Self-Hypnosis For Stress And Anxiety Relief | How Does It Work & What Are the Benefits?

The state of hypnosis can best be described as a state of highly focused attention with heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis is sometimes but not always accompanied by relaxation. Where a person such as a psychiatrist causes hypnosis in another, that is called hypnotherapy. When hypnosis is self-induced, it is called autohypnosis and is also referred to as self-hypnosis.

What is Self-hypnosis?

Self-hypnosis involves entering a state of deep, focused attention while giving positive suggestions to help one achieve their objectives. Self-hypnosis is often confused with hypnotherapy, which refers to the process where a therapist takes over the role of the subject by offering positive suggestions. Self-hypnosis requires one to use a word or phrase that you will repeat each time.

Self-Hypnosis in the Medical Field

Self-hypnosis is used widely in modern hypnotherapy and may be used in the management and treatment of conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders by improving the quality of sleep
  • Obesity
  • Asthma

Besides being used in the treatment of various medical conditions, self-hypnosis is also an incredibly useful relaxation technique, especially for pain management during childbirth. With continuous practice, it can improve concentration, enhance your problem-solving skills. Hypnotherapy can help us reduce automatic, subconscious responses and empower us to manage our emotions.

Common Steps in Self-Hypnosis

There are four distinct concepts in self-hypnosis:

  • Motivation

One requires proper motivation in order for the hypnosis to work; otherwise, you’ll find it very difficult doing it yourself.

  • Relaxation

For self-hypnosis to work, you need to be relaxed, free from all tension and stress by breathing deeply. In addition, your environment should be free from all distractions since you need full attention.

  • Concentration

When carrying out self-hypnosis, you need to be fully immersed in the process. Concentration is vital.

  • Direction

This aspect is crucial, especially when you want to focus on a goal or objective. It would help if you directed your full concentration on visualizing your desired result.

Can I Use Hypnosis on Myself?

Yes. Self-hypnosis is the practice of achieving the same hypnotic state as if you were working with a psychiatrist.

Performing self-hypnosis helps build personal confidence for people with low self-esteem as well as overcome related problems, such as a fear of the public. You can even use it to achieve your goals. It’s the perfect way to stay focused and motivated on your ambitions. With constant training and practice, anyone can use hypnosis.

Self-hypnosis is a safe practice often used to alter one’s behaviour, feelings, and attitudes. Some individuals, for example, use self-hypnosis to help them cope with daily issues. The best self-hypnosis audios can help people gain trust and also learn new skills. It’s perfect for relief from stress and anxiety and can also help you break bad habits like smoking and overeating.

Self-hypnosis can help athletes improve their performance, tolerate pain and also helps patients recovering from chronic discomfort or associated health issues(hypnosis should only be used in this way after a medical diagnosis has been made and under the guidance of a doctor or qualified therapist).

Here’s how to put yourself into a hypnotic state:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit

You can use hypnosis anywhere, but the locations need to be free of distractions to help you focus. Ensure you’re comfortable and have enough room to sit or lay down in a comfortable chair, but the latter can cause you to fall asleep. Remove or loosen any fabric that is too tight. Give yourself a 20-30 minute timeframe of uninterrupted preparation time.

  • Implement some breathing techniques

Breathe deeply and slowly, finding a rhythm and settling into it. Inhale and exhale four times, but each time you breathe in, hold for a short moment, then release; this will lengthen your exhalation, relaxing you even further. Remember to keep your eyes closed for added concentration.

When you focus your mind on these areas of the body, imagine the tension dissipating. Following that, a sense of relaxation and concentration should emerge, which is an important aspect of the hypnosis process.

  • Use visual imagery

Picture yourself in any location that brings you comfort or peace; it may be somewhere in a peaceful meadow or at the beach on a sunny day. Visual imagery adds to the effectiveness of the process.

  • Engage all your senses

Hypnosis requires you to engage the five senses; it keeps you grounded. Feel the ocean breeze on your face; watch the grass blow in the light wind.

  • Choose an affirmation or hypnotic suggestion.

It should be tailored to your needs at that specific moment, e.g. I am safe, I got this, I am relaxed.

  • Return to your normal state

When you’re comfortable, begin to return to your usual state of alertness to bring the self-hypnosis to a close. Count to five slowly and remind yourself that you are getting more conscious of your surroundings. Open your eyes and extend your arms and legs to the count of five.

Repeat this procedure three or four times, noting how relaxed you get each time. If you don’t feel like you’re relaxed as well as you’d like, don’t push it. There is a learning curve of self-hypnosis, so make a commitment to doing it on a daily basis.

a girl stretching after the self hypnosis

Tips on Hypnotic Affirmations and Suggestions

Below are some helpful pointers on how to make hypnosis effective:

  • Structure the suggestions about the changes you want to see in yourself rather than circumstances or people outside your influence. Don’t make suggestions for two or three different topics at the same time.
  • Positive, present-tense language is more likely to elicit a favourable response from our minds than negative directions.
  • Make suggestions that are precise and attainable: make suggestions that are attainable.
  • Repetition is one of the most critical rules of self-hypnosis; it helps you cement the ideas in your mind and increases the likelihood of significant transformation.

Pointers on Improving Your Self-hypnosis

  • Make time for hypnosis: It’s possible to forget to do self-hypnosis in our busy lives. Setting aside time per day for self-hypnosis and including it in your personalized routine will be beneficial.
  • Please continue to practice: like yoga, it’s a skill that takes time to master. You will find that entering a hypnotic state becomes easier with practice. You may also note that your comments had a stronger impact on lowering anxiety and stress levels.
  • Keep your target in mind: When you perform self-hypnosis, remember to keep your attention on reducing fear. Keeping the intent of your sessions in mind will help you stay concentrated and productive in your work.

Does Self-hypnosis Work for Anxiety?

Anxiety is a term used to refer to psychological disorders associated with feelings such as fear, panic and nervousness. While anxiety is common in our day-to-day lives, it can get problematic for some. There are people who find it difficult to cope with or control feelings of anxiety and panic.

Studies estimate that approximately 280 million people across the globe suffer from anxiety.  Anxiety and associated disorders manifest with symptoms such as:

  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Agitation and feeling restless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling on edge
  • Problems with sleep
a man with his head bowed

Self-hypnosis for anxiety is useful in managing all anxiety-related disorders. It produces therapeutic benefits such as relaxation and focus. Hypnosis is vital in calming down patients who face anxiety during anxiety-inducing medical procedures such as:

  • Dental surgery
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Self-Hypnosis for Anxiety: How to Use Hypnosis to Reduce Anxiety

If you’re struggling with anxiety, you can learn self-hypnosis techniques to help relieve the symptoms. You go through a procedure that makes you calm and concentrates your mind during a hypnosis session. This is similar to sleep, but the mind would be more concentrated and responsive to positive suggestions.

It’s thought that when you’re calm, you’re more likely to rely on your subconscious mind. This encourages you to delve further into and overcome some problems and stressful situations you may be grappling with.

Can Hypnosis Help With Stress?

Stress left untreated can be dangerous to your health and wellbeing. It causes the body to shut down essential functions by triggering the flight-or-fight sequence, which in turn causes the blood to divert to the large muscle groups.

Other systems such as the reproductive and gastrointestinal systems are put on hold to conserve energy. Cortisol is responsible for triggering this sequence; when in high unregulated amounts, it suppresses the immune system, blood sugar imbalance and even fertility problems.

Causes of stress

External or internal factors can cause stress. These include:

  • Injury or illness
  • Financial problems
  • Retirement
  • Pessimism
  • Negative self-talk
  • Perfectionism
  • Loss of a loved one, relative or friend
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • Incarceration

Self-hypnosis or hypnotherapy can also help in protecting the immune system against the negative effects of stress on the body. It can be used in stress management by breaking unhealthy and negative thought patterns. This is done through the subconscious.

What makes hypnotherapy effective in stress management? The answer is by addressing the underlying emotions that trigger and feed stress. Hypnotherapy relies on the conscious and subconscious mind to get down to the source of the problem. During the state of hypnosis, the subconscious is more active and accessible.

Through guided imagery, suggestions and relaxation, one can reprogram undesirable habits and beliefs that cause or contribute to stress. Hypnosis is open for anyone willing to follow through with the procedure. Below are some hypnotic techniques to manage stressful situations:

  • Relaxation to release any tension in the body
  • Reframing through the use of guided imagery – a cognitive behavioural therapy technique and imagination
  • Memory regression where you revisit past events that may be the cause of stress


Self-hypnosis is useful when confronted with circumstances that usually cause stress or anxiety, such as intimidating social situations. In a similar way, you can successfully use it to help you overcome and provide relief to any unhealthy coping tendencies you’ve developed to deal with stress, such as smoking or compulsive feeding.