USING SELF-HYPNOSIS FOR STRESS & ANXIETY
As a therapist and counselor my clients are constantly coming to me for new ways to beat stress and anxiety. A great way to achieve this is through self-hypnosis. In order to get the best results from self-hypnosis you need to practice 10 to 30 minutes daily in a quiet environment with no distractions. The more you practice the more likely you will be to overcome stress and anxiety.
The first stage to self-hypnosis is getting yourself relaxed. Forcing your mind to relax can be a daunting task so the secret to getting mentally relaxed is to get physically relaxed. Once your body is relaxed your mind will come next. You can get your body to relax through diaphragmatic breathing or progressive relaxation. Read my earlier blog posts on how to perform these two relaxation exercises if you don’t know how to already.
The next stage is using a deepening procedure. An important point to note when practicing self-hypnosis is to stop looking to see or watching out to see if you are in a state of hypnosis yet. Just like when you are trying to fall asleep if you keep looking for the moment that you are falling asleep you will prevent yourself from getting there. It is difficult at first to notice when we are in a state of hypnosis, with time and practice you will become more naturally aware of it.
A popular deepening procedure used in hypnosis is the count down technique. To use this technique start counting down from 20 or even 100 if you prefer. Visualize that you are falling into a deeper state of relaxation with each count. If thoughts come in as you are doing this just slightly push them aside and bring yourself back to the count down. The rate that you count down should feel natural and not too rushed or too slow. You can even coincide your count with your breath, and the more you relax the more your breath will slow down and so will your count. Be sure to count in your head and not out loud.
The third stage is the suggestion application. During the deepening procedure you become fully relaxed which allows for your subconscious mind to be more open and more likely to receive suggestions. Create your suggestions ahead of time and memorize them. They should be short and easy to remember. You can also just “talk” to yourself in your head telling yourself what it is that you want. Speak to yourself in the first person instead of saying “you”. For example say, “I am in control of my emotions” or “I eat healthy and love working out” or “it is easy for me to be calm and relaxed in times of stress”.
The most effective types of suggestions are ones tied to images. During the suggestion stage in addition to speaking to yourself in your head visualize and see yourself doing what it is you want to do. For example see yourself being calm and productive at work.
The final stage in self-hypnosis is termination. After you have implemented your suggestions it is good to identify the end of your session. Just opening your eyes and getting up is not good practice. By having a termination stage you create a clear line between your conscious state and your hypnotic state. To terminate your session tell yourself that you will be fully awake and alert after you count to the number three. An example of how to do this would be to say, “One, I am starting to come out of my hypnotic state and moving into a waking state. Two, I am increasingly more alert and preparing to wake up. Three, I am completely awake and aware.”
Self-hypnosis may seem difficult at first but with practice it will become much easier. In my blogs you are learning many different stress and anxiety busting techniques. The important thing to remember is to truly give each one a wholehearted try and not to give up. Remember practice makes perfect!
ABOUT ESSENCE OF HEALING COUNSELING:
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety, schedule an appointment today.