I teach self-hypnosis to many of my clients. Those who have listened to the hypnosis recordings I make for them ahead of time find it relatively easy to slip into a hypnotic state when doing self-hypnosis.
This is because their brain is already wired to go into the state of hypnosis. Those of you who have listened to the hypnosis recording referenced at the beginning of this guide will also find it easy to slip into a hypnotic state on your own. If you have not listened to the recording referenced at the beginning of this guide at least four or five times, please do. It is to your advantage to be familiar with the structure of a hypnosis session and be wired to go into hypnosis before you practice self- hypnosis.
What Does It Mean to Be In Hypnosis?
Before giving you the instructional process of doing self-hypnosis, I would like to teach you more about what it means to be in hypnosis. There are as many definitions for hypnosis as there are hypnotists to ask.
My very generic definition is this: “Hypnosis is a profound state of deep relaxation with a targeted focus.” That is not a bad description, but if you have ever seen a stage hypnosis show, then you know those people on the stage are not really relaxed—or are they?
I remember when I first started learning about hypnosis. It seemed very mystical, and getting hypnotized seemed like something only “other people” could do. I was sure I had never been hypnotized, even though I had no idea what it meant to be hypnotized.
Hypnosis is a natural state of being, one that we all go in and out of several times each day. It has a lot to do with brainwaves. If you have listened to the hypnosis recording I provided, you will recognize the beginning part referred to as the induction. The induction is where I relax you from head to toe and then do a countdown from ten to one. The intention of the induction is to slow your brain waves to the theta state. This is the state associated with hypnosis.
Understanding more about the different brainwave states will give you a better understanding of hypnosis.
There are four stages of brain wave activity we are going to look at. From slowest to fastest, they are delta, theta, alpha, and beta. As adults, we experience each of these brainwave states throughout the day, depending on where we are or what’s going on around us.
Delta is the slowest of the brainwave states, and as adults, if we are in delta, then we are in a very deep, dreamless sleep or in a coma. As infants, we are in the delta state for about the first two years of our lives (Laibow, R., 1999). Clearly, infants are not in comas, but they do not interact with their environment as we do as adults. Their little brains are like recorders. They observe and absorb everything in their environment. As they do so, they create millions of neural pathways based on what they are experiencing; the good, the bad, and the ugly. They do not yet have the cognitive ability to compare, contrast, or analyze what they are experiencing.
They don’t even have language skills yet, so they’re not processing in terms of words. You know when you get older, and you recognize your parents in your behavior? This is where it comes from. Everything you experienced as an infant is recorded in your brain in the form of neural pathways and becomes the “norm” according to your subconscious mind.
Next up is Theta. This is my favorite because this is the brainwave state most often associated with hypnosis. Depending on what you read or who the author is, some authors identify the alpha state as more closely related to hypnosis. It is your ability to get into this state that allows clear and open communication between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind as you practice self-hypnosis.
As children, we evolve from the delta state to the theta state at around age two and have access to delta and theta exclusively until we are around six or seven. Theta state is fun! It’s where we combine reality and fantasy, not yet having the ability to discern between the two, so it’s easy to understand why kids at this age easily believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and so on. Again, children at this age are not interacting with their environment the way we do as adults. They are recording, observing, and absorbing everything in their environment free from the filters of analyzing, comparing, and contrasting.
As adults, we go into this theta state at least twice each day and sometimes more. We always go through the theta state, right as we are waking up in the morning and right as we are falling asleep at night. This is why I recommend doing your self-hypnosis first thing in the morning. You are already so close to that theta state that it’s easy to get right back to it.
Around the ages of six or seven, our brains evolve into the Alpha state. This is a big deal because, for the first time, we have the ability to analyze, compare, and contrast. This is the birth of the “conscious” mind. Up until this point, we have been operating only from the subconscious mind, in a state of hypnosis, you could say. All of a sudden, the idea of a jolly fat man in a red suit flying around the world in a sleigh, delivering presents to everyone in one night is preposterous. Before our brains evolved into the alpha state, it made perfect sense. All the programs and all the neural pathways that have been created from birth to this point remain active, unchanged until you consciously access this vast warehouse of the subconscious mind and update your programs. What beliefs and values did you acquire as a youngster that are in direct opposition to what you believe today?
Once we evolve into the alpha state, we are able to process information in a more sophisticated manner. We can do higher-level math problems, we are more socially aware, and the world takes on a very different quality than in previous stages of development.
Our brain development takes another leap into maturity around the age of twelve as we enter the Beta brain wave state. Over time the beta brain wave state continues to refine its
development into low, middle, and high beta brain wave activity. This is where we spend much of our time as adults as we manage our hectic and sometimes chaotic life schedules.
The Critical Faculty
The conscious mind and the subconscious mind work in tandem, thank goodness, but there is an invisible wall separating them. This wall is referred to as the critical factor or the critical faculty. This wall is very thin and easy to “soften” for those who are very visual, imaginative, creative, or artistic. For those that are analytical or linear thinkers, this wall is a little thicker. It is this wall that has kept your conscious mind from communicating clearly with your subconscious mind to create permanent change in your life.
For example, your conscious mind knows that you want and need to stop snacking each night while you’re watching TV, but until you get that message to the subconscious mind, the habit mind, not much is going to change. The momentum of the subconscious mind will win out every time. Remember, the conscious mind only contributes 1-5 % of what’s going on compared to the 95- 99 % of the subconscious mind.
Hypnosis is the process of relaxing you to the point that your critical faculty, that invisible wall, dissolves, and your conscious mind has a clear path to the subconscious mind via the imagery of your words, and voila! That’s how you create the new habit of being a non-smoker, or how you find it easy to eat healthy food or to create other habits by choice. This is how you program yourself to make change. All you have to do is relax yourself to the point of reaching the theta state, and then review the imagery and the emotions of how you’d like your life to be. This is how you communicate with and rewire the subconscious mind and how you master the Law of Attraction. You can create anything you want. The sky is the limit.
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