Monday, December 25, 2006

Powerful Tool for Personal Change: Self Hypnosis Simplified by Stephanie Brail

Self hypnosis can be a potent, powerful tool for change, but what is it and how does it work?

I first learned about self hypnosis when I was studying hypnotherapy. Even though I was capable of hypnotizing others, I was still confused about self hypnosis. How on earth could someone put themselves into a trance state in the same way a professional hypnotist might?

Some of what I read about self hypnosis included complicated instructions on putting yourself into a trance and then making suggestions to yourself. Were you supposed to say the suggestions out loud? How could you make suggestions to yourself if you were hypnotized? It hardly seemed easy, much less relaxing, to me.

The truth is, self hypnosis is actually quite simple. Self hypnosis is a natural state for human beings to be in. We all enter into a light trance before falling asleep. You also may be experiencing light trances throughout the day, for example, when you daydream, watch TV, or even drive your car. (Yes, when you drive your car. Have you ever driven for a while and then realized you had gone on "automatic"? It's not that you were falling asleep, but you went into a light trance while driving.)

Information on self hypnosis, however, can sometimes be confusing. You might hear that self hypnosis requires a lot of discipline, and clinical words like "induction" may be used. An "induction," by the way, is simply a process to put someone into the hypnotic state. Standard inductions include counting down numbers and/or relaxing your body from head to toe.

I will define self hypnosis as the process of putting yourself into a light trance state for the purposes of stress reduction, relaxation, and self improvement. While some consider listening to hypnosis CDs "self hypnosis," I'm not counting that type of hypnosis as "self hypnosis." Certainly, creating hypnosis audios for yourself is a good idea, if you are so inclined and equipped, but that is still using an external prop.

Self hypnosis, as I will teach it to you, will not require another person or external supports such as electronic equipment and audio files. It is something you can do anywhere, as long as you have a quiet, safe place to relax.

So how does it work?

Self hypnosis, in essence, is a form of meditation. Hypnotherapists sometimes don't like to use that term (maybe because it has too many New Age connotations), but it is simply a form of meditation or visualization. The difference between self hypnosis and standard meditation is this: In meditation, you are clearing your mind completely. In self hypnosis, you are actively filling your mind by focusing on what you want in your life.

Do not worry that you need to bring yourself into a deep trance using a special "induction" or other process. All you need to do is calm your mind and then replace your normal, negative thoughts with more positive ones.

The following method of self hypnosis is quite simple:

1. Get comfortable. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. (If you lie down, you might end up falling asleep, but that isn't a bad thing if you are doing this before bedtime or if you want a nap as a bonus.) Those experienced with meditation can also use a meditation cushion and a standard meditative pose.

2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

3. Focus on your breathing as you relax your body.

4. Now, repeat in your mind the statement or statements that you want to inject into your subconscious mind. If these sound like affirmations, they are! However, by repeating them in a meditative, hypnotic state, they will have much more power than if you just repeated them normally.

A good hypnotic statement is simple, positive, and stated in the present tense. For example, if you want to exercise more to lose weight, you might state:

"I exercise daily. I love to exercise."

It is much better to make a positive statement than a negative one. Do not say:
"I am not fat." This is a negative statement of denial.

Instead, say:
"My body is now fit and healthy."
"I let go of my excess weight."

Try to use statements that are achievable and believable to you. Start with more attainable goals and then stretch to bigger goals. Do not tell yourself you are going to lose 100 pounds if that doesn't feel believable to you. Start with 10 or 20. Also, try to focus on one major goal at a time rather than 20 different ones. Give yourself about 30 days for each new goal.

You can, of course, embellish that simplified self hypnosis process by using guided visualization.
For example, if you want to lose weight, picture yourself in your mind as a thinner, healthier you.

You do not need to spend much time each day doing your self hypnosis. It is better to do five minutes daily than one hour per month. Do not worry about getting into a deep trance state or whether you are actually hypnotized or not. You should find, with repeated practice, that using this technique will improve your situation as well as your overall mood and outlook.

Best of all, self hypnosis costs nothing! You've got nothing to lose, except your old bad habits.

For more information on self hypnosis, see:

About the Author
Stephanie Brail publishes a number of websites related to self improvement, including HappyHypnosis (, MagicMasterMind (, and OnCoaching (

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