I need to calm down. The relentless din in the outside world is taking its toll, way beyond self-care. We need to be quick change artists, making a collective commitment to calm ourselves, gain perspective, take risks and overcome obstacles.
It’s one thing to have a positive mindset, another to cope with unrelenting stress way beyond what we have had to handle until now, or yesterday, or tomorrow. Having our purpose and passion drive us to excellence takes its toll when we are tested beyond our limits, our servant leadership affecting our health and well being as we reach out to lift others up.
I am at a point where the crazy outside world is intruding on my inner place of peace and serenity. I have had it. How about you? We know, same things same result, that’s pretty much accurate. I know better, but despite the positive things I have been doing for self-care, I slipped a lot lately. Fortunately I am an optimist and believe in the best, so I’m hopefully righting the ship on troubled waters.
I Have Always Thought Out of The Proverbial Box. Yes, I Am a Hypnotist.
I’ve been interested in hypnosis for many years, since my dad had dental work done without anesthesia. That seemed pretty impressive to me that we might be able to control pain through our own thoughts. Much later, once I learned simple techniques, because of an allergy, I did it, too.
Way back, I studied and was certified as a Practitioner in Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy) and NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming), study of peak performance. At that time I was Keynoting, leading Seminars and PD, writing, teaching University courses and traveling weekly. I had a grueling schedule, and really wasn’t keeping up. I decided against leaving family more to travel to work on my doctorate, so instead stayed closer to home, still learning. I took coursework in “Brain Gym”, and for a year, practiced Hypnosis and NLP.
I also studied techniques beyond speed reading, “Photo Reading”; that required ability to ‘photo’ or see a whole page, meaning one could do that only in an altered or hypnotic state. Wild, right? I never could totally do that, but yes, I got the concept. I was interested in not only enriching our teaching experiences through accelerated learning, peak performance everything, speed reading but more important, how to then turn it off, de-stress and sleep. That was never easy for me. Thus, hypnosis.
Yesterday I noticed an interesting article about Princess Kate, Royal Mom who talked about her belief in hypno- birthing. She attended classes including breathing, calming strategies for labor, etc. Self-hypnosis to the max! I thought for a moment, I have never seen anything on social media about hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Flow state, yes, and overwhelming amount of articles and books about achieving mindfulness in schoolhouse, workplace and home. Yet mindfulness and self-hypnosis are really close, not distant cousins, or bad relations. Both aim to enter a sort of altered state, with intense focus, letting go of outside negative stressors, as a simple definition.
With that back story, I reviewed a number of resources before I started to write tonight, then decided to just talk with you about my experiences, pique your interest, and maybe encourage you to read a bit more, after a little reflection. This is simply a get started, not in-depth article, as I intend it.
Trifecta for Calming: Mindfulness, Flow and Self-Hypnosis.
- Mindfulness. For me, when I give my full intention, without distraction, laser-like focus and really hear, really listen, really see, really focus, I am about there. I slow down. I breathe. I do “tapping” exercises. I grab my mat and do Pilates, aware of every movement in its purity. When I turn on Soundscapes, breathing deeply, when I pray, or meditate, watch a squirrel, arrange some flowers, read. That’s mindfulness to me. It’s different for everybody, I think. Maybe we can model it and teach it, offer experiences, mainly we live it through kindness to others and ourselves. Full intention. Grace.
- Flow. Flow comes into this equation. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi taught us about the flow state, where we are so immersed in an activity or thought we lose sense of all around us, time no longer a factor, only concentration, being fully present and involved. Flow is often referred to as “being in the zone”. We recall athletes, artists, musicians, so far away into art and craft, it’s such a beauty to behold, works of heart-filled wonder. The question is how to consistently recreate the same conditions in our brains (minds) which help us replicate what we did and experienced while we were in the optimal state. So we do it again. Regarding calm in the zone, I’d say complete immersion in a kind of meditative state. We all experience flow at one time or another, how we get there is the variable.
- Self-hypnosis. Simply put, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, really. Yes, we can avoid triggers some of the time, but not always, so knowing breathing and calming, making positive self-suggestions can make a difference in our hectic, stressful lives. Like mindfulness, self-hypnosis teaches us how to use guided imagery to shift attention and disassociate from negative experiences and pain, substituting a calm through centering, breathing and focusing on positive suggestions and affirmations.
During my year course of study for hypnosis and NLP, our class spent all day, both days, every other weekend together with our teacher. During the week, we practiced techniques learned in class, and read a lot of books and articles. My husband decided he wasn’t suggestible, so I couldn’t practice with him. For me, grab a partner, see some neat images in my mind of waterfalls and beaches and poof! Stress melted away, positive thoughts, suggestion, affirmations calmed me, de-stressed me and my sleeping improved dramatically. I also practiced positive suggestions before I performed.
Over the years as I said, I had some more minor dental work done with hypnosis, instead of numbing shots. I also used power of suggestion, along with optimism and prayer, of course, as I endured cancer treatments and aftermath. That really reached into the inner depths of my existence.
Hypnosis Is Not What You See on Stage. Mesmerizing!
“Look into my eyes”. Mesmerizing! Watch the rhythm of the clock hands or watch, (old school) going back and forth, back and forth, or listen to the metronome ticking, ticking, or look at the concentric circles in the photo above, pretty hypnotic!
When most people think of hypnosis, immediately the thought comes to mind of the stage hypnotist, always a fun show. The hypnotist exhibits ‘mind control’, no not really, it just looks that way. The performer uses simple knowing techniques to influence people to behave in a ridiculous way. Nobody is forced or coerced to do anything they are not willing or want to do once a suggestion is made. There’s a specific technique used to select highly suggestible people, no, most people up on stage are not acting, and if they are, the hypnotist asks them to leave. I recall going to see these performances at local fairs and the California State Fair. By the time I was certified in hypnosis and hypnotherapy, I had enough skills to do some light-weight stage work, but that isn’t why I wanted to learn it, nor was I confident or competent to take clients. I used the strategies for myself. Also, I admit to you now, I did do several really cool suggestibility exercises which I was really good at, and one time I unintentionally put a teacher to sleep in front of the whole district at a PD session, so I never did that again, obviously.
Mesmerizing. It All Started With Mesmer. You know, that word “mesmerizing!”
First revered, later labeled a heretic of sorts, Mesmer is credited with origins of modern hypnotism, way back 1734-1815. At that time the theory revolved around magnetism and actually today looked pretty sketchy. It was the beginning, regardless. The hypnotic state, or “trance” as accidentally discovered in 1784 by a follower of Mesmer, further added that “mesmerizing effects” included a deep sleep. Later yet, other followers learned that by adding powerful suggestions during the hypnotic state, after waking, the ‘subject’ would follow those suggestions. Pretty amazing. Fascinating, before chloroform, a number of surgeons used hypnotism to help patients deal with surgical pain. And it’s still used today as a natural alternative to pain medication (analgesics) and anesthesia.
Mesmerizing at School, Workplace and Home. Make a suggestion!
My big takeaway for you is simply power of suggestion. In its simplest, when someone sneezes, you sneeze. When someone yawns, you yawn. Suggestion, at its simplest. When a teacher tells us we are great at something, that’s a powerful suggestion. When kids are repeatedly told they are not good at something, verbally or by test scores, that suggestion sticks. So why not use powerful positive suggestions in classrooms. When we say “Today the learning will be fun and easy”, it usually is, even for more challenging learning activities. “I know this will be hard for you”. Maybe it is, maybe not, but certainly we don’t want to plant that negative suggestion.
In hypnotherapy, the practitioner (hypnotist) leads the person through relaxation process and acts as a coach, offering gentle positive suggestions during the quiet state. In self-hypnosis, we simply offer ourselves positive suggestions we act on when we are more awake. There is nothing magical, inappropriate, weird in any way about hypnosis. It’s as natural as breathing. I think we all slip in and out of slight hypnotic states, or maybe heavy throughout our daily activities. Ever feel yourself out there in a drift, that is possibly a sort of trance state, perfectly normal and refreshing.
Mesmerizing. Self-Hypnosis for Calming. Here’s a Start for You.
When you practice this, your body should relax pretty completely in a matter of seconds, thus you become a quick change artist, as I offered earlier, rapidly altering your present state. Although you are aware of noise or activity in your surroundings, this doesn’t affect your tranquil, relaxed state of being. You can come back to awareness at any time, feeling refreshed and motivated, but calm and centered. Remember to make your suggestions positive!
Just basics here tonight. Begin with:
- Quiet spot.
- Comfortable surroundings.
- Breathing awareness.
- Concentration and focus.
- Motivated and positive suggestions.
- Use vivid imagination and imagery.
- Practice a relaxation sequence.
For the rest, take a class or check out available books and resources on the net for your more specifically ‘tailored to you’ procedures. This is your own experience you are comfortable and confident with.
I hope this has been an interesting introduction or review for you about the significant possibilities of hypnosis. As we aim to immerse ourselves into the flow state, enhance our lives through mindfulness, we can also better manage our daily stress with relaxation, and positive suggestion through self-hypnosis.
Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita
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