Defining Hypnosis and Meditation and How You Can Benefit

Updated on October 30, 2017
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I'm passionate about health, wellness, social issues and relationships. I offer relatable content and solid advice.


So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind.

What to Do When You Feel Lost

Years ago, I wasn't in the worst spot or the best spot—I was unhappily floating between the two. I wanted to make changes. Life seemed to happen to me and I was tired of the way it was going, so I tried hypnosis.

I got my start in hypnosis as a bartender at the ripe old age of 21. I didn't have enough money to go to college and I'd already read most of the self-help and psychology section (before Google) at the bookstore. I moved onto the subject of hypnosis.

I was interested in hypnosis because it seemed like a giant leap toward being proactive about my life. I was bartending when a customer saw my stack of hypnosis books behind the bar. He thought it was amusing that a young individual like myself was interested in a subject that seemed equivalent to most as "magic" and "nonsense."

The customer missed his ferry boat to the city so we chatted about hypnosis. He was a co-owner of a school for hypnotherapy. He had been a practicing hypnotherapist for 20 years. In the next year to follow, I learned a lot from him as he extended an offer to attend his workshops.

My first magical feat was losing 15 pounds. My goal was to eat healthier, and I accomplished it with hypnosis. My next goal was to go to college. I did, and even graduated with honors (in psychology). I used hypnosis to achieve good study habits and test-taking skills because I had never been an outstanding student prior.

In recent years, I started incorporating meditation into my wellness routine. Meditation has a lot in common with hypnosis. I've begun to use hypnosis more often again, but in a different format (combined with meditation), called guided meditation.

Guided meditation is a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner, either in person or via a sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music and/or verbal instruction.

Listening to a guided mediation is convenient!
Listening to a guided mediation is convenient! | Source

What Is Hypnosis?

What I learned about hypnosis is that it's quite possibly the easiest, most foolproof self-help tool to achieve benefits in a fairly straight-forward way. That is, once people get over their preconceived notions about it.

It's very encouraging because it doesn't take as long as traditional meditation to enjoy the benefits. However, there is still a stigma around hypnosis that makes it a hard pill to swallow for some people.

The appeal of hypnosis was the deep relaxation that I had never felt before—I experienced this on my first use! The solid science backing hypnosis which has been successfully used for many issues was an added bonus.

Both hypnosis and meditation induce an extremely deep, relaxing and calming state of mind (alpha and other brain waves). You can escape daily stressors which contribute to maladaptive patterns, bad habits, and behavior. Both therapies produce health and psychological benefits by releasing stress and anxiety.

Meditation takes practice, but hypnosis can work the first try. Hypnosis also takes relaxation a step further by using specific, positive suggestions to the subconscious brain. The suggestions are typically addressing one or more specific goals of the individual.

While meditation initially seemed like artificial or forced relaxation for me, I recognized hypnosis in everyday things I already experienced in my life. Have you ever driven down the road in a daze? Stared into the flame of a campfire or fireplace? Ever daydreamed as if stuck in a trance? Zoned-out? It feels easy and natural. Science tells us we enter a hypnotic state a few times per day.

Hypnosis is not mind-control—you are never doing anything you don't want to. Stage hypnosis is different, but not harmful; it's just for entertainment.

" The subconscious mind is decidedly simple, unaffected, straightforward, and honest. It hasn't got all of this façade, this veneer of what we call adult culture. It is rather simple, childish, and direct. " Milton H. Erickson (father of hypnosis)

A Tale of Two Minds

Hypnosis acknowledges that your mind is divided into two substantial areas: the conscious mind and subconscious mind.

The conscious mind is your reasoning, preferences, likes, and dislikes, judgment, filters, and bias. We are typically quite aware of these thoughts and claim it as our identity.

Your subconscious is not full of filtering and reasoning. It is easily programmable as you have been doing all your life, mostly unaware of it all. The subconscious makes you cry when you hear a sad song—it's a gut instinct, second nature, habit. It affects our lives constantly.

Hypnosis accesses the subconscious mind by inducing a relaxed state and by re-programming negative thoughts into positive goals. In a relaxed state, you are able to accept new information.

History of Hypnosis

Hypnotism as a tool for health could have originated with the Hindus of ancient India, who often took their sick to the temples to be cured by hypnotic suggestion or "temple sleep," a practice of staying at night at a temple for meditational self-observance and communication with the gods, called Nidra in India.

Have you ever tried hypnosis?

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The Conscious and Subconscious mind
The Conscious and Subconscious mind | Source

Meditate for Wellness

Meditation is revered as the ultimate form of healthy relaxation with numerous benefits:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Improve focus
  3. Increase self-awareness and mindfulness
  4. Improve physical health, such as immune function
  5. Become happier

Meditation is training the mind to be absent of thoughts in order to reduce stress. Focusing on the breath is the most popular method of meditation. Thoughts may come and go during meditation and the only "goal" is to achieve less "noise" in our mind.

Meditation is probably the earliest self-help tool known to mankind; some would say meditation dates back to 2600 BC while hypnosis informally got its start in the 1700s and 1800s. Both therapies have become formally practiced and scientifically studied more recently in the last century.

History of Meditation

Meditative techniques became prominent in India and China in the second half of the 1st millennium BC. This corresponds with the philosophical foundations of civilization as we know it both in India, China, and Greece.

When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within.


Have you tried meditating?

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Guided Meditation: The Best of Both Worlds

Instead of choosing between meditation or hypnosis, there is a third option: guided meditation. It is the best of both worlds.

Perhaps you don't have time for traditional meditation, let alone learning hypnosis. With the combination of the two, you don't need a hypnotist to accomplish your goals; you can do it yourself. You don't need hours of meditation, either. Guided meditation encourages relaxation, stress relief, AND goal achievement.

Guided meditation gives you a new, better experience by having a recorded narrator (video or audio) guide you through a scene in your mind. The scenes are positive and will change your brain’s script (subconscious thoughts), and install an optimal experience for you, resulting in real life changes.

A guided meditation to easily become more productive minus the stress!


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    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 years ago from The Great Northwest


      Meditation is a great practice to take with you. Keep on doing it! And I'd encourage looking into guided meditations and self hypnosis too! Best of luck!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Sandy. There are so many alternative, and supplemental, forms of therapy that can be a great addition to a solid education!

    • nicci attfield profile image

      Nicci Attfield 

      2 years ago from Cape Town

      I went to meditation at a local ashram after a very difficult week, and what a difference! The meditation focused on breath. When I came out, I felt so peaceful and at ease. It's a wonderful experience.

    • Blessed Success profile image

      Sandy J Duncan 

      2 years ago from Kansas City, Kansas

      I love this article! I've just completed certification in Neurofeedback and am working on my PhD in Natural Medicine. This article brings together the concept of meditation very well. Keep up the great work.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 years ago from The Great Northwest

      DDE, Great! I hope you look into it and discover more. Very easy and so beneficial!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 years ago from The Great Northwest

      That's great to hear! Self hypnosis was the first time an alternative therapy worked really well for me.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I learned a lot from these differences never though much of it until I saw your hub.

    • WillStarr profile image


      2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great Hub! I've used self-hypnosis many times to overcome insomnia and it works quite well. Well done!


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