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Here's a technique you can use to relieve chronic pain, as from arthritis or a troublesome back, or pain from an injury that is healing. It works for headaches, too. Remember, don't use self-hypnosis for pain unless you have a medical diagnosis for the cause of the pain. Use the technique the way you would an aspirin or other pain reliver.
Imagine a gauge that looks like a clock face with one hand, which is the pointer. There are numbers from one to ten around the clock face. Decide where your pain is on the scale right now, with one being hardly any and ten being the most pain you can imagine, and set the pointer there. Then take a deep breath and relax.
Concentrate on the imaginary gauge and breathe deliberately. Breathe out the pain with each exhalation. As you do this, imagine moving the pointer on the gauge down a point, or even half a point, wait for your pain to subside, then move it down again. This may not completely relieve the pain (the aspirin may not either), but if you can reduce it from, say, seven to four, you will feel much better--and not have any side effects.
Instead of the clock gauge, you can imagine a thermometer, digital clock, or anything similar that works for you.
You can also get pain relief from distracting yourself and concentrating on something else. This technique is for those cases when it keeps nagging at you. Confront the pain, draw it up and breathe it out, and force it down by lowering the pointer on the pain gauge.
Here's an easy, fun technique for getting yes or no answers. It takes even less preparation than the pendulum, and no equipment at all.
Lie down on your back in a quiet, confortable spot. Lie on the floor on a carpet or mat, not on a soft bed or couch. Take off your shoes and loosen any tight clothing. Put a pillow under your head if you need it for comfort, and put your hands at your sides, palms on the floor.
Close your eyes and do a progressive relaxation, either toes to head, or head to toes. I find toe to head is best when doing self-hypnosis in a seated position, but head to toe works best for me when relaxing while lying down.
When you are fully relaxed, ask your hand which finger is yes. One of your fingers will probably tap or twitch. Then ask which is the no finger. You don't need a don't know finger, because if there is no answer available, no finger will move.
Ask yourself some obvious questions to see how it works, then go on to some problem solving. You can ask questions similar to those you ask with the pendulum. It's easier to ask sequences of questions with finger tapping.
You can ask questions that require numerical answers, as well as yes or no questions. For instance, let's say you have two job interviews. The second one makes you an offer, but you really prefer the first (who told you not to call to inquire). Ask how many days you should wait for the first interview to get back to you before you accept the second. If your finger taps three times, your subconscious wants you to wait three days.
The more you practice these techniques, the more comfortable you will be in accessing your subconscious mind.
This is a technique that is more difficult and takes longer to learn than the others I describe in this book. Still, for those of you who pick it up quickly, or for those who are willing to work at it for some time, it will give fascinating results.
Take a pen or a soft lead pencil in your hand and put your hand on a large piece of blank paper on a desk or table. Put the point on the paper so the pen is straight up. Your hand must be relaxed. Put yourself into a state of hypnosis, and tell your subconscious you would like it to write something for you. Let it choose.
Start it out with a few circles or scribbles, then relax. You can just sit there and wait for your hand to start writing, or you can dwell on a subject or question, but ignore your hand. If your hand starts to write on its own, it will be writing from the subconscious.
If you are good at this, you can automatically write while you are concentrating on something else. Fewer people are able to write this way when fully aware or when doing something else than can do it under hypnosis.
Automatic writing is similar to a Ouija board, according to Leslie M. LeCron, in his book Self-Hypnotism. He also points out that people who doodle a lot pick up automatic writing more easily than others.
Give yourself 15 or 20 minutes for this to work. If it doesn't, don't be frustrated. This is not an easy skill to learn, and most people will probably never be good at it. Still, if you feel that it is there for you, go ahead and try again at another time. If not, you can go to an easier skill like the pendulum or the finger tapping I describe next. The best technique is the one that works best for you.
Here is a technique you can use to help with goal setting. It is especially useful when you are deciding between potential goals. But you don't have to confine it to just goal setting. It can be used any time you want a yes or no answer to a question about what you should do or what choice to make.
Here are some examples. Should you make a certain investment? Will you enjoy a certain class? Should you buy that dress? Which of two gyms should you join (ask separately about each)?
This technique helps you reach your subconscious to see what it is you really want. Are there other forces at work? That's up to you to decide.
Here is the procedure. First, get your pendulum. You can buy one or make your own. To make a pendulum, use a string and a small, heavy object like a fishing sinker. Cut a piece of string about 8 inches long, and tie the weight on one end. If you want to use a light jewelry chain, for instance, and it's longer than 8 inches, just hold it further down. Use any small weight as long as it is symmetrically balanced.
Now hold the free end of the string lightly with your thumb and first two fingers and put your elbow on a desk or table roughly waist high or a little higher. Hold your forearm almost vertical, and bend your wrist so the weight hangs straight down.
Next, concentrate on a question you want to ask yourself. This should be a yes or no question. Let's say you want to know: Should I take the investment class at Central College this summer?
Stay motionless. Do not move your hand or arm, or your body. Just shift your eyes to the weight and concentrate on the question. Decide before-hand that yes will be back and forth, no will be sideways, and a circular motion will indicate undecided.
Give it a few seconds to work. You will be surprised at the results as you see the weight move a little, or a lot, without you consciously making it do so by moving your hand, blowing on it, or any other obvious physical movement.
You can ask both sides of a question, that is, should I do a, then should I do b. In the example, if the answer is no, you may want to ask if you should take the class at another time, or if you should look for another class. If you have used the I Ching, where you do not ask yes or no questions, you will find this easier, though not as comprehensive.
With a little practice with your pendulum, you will have an extremely useful tool for discerning your true desires and aptitudes. Besides, it's fun.
There are many types of hypnosis and self-hypnosis. The one presented in this book is fairly common and proven to be successful. Although not every version uses the exact steps or procedure, this is a good one.
There are some techniques that are sometimes considered to be part of hypnosis, but don't fit the template. Some of these are very useful. We include some well-known and effective techniques that you may want to include in your self-hypnosis practice. You may find it confusing to use some of them now, but come back to them when you're ready to explore further. Or some may rise to be favorites right now. Even if you never use these techniques, you may find them interesting, especially if you are interested in the study of the mind.
Some hypnotists always use a pendulum.
Everyone who does hypnosis or self-hypnosis should have some sort of pain relieving technique.
Automatic writing is difficult and doesn't work for everybody. Or, maybe most people just don't want to stick with it long enough for it to work for them. For those who can use it, it's a fascinating and powerful technique.
Finger tapping can be used in many ways. Experiment with it to get in touch with your subconscious.