Self-hypnotherapy is actually pretty common. It isn’t as complicated as how hypnosis is depicted in films. People can regularly go on a hypnotic state effortlessly once or twice a day without them even knowing.
Yes, if you ever got engrossed in painting your Gundam, or had been unable to put a good new book down, you’re probably in a self-induced state of hypnosis already. Getting hyper-focused into something unwillingly (or at will) is actually a skill and the basis for self-hypnotherapy.
There are benefits to practicing self-hypnotherapy, so being able to do it could free you from deep issues that have been affecting your quality of life.
How Does Self-Hypnotherapy Work?
Sigmund Freud believes that the human mind can be split into three areas of consciousness:
- the conscious (the shallowest part responsible for making sense of things),
- the subconscious (a deeper level that controls how we feel and bodily functions like breathing), &
- the unconscious (the deepest part where our trauma is supposedly hidden).
When someone reaches a relaxed hypnotic state, he is able to access a deeper level of his consciousness and rewrite or reprogram how we feel, how our body reacts, and how the mind thinks.
Rewriting/reprogramming means introducing positive thoughts into a person’s subconscious. When this person re-alerts or “re-awakens” from his hypnotic state, those new ideas should affect his conscious mind and lead to behavioral changes.
Contrary to popular belief, self-hypnotherapy actually isn’t a quick fix. Because every person is different, some may need to repeat the process several times or practice relaxation techniques daily, before a change slowly occurs (see this article if you can’t seem to get hypnotized).
Reasons to Use Self-Hypnotherapy
Almost anyone can learn self-hypnotherapy. A person just needs to learn how to focus every day and believe that anything is possible. Just think about how athletes challenge themselves, how musicians learn a new instrument, how artists break barriers with their masterpieces, or how public speakers are able to talk to a crowd effectively. All of these things are possible if you’re using self-hypnotherapy to accomplish a specific goal.
Other common reasons why people learn how to hypnotize themselves include:
Stop Smoking and Other Addictions
Ask anyone who used to be a smoker and he/she would say that quitting is probably the hardest thing they’ve ever done. If you tried nicotine patches, prescription meds, cold turkey, or other smoke cessation methods in the past but nothing seems to work, maybe you’d be more successful in kicking the smoking habit through hypnosis.
Do note that this works better if you hire a hypnotherapist who could customize their hypnotherapy for addiction technique based on your personality, lifestyle, and preference (see also Porn Addiction Hypnosis).
Anxiety & Stress
Hypnosis has been an effective relaxation technique for hundreds of years. If you have medical-induced anxiety (the type of anxiety that occurs to people who have chronic health conditions like heart disease) or any kind of phobia (intense fear of something), nonverbal cues like slowly breathing can encourage your body to relax and in turn, benefit from reduced stress thanks to hypnosis or self-hypnosis for anxiety.
For people who struggle with insomnia, hypnosis could help relax your body and mind to encourage a longer and better quality of sleep.
Sleepwalkers would also benefit from self-hypnotherapy since they’d be able to train themselves in waking up whenever they feel their feet hitting the floor.
Some studies have shown modest weight loss (around 5 pounds a year) with hypnotic suggestions. Although this technique has more chance of working if combined with diet, exercise, and help from a hypnotherapist.
Even mental health issues can be addressed by hypnosis. Because confidence is a state of mind, people can train their inner voice to bring positive change in how they perceive themselves. Boosting one’s confidence can benefit a person’s professional and personal relationships, reduce stress or anxiety, and improve overall happiness (see also ‘Hypnosis for Happiness‘).
Pain Management and Medical Benefits
Self-hypnotherapy might not be the go-to prescription of doctors when handling cases of chronic dyspnea, irritable bowel syndrome, or other chronic pain (such as tension headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia), but many medical professionals are aware of the existence of hypnosis techniques for pain.
An impressive example of this comes from dental surgeon Victor Rausch, who only used self-hypnotherapy as anesthesia during his gallbladder removal surgery.
Is Self-Hypnotherapy the Same as Meditation?
There’s a reason why meditation and hypnotism are associated with one another. Both programs are free-to-practice and involve people entering a calm, deeper, relaxed state with a single, usually positive goal in mind.
Meditation and hypnosis may also improve physical and mental health in the long run with repeat practice. The only difference is that meditation focuses on achieving peace and clarity in the present moment, while self-hypnotherapy aims to go deeper into a hypnotic state, where your subconscious mind would be more open to suggestions.
How to Use Self-hypnotherapy To Achieve Your Goals
The following guide isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide. Hypnosis is a very personal subject and experience, so the steps below are highly customizable.
For self-hypnotherapy to work, you must have an open mind. You cannot go into this process involuntarily. You must WANT to be hypnotized, be unafraid of being hypnotized, and have a reason why you’d like to access your subconscious.
2. Find a Spot
The environment you choose to sit in whenever you practice self-hypnotherapy is important. You won’t be able to focus properly if there is noise and distraction around you. If possible, dim the light and sit comfortably. When ready, breathe in and out, then count to 5.
Before you close your eyes, you must first try to relax different parts of your body to release tension. Start with your arms and hands, followed by your shoulders, back, and neck. Breathe properly when you focus on removing tension from your stomach, chest, legs, and feet. Once you feel a deep sense of calm, this is when you can begin the actual hypnosis.
4. Imagine a Calm Scenario.
The imagery would vary, depending on personal preference.
Most hypnotherapists ask you to imagine:
- A staircase where you’d be going down 10 steps (as symbolism for your subconscious going deeper). You should feel your head more relaxed.
- Once you reach the bottom, you’ll see a door that transports you to a beach, forest, or another place you find most peaceful.
- Walk around the place and stop only when you find a treasure chest.
- When you open the chest, you’ll find a piece of paper with a statement written on it.
This statement is the message you’d want your subconscious to act upon.
5. Introduce a Suggestion. You don’t need to tell your subconscious an essay while you’re in trance. Work on short, specific statements that are positive, genuine, and true to your beliefs. For example:
- “I am a non-smoker.” “I am sober.” or “I am a non-drinker.” are statements you might point out if you’re trying to fix an addiction.
- “I am confident.” “I am in control.” “I am focused.” are suggestions that could help if you feel tense before a public-speaking event.
- “I am having fun at work.” “I am most relaxed in my office.” are suggestions that could help relieve stress from a deadline-beating day at work.
6. Get Back to Alertness.
From the scenario or picture, you made on step #4, follow the path but going back to the beginning of your journey. In this case, start from the treasure chest, walk going to the door, and then climbing up the stairs, back to where you came from.
Before you open your eyes, count backward from number 5 to 4, 3, 2, 1 and tell yourself “I’m awake now. I’m wide awake now” to make your subconscious aware that the hypnosis is finished.
The suggestion you introduced probably wouldn’t take effect immediately. In most cases, you’ll see the change gradually. Some people even get shocked that their goals have been reached without them noticing any changes.
Note that you can customize the imagery on steps 4 and 6. It is more effective in inducing relaxation if your process feels personal.
Wrap Up: What to Do if Self-Hypnotherapy Isn’t Working
Self-hypntherapy can be beneficial to a person’s overall well-being, but some people require the help of pros. If you find that self-hypnotherapy isn’t working, don’t quit just yet. Perhaps try booking a session with a hypnotist or hypnosis therapist, and see if you’ll be able to achieve your goals through this route.
For some people, training under pro hypnotherapists is helpful and more practical since they would be able to teach you how to reach trance effectively, create suggestions that would work, and build proper imagery for your goals until you are confident to do it yourself.
Once you’ve successfully achieved hypnosis on your own and ultimately feel positive changes in your life, there’s a huge possibility that you’ll be incorporating hypnosis for the rest of your life.