Many people deal with stress today, it seems like an inevitable part of life, and has perhaps or most likely always been this way. However stress has found new ingenious ways of entering our lives in today’s modern world of incessant distractions. The thing is we all need a little bit of stress, it’s good for us to avoid being lethargic and get stuff done, however it stops being good for us when it overwhelms our system and goes haywire. Most of us are aware of the harmful effects of stress, because there are many ranging from heart problems to depression.

Now, there are many ways of inducing relaxation in the body and mind to relieve yourself from stress, anxiety and what have you. However one method that’s often overlooked, is hypnosis, or for our intents and purposes, self-hypnosis.

Although you may be sceptical at first at the term being used in hypnosis, rightfully so, it is nonetheless worth to point out the practical uses of this technique when performed appropriately. Through self-hypnosis you can carefully guide the mind, similarly to guided imagery, to find a happy and stress-free state in your imagination.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis describes a trance-like mental state in which people become more attentive and focused to the words and intentions expressed by the hypnotist. During hypnosis the one being hypnotized is extra aware and susceptible to the cues given by the hypnotizer. Though people in a hypnotic state seem to be sleepy or almost zombie-like and “out there”, they are in truth in some ways much more focused and attentive than they would normally be.

The potential benefits

  • Stress & anxiety relief
  • Chronic pain relief
  • Improving sleep
  • Overcoming phobias
  • Memory recovery

Although there are numerous myths and misconceptions around hypnosis, it is indeed a genuine mental technique that in some cases can be used as an effective therapeutic tool. Hypnosis is sometimes used as an complementary therapy for anxiety, chronic pain relief, memory loss and improving sleep, not only by self-proclaimed hypnotists but also by legitimate medical professionals or trained hypnotherapists.

How it works

Hypnosis can help reduce stress in two main ways, first of which is to help you get into a state of deep relaxation. In this hyper aware and focused state you can dissolve tensions in the body and mind while also triggering various relaxation responses. This aspect of hypnosis can help alleviate chronic stress and related health issues. Another way hypnosis can help is through the heightened suggestibility aspect, namely by helping you undergo changes in your life more easily and readily, which in turn helps decrease stress and anxiety indirectly.

For example, you could use self-hypnosis to help yourself start a meditation practice, or to keep your home clean on a regular basis, or to stick with your exercise routine. Just as you can use hypnosis to help yourself adopt a good habit, similarly can it be used to overcome any negative habits that you’ve been using to cope with stress, like watching excessive TV, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, or binge eating.

That being said, when you’re in need of relief from stress and/or anxiety, try following these self-hypnotic simple steps.

How to induce self-hypnosis

A closeup of a snail shell spiral

First and foremost, there are a couple of requirements when it comes to whether hypnosis of any kind will prove effective, namely an open-mind, patience, right attitude and setting. On the one hand, if you can’t get past your prejudices about hypnosis as an practice, it most likely will do next to nothing for you. On the other hand, if you’re open minded or even better if you employ the power of belief into each moment of the technique, you’ll found yourself entering the trance state rather quickly. So it’s safe to say, hypnosis isn’t for everyone.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable, preferably in silence. Make sure that you’re comfortable, a meditation cushion to sit on or a yoga mat to lie down on will help the practice, especially if you’re a novice.
  2. Begin by focusing on your breathing, gently slow it down and listen to the rhythm. Inhale and exhale through the nose. Find your groove, relaxation is key. Keep your eyes closed shut and feel yourself going into a deeper relaxed state.
  3. Imagine yourself being in a place or state in which you feel relaxed, serene and. Form a mental image, it may be whatever you want, an imaginary place or a real place. It could be a nook in an old home you lived in when you were smaller, or why not a place near nature where you felt calm and happy or if you’re really up for it you could even go as far as chilling on a hammock on the planet Pluto on the far side of our solar system. Simply whatever floats your boat of relaxation.
  4. Immerse yourself and your senses further in this new mental world of your own making. Details are very important. Imagine yourself smelling the roses, seeing the mountains, feeling your weight on the hammock, the breeze, the sun, the weather. Just keep fortifying your imagined happy state.
  5. Pick an positive affirmation that you sense will give you the most needed relief in this moment. Choose an affirmation that comes most naturally. It could be something to fit your current life situation or something that is suitable and complementary for the vivid mental world you find yourself in. Don’t overthink what affirmation to choose, just find the nearest and dearest sentiment and start repeating it in your mind’s eye.
  6. Keep saying the words of your affirmation in your mind, repeating it like a mantra. Allow yourself to focus entirely on the affirmation, even leaving your mental fantasy behind. Believe in the affirmation as much as you can with every fiber of your body and mind. Let it sink in deeply into your psyche. Stay in this state of hypnotic-trance as long as you feel comfortable.

Final thoughts

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by mental noise, whether its stress, anxiety or even symptoms of depression, try this technique or similar relaxation techniques to help you bring relief in whatever situation you might find yourself in. Being free, without side-effects and always readily available, self-hypnosis is an effective way to balance stress and anxiety with relaxation and joy.