Hypnosis is perhaps one of the least understood therapeutic tools in use. While most people think of hypnosis as a way to get somebody to bark like a dog at the snap of your fingers or take off their clothes when you say the work ‘stupendous’, hypnosis can be a valuable tool in helping people overcome fears, withstand pain, or improve their ability to manage stress in their lives.
Contrary to popular belief, nobody can hypnotize you without your consent or awareness. You can, however, be hypnotized by a trained professional whom you trust, to more easily achieve goals you set for yourself. Even better, you can save time and money and learn to hypnotize yourself using your own voice or even just your thoughts, a practice known as self-hypnosis.
How It Works
Hypnosis can be used for stress management in two ways. First, you can use hypnosis to get into a deeply relaxed state, fighting tension and triggering your relaxation response. This will help to prevent health problems due to chronic stress. Next, hypnosis can also help you achieve various healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce the amount of stress you encounter in your life.
For example, you can hypnotize yourself to stick to an exercise program, keep your home less cluttered, feel more confident setting boundaries with others, etc.
You can use hypnosis to reduce the level of anxiety you feel when you encounter situations that normally trigger stress as well, such as intimidating social situations. In this same vein, you can also effectively use hypnosis to help overcome any negative habits you’ve been using to cope with stress, like smoking or compulsive eating.
The process of hypnosis involves entering a trance, or a deeply relaxed, but focused state (like that of daydreaming or meditation), and making suggestions for your subconscious mind to accept.
You can go to a trained professional for hypnotherapy, and they will talk you through it. Or, you can employ the use of books, videos, or even short articles to learn what’s involved, and achieve effective results at home.
Hypnosis is an extremely versatile tool that can be used for everything from simple relaxation to pain management in childbirth. It’s easy to do, can be quite inexpensive, and the results are lasting.
There are almost no potential negative side effects, and it can give multiple benefits at the same time. Rarely, upsetting information can come up from your subconscious mind and can be discussed and processed in therapy. Also, it is important to remember that
Hypnosis isn’t for everyone. Some people have trouble getting past their initial prejudices about the practice in general, and some have a more difficult time getting into the trance-like state required for hypnotic suggestions to become deeply embedded. Others find that they simply can’t find the time or the focus, and have an easier time with other stress-management techniques.
How Self-Hypnosis Compares to Other Stress Reduction Methods
Like meditation, hypnosis does require more focus and practice than techniques like simple exercise or the use of medications and herbal treatments, and hypnosis also requires some training or the help of a trained professional.
However, hypnosis may be a preferable option for those with physical limitations that make exercise like yoga more difficult. There are few (if any) potential negative side effects, like with some medications or herbal remedies. Also, few other techniques can offer such a wide variety of benefits.
With training and practice, virtually anyone can use hypnosis to some degree of success and experience the many benefits this technique has to offer. This is an often-overlooked but wonderfully effective route to stress relief.
By: Elizabeth Scott, MS