Defining Hypnosis and Meditation and How You Can Benefit
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.
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?
Meditate for Wellness
Meditation is revered as the ultimate form of healthy relaxation with numerous benefits:
- Reduce stress
- Improve focus
- Increase self-awareness and mindfulness
- Improve physical health, such as immune function
- 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.— aboutmeditation.org
Have you tried meditating?
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!
Additional Resources for Meditation and Mindfulness
- How To Use Self-Hypnosis To Achieve Your Goals | Hypnotherapy, CBT and Hypnosis in Sutton and Kingst
- How Guided Meditation Works
Information on guided meditation - how it works, how to do it, and how it can help you in your life.
- Meditation Techniques for Beginners: 5 Easy Tips - mindbodygreen
Interested in beginning meditation but don't know where to start? Here are a few easy techniques to get you started. The basic tenets of meditation — relaxation and breathing — can be difficult to