it is used to introduce us into the state of self-hypnosis, fixing our gaze and avoiding distractions. In general, we concentrate or focus on a single point. Then it continues with the scene of the desired change.

Finally, we also work with breathing, the master key to help us lower decibels. We must graduate it, first noticing how we breathe and then changing to shorter and more leisurely rhythms. We also proceed to the scene of change.

Steps and tips to achieve self-hypnosis

Self-hypnosis requires a series of steps in order to enter the desired state. For this reason, it is recommended that the first times we do it be under the guidance of a therapist, since they can guide us on the correct way to do it.

1. Choose an appropriate environment

To achieve self-hypnosis it is important to create optimal conditions, without distractions. In this sense, we must also to turn off the mind, silencing thoughts and even movements.

For example, if we are used to moving a leg or tapping our fingers against the table, pay attention to it and interrupt it. Or, in the case of thoughts, if we are interrupted by everyday worries, don't get caught up in them.

2. Prepare for relaxation

To do this, you can start with breathing techniques, following a sequence of inspiring, holding and releasing. This will help us to enter a state of relaxation.

It is also possible to perform certain exercises to focus the mind and separate from the everyday and material. For example, what is recommended is to count from 100 to 0, or to count in intervals of 2 by 2 starting at 50 and decreasing.

Phrases of the type can be added "I'm entering a hypnotic state" and, upon reaching 0, confirm "I'm in a hypnotic state".

3. Determine and repeat your goals

This step is about focusing on what you want to achieve or change. Here what turns out is to be precise and concrete, in addition to speaking in a positive way. Instead of saying "I'm not going to leave things to the last minute", we change it for "I will try to organize myself better".

In most cases it is recommended to think about these purposes in advance. Some people even repeat them in recordings that they later use during self-hypnosis.

4. Visualize yourself in a situation

The brain tends to associate behaviors with situations, so it is necessary to visualize the change: what actions we take, how we feel, where we are.

The richer that scene is, the better. In those cases in which we cannot visualize ourselves, we can choose to use a metaphor. For example, running a race and reaching the finish line.

This scene can be reinforced through the use of an anchor. This can be varied, from words and gestures to some personal object. The important thing is that, when we think about it, when we say it or when we have it, we can remember the suggestion and the objective to be achieved.

Breathing, the right place, tranquility and concentration without distractions are elements to access self-hypnosis.

5. Finish the self-hypnosis

Finally, to leave the hypnotic state it is convenient to return little by little, take a few minutes before returning to the routine.

You can count to 10 while we repeat how we feel. For example, phrases of the type are used "I feel calmer" or "I feel more relieved to continue the day".

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Motivation for change is essential

In certain situations of suffering, carrying out therapeutic actions serves to alleviate discomfort. Self-hypnosis can be complemented with psychotherapy and medical approaches.

But what it is about, above all, is commitment and motivation for change. To encourage ourselves to explore and to come face to face with situations that we dislike and are painful to leave behind.

In this sense, it is important to know that both self-hypnosis and any other technique used will guide us to achieve results, as long as we practice them and perform them with some constancy.

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