Practicing Hypnosis Tips

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How should I deal with distractions when I'm practicing self-hypnosis?

Dealing with Distractions

As hard as we try to have an ideal practice situation, there will be distractions. You remember to turn off your cell phone and put the cat in another room, but there's not much you can do about traffic noise, barking dogs, or people talking outside.

Of course, this is a bigger problem for some people than for others, depending on where you live, where you practice, and when you practice. There will, however, still be a time when distractions occur for most of us.

Most of these distractions are sounds, because you have more control over the visual environment in your practice session. You can turn this to your advantage. Just program yourself to go deeper into hypnosis with every sound you hear. As part of the deepening, say to yourself: I relax more with every sound I hear.

The annoyance over the neighbor's leaf blower or the curiosity over the plane that seems to be flying too low won't ruin your practice session. The unexpected odor of bacon frying is easy to ignore.

I've already referred to internal distractions, but it's worth repeating You will have extraneous thoughts. Just let them go. If you don't follow them, they won't bother you, and they will come back at a more appropriate time.

You will always come out of your trance if there is a real emergency, such as a fire alarm or the smell of smoke. Both conscious and subconscious minds are programmed for self-preservation and will overcome any other programming.

   
When should I practice self-hypnosis?

When to Practice

Try to practice self-hypnosis at the same time every day. Don't practice within an hour after eating, when you're hungry (that growling stomach may interfere), or right before bedtime. You don't want to fall asleep. Don't practice lying down on your bed either, though lying on the floor or on a mat is fine. Choose a time when you do not have something else you regularly do. If you like to meditate, go for a run, or do yoga at a given time, work around that. Self-hypnosis only takes a few minutes. If you're afraid you may fall asleep, or just run too long with your practice and miss an appointment, set an alarm rather than worrying about it. This is just to set your mind at ease. You don't really want to terminate your session that way, and you will find it's seldom necessary. I sat next to a woman on a commuter train the other day. She was sleeping the whole way, but automatically woke up 5 minutes before her station. Do you think she knew she was practicing self-hypnosis?

   
How can I practice self-hypnosis when other thoughts keep coming into my mind?

Procedure First

Self-hypnosis is easy to learn, but it will work best if you take the time to follow the steps. You are probably eager to get started changing your mind for the better, but patience will pay off in the long run. Besides, you will be developing the ability to relax and focus as you go along.

First, just practice the standard induction. Do this once a day, at a time that is convenient for you.

When you're able to put yourself into a light trance, you can add relaxation and then deepening. Make sure you end with a gentle trance termination.

Different people reach a different state and depth of trance. You are not asleep. You are aware of what is going on around you, but you are able to ignore it and focus on becoming relaxed and breathing easily.

Don't try to force it. A light trance is fine, and you can go on to the next step. It will get easier to go deeper as you become more experienced. It may be that you only experience light trance. You will still get results.

You will not clear your mind of all other thoughts. Thoughts keep intruding. Just don't pay attention to them. Let them go and continue with your practice.

   
Can I practice self-hypnosis with someone else?

Working with a Partner

You can practice hypnosis with a partner, reading the induction, relaxation, and deepening to each other. You can work with a friend some time and alone other times. Just find someone who is serious about learning. Use the suggested induction scripts or write your own. When you write your suggestion, that can also be read. Don't forget the trance termination. Take turns being the "hypnotist," reading the script, and being the "subject," being hypnotized. Take a break between sessions. You can also buy or make a recording of the script as we discuss in another section, and listen to it together. Make sure you communicate to your partner if you want her/him to read faster or slower. Do you want to work with more than one partner? You can work it out. Just don't let the social aspect overshadow the learning aspect. Practicing with others does not make you learn self-hypnosis better or faster than practicing by yourself. Some people are more motivated if they work with someone else. It's your choice.

   
How can I learn self-hypnosis more quickly?

Using Repetition

Repetition is a big part of self-hypnosis. You use repetition when designing your suggestion. You repeat your self-hypnosis routine every day when you practice.

This all makes sense when you consider you are working to change fixed ideas you may have had for many years. The subconscious isn't likely to open the door the first time you knock.

Learning self-hypnosis is also a matter of repetition. Although hypnosis is a natural state, it takes a while to learn to enter it voluntarily.

You can expand your practice by repeating parts of it independently. You can do the relaxation almost any time you have a few quiet minutes or are waiting for something. Take a relaxation break at work. Do it while waiting for the next speaker at a meeting. Relax while you're waiting to be called for your medical or dental appointment.

No one has to know that you're practicing relaxation, and you can also find many incidences where you can practice the induction without anyone noticing.

These repetitions of pieces of the self-hypnosis procedure will help it all become second nature. You still have to practice the whole procedure repeatedly, ideally every day, to get full benefits.

Don't practice self-hypnosis while driving or operating equipment!

   
Can self-hypnosis cure phobias?

Case Study: Self-Hypnosis for Agoraphobia

This example, related by Dr. Brian M. Alman in Self-Hypnosis, shows how gradual desensitizing can cure phobias through self-hypnosis.

The subject is an individual whose agoraphobia (fear of open places) was so severe it was very difficult for her to leave her home, and she had to have someone with her when she did. Two years of psychotherapy helped somewhat, but she was still afraid to leave her home

She first gave herself suggestions for relaxation and practiced in the bedroom, where she felt safest. Soon she was able to practice self-hypnosis in the kitchen and then was able to move to the living room.

A week of practicing in the living room, and she was ready to go into the back yard to practice. She had been practicing daily for about a month, with a first goal of learning to relax and feel comfortable.

Next she visualized precisely the action of going out to visit a neighbor. She spent many weeks rehearsing trips before actually going out. Three months after beginning self-hypnosis, she was able to go to the shopping center. She continued, and after a year of practice was leading a relatively normal life.

Not every phobia requires this much time or this much persistence, and some may even require more, but for this case, the subject deserves a lot of credit. She is justified in being proud of herself and thinking she can now accomplish many things.

This was a severe incidence, in which the phobia essentially controlled the person's life. It was worth the time and effort.

Self-hypnosis can work for phobias, but it doesn't work overnight.

   
When should I change my self-hypnosis routine?

Changing Your Routine

There are a number of reasons to change your practice routine, most of them good. Getting impatient and wanting immediate results is not a good reason.

If your schedule changes, and it is no longer convenient to practice self-hypnosis at the same time, change to a more convenient time. It may take you a couple of days to adjust, but it's better than forcing yourself to do something that will be inconvenient.

You may be going on vacation or having company that will prevent you from being in a situation where you can practice easily. It won't hurt to skip a few days. You can always work in a partial practice, such as doing just the relaxation or induction.

Does it seem your routine isn't working? Have you given yourself enough time? Do you realize that a light trance can be effective? If you're still unsure, try changing portions of the routine. Use a different induction. Spend longer, or less time in relaxation. Skip a day or double up on some days. Some slight change will help, and if you consider your reactions, you will know what it is. Remember, there is no bad self-hypnosis session. You always get something out of it.

When you start using suggestions in a full session, you will learn how long to use a suggestion before changing it. In the case study that follows, you will see that it took the individual quite a while to reach her goal, but she could see progress along the way.

   
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