Many people simply assume that hypnosis is something that must be “done to” them—as such, the idea of self-hypnosis can sound rather strange. However, others swear by self-hypnosis as a way to address everything from anxiety to unhealthy habits, chronic pain, low motivation and confidence problems. In fact, any time you give the suggestions to yourself or use audio recordings to induce a hypnotic trance in yourself, this is a form of self-hypnosis. So, does self-hypnosis really work, and what are the best self-hypnosis techniques? Here are the key facts you need to know.
How Self-Hypnosis is Used
Self-hypnosis is now very common, and is recommended not only for self-identified problems but also for enhancement of positive traits. For example, you might want to improve your focus, boost your creativity, or enhance your natural problem-solving skills. Broadly speaking, it can be used to adapt and change any behavior, attitude or emotion.
How to Perform Self-Hypnosis Unaided
Firstly, let’s consider how self-hypnosis works if you aren’t using any kind of recording to help you. There are many different techniques you can try, and self-hypnosis is possible only when you find one that works for you. However, eye fixation self-hypnosis is one of the most powerful and well-supported approaches. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Write down 1-2 sentences that clearly and aptly represent the change you want to make (e.g. “I no longer want to smoke” or “I am calm, competent and confident”).
- Find a relaxing, distraction-free environment where you can focus exclusively on self-hypnosis, and sit comfortably.
- Fix your eyes on a point in the middle of the wall or the ceiling, and silently say to yourself something along the lines of the following: “My eyes are heavy, and I want to close them now.” Let them close naturally in response to several repetitions of this phrase.
- Feel your body becoming progressively looser and more relaxed. Let your limbs become floppy.
- Count backwards from 10 to 0, all the while telling yourself that you are slowly becoming more and more relaxed. When you get to zero, breathe in and out several times, focusing on deep, slow breathing.
- You are now in a highly suggestible state, so you can make post-hypnotic suggestions that can shape your feelings and behavior. In your head, repeat the 1-2 sentences from the first step several times, slowly and with confidence.
- Spend 3-5 minutes visualizing yourself making the changes you say you will make.
- Repeat the 1-2 sentence suggestions several more times.
- When you feel ready, return to the space around you by counting upwards from 1 to 10. As you count, tell yourself that you are becoming aware of your environment and will open your eyes when you get to 10.
- Open your eyes, stretch if you need to, and sit for a moment before returning to everyday activities.
If you repeat this on a daily basis for several weeks, you will likely find that self-hypnosis does actually work—even when you do it without assistance.
Self-Hypnosis Audio: Does it Work Better?
When research is performed on the question “does self-hypnosis work?”, some of the results suggest that using self-hypnotherapy is most effective if you do it with the aid of prerecorded sessions. This is partly because you do not need to remember the steps involved—you simply follow the instructions of the recorded hypnotherapist.
How do self-hypnosis CDs work?
Essentially, a skilled hypnotherapist records a generic session to help with a specific issue, and its impact should be much the same as it would be if you were sitting in their office. The relaxation process, suggestion stage and session ending will all be designed to facilitate self-hypnosis therapy, so the question “How self-hypnosis actually work?” reduces to the question of whether hypnosis works more generally. Since there is ample evidence to suppose it does, you can expect self-hypnosis tapes to work to the same extent.
There are also clear benefits associated with choosing this approach over in-person sessions. Firstly, you can choose the environment, time and setting, and you don’t have to tailor your self-hypnosis work to anyone else’s schedule. You may also find it easier to relax when you’re in your own home, or resting in your own bed. You can also opt to listen to the recordings as often as you like—some people listen to them up to three times a day—while conventional hypnotherapy sessions are often conducted only once a week.