Hypnosis — most people react to this word with a sense of fear or caution. But since 1958, the American Medical Association has recognized hypnosis as a successful therapeutic tool. Even more amazing…hypnosis has been around for ages! As a species, we could not learn or thrive without hypnosis. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon in humans and animals.
The word “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word “hypnos” or “sleep,” but there is no sleep in the hypnotic state. In fact, when you’re in a state of hypnosis, you are in a semi-conscious state.
Simply, hypnosis is a focused state of attention. We use our ability to focus when we study, when we drive, when we interact with others. When we hold a point of focus, we learn more quickly. Even the act of reading or “imagining” uses a state of hypnosis.
While learning, our brain organizes information into the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious mind. Using a computer analogy, the conscious mind is like the RAM (random access memory) of the brain. The hard drive or subconscious is where all of our memories or emotions are stored. The unconscious mind is the autonomic nervous system and it coordinates our involuntary and voluntary physical actions like walking, blinking, breathing, heart beating.
Many people believe that the conscious mind governs our choices, but it’s actually a servant to the subconscious and unconscious mind.
Here’s how it works: imagine biting into a really tart lemon and you feel the juice touch your tongue. You feel your taste buds start to salivate and the tangy tartness on the tip of your tongue….
This “imagining” is a state of hypnosis. There is no lemon, but yet your body and mind can feel those sensations. Your mind is using your ability to focus and access the memory, the sensations and the emotions associated with the lemon from the subconscious, thus causing the unconscious mind to be activated!
The reality is this: We’re usually in a state of hypnosis or multiple states of hypnotic programming. Sometimes the hypnotic phenomenon is surprising, like when you’re driving to work and you accidentally end up at a previous job. Sometimes it’s disturbing, as when you lash out in anger over a small incident or at someone you don’t know. Often an external event will resonate on our subconscious mind and create reactions or overreactions based on past and unrelated experiences.
Wonderfully, we can use hypnosis to de-hypnotize or de-program the self-sabotages that undermine a rewarding life. Hypnosis can be used to help people with weight, smoking, health, confidence, pubic speaking, athleticism, love, fears, phobias, pain management and more!
There are many different techniques that use the phenomenon of hypnosis in order to create change. Some of these include direct suggestion, age regression, past life regression, 5-PATH (5-Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis), NLP (neurolinguistic processing), EFT (emotional freedom technique), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and more. Also, many clients, without realizing it, often achieve hypnotic states in other healing modalities such as massage, Reiki, acupuncture, essential oils, therapy, prayer, meditation, or even listening to an inspirational pastor or speaker! Each of these processes use different levels of hypnosis and cognitive or physical approaches to help people achieve success.
Ultimately, where the mind goes, the body follows. In fact, I’m often asked: How do stage hypnotists get people to sing like Elvis or dance like a ballerina when they’re on the stage? Hypnosis is also a state of suspended inhibitions (essentially the programming that says we can’t do something is turned off). In reality, what is wrong with singing like Elvis or dancing like a ballerina? Hypnosis is like alcohol, but without the hangover (or the surly, angry fights). In fact, I’d love to open up a hypnosis bar, and instead of alcohol, I’ll just hypnotize people and they can play music, do art and more!
So, what does hypnosis feel like? For each person it can be different. Sometimes it feels like they are floating, some people feel heavy, some people feel relaxation, some people have a cathartic, releasing of emotions from the past. For each person it is different, and yet similar. The best way to describe it? The next time you notice yourself waking up and you’re not asleep, but your brain hasn’t started talking yet, is a state of hypnosis. Take that moment, and give yourself a piece of good programming: Tell yourself that you are loved. Or even better, call a hypnotherapist to help you achieve your goals and desires.