Better Living Through Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a trance-like state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. While the person hypnotized may seem to be asleep, they are actually hyperattentive. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling of "losing yourself" in a book or movie. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the world around you to focus exclusively on just one thing. Have you ever been making a familiar drive, like coming home from work for example, and then suddenly realize you had "zoned out" for the last 15 minutes? If this has happened to you then you have probably experienced a form of self-hypnosis. Our thinking is carried out by the conscious and the sub-conscious mind. Both are important and work hand-in-hand. For instance, as you read this page the information you are reading and actively processing is carried out by the conscious mind, the sub-conscious is doing things like blinking your eyes if they start to dry.
Popular theory is that hypnosis allows us to bypass our conscious mind by deep relaxation and focusing, and interact directly with our sub-conscious. Our conscious mind is still working, we're still fully aware, it's just allowing the sub-conscious to take the center-stage. Since the sub-conscious is where memories are stored and physical and emotional sensations are interpreted, by direct interaction you or a clinical hypnotherapist can effect change on behavior. A therapist might counsel an agoraphobic (afraid of the outdoors) for example and find that they had been bitten by a dog once at a park when they were younger. The patients juvenile mind made the association between pain with being outside, perhaps on the first warm day of spring. A therapist counseling a long-term smoker wishing to quit may work with them to alter their perceptions of the nicotine cravings.
Entertainment hypnotist, the ones you see at comedy clubs, pretty much do the same thing. Obviously they're not going to muck about in your memories, but they might suggest you alter your perception a bit. What they suggest is that you're the star of the show, without your conscious mind telling you otherwise, your sub-conscious plays along.
In order for someone to be hypnotized they must: 1. Agree to be hypnotized 2. Believe they can be hypnotized 3. Be relaxed. If someone does not meet these criteria no amount of coaxing will get them to succumb. The hypnotist will often test the persons susceptibility first by using minimal relaxation techniques and suggestions. This usually is in the line of "close your eyes, hold out your arms. Imagine your left hand is holding a heavy dictionary, while your right hand is holding onto some helium filled balloons." The persons whose left arms drop while raising their right arms are therefore more likely to fully imagine what the hypnotist suggests.
To initiate a hypnotic trance, hypnotist will use a variety of methods, including:
1. Fixed Eye Induction Method or fixed gaze induction. The hypnotist will have you focus on an object, candle flame, spot on a wall, etc and focus on this thing to the exclusion of all other thought. This method is also popular with self-hypnosis
2. Rapid Command Method. This method is popular with the stage hypnotist, as it is a quick way to find out if someone is highly susceptible. They issue a series of rapid commands in an authoritative voice. The highly susceptible, whose conscious mind can't keep up with the commands, will relinquish control.
3. Progressive Relaxation Method and / or Imagery Method. This method is popular with hypnosis cd's and tapes. It relies on the person closing their eyes and letting a soothing voice describe a relaxing scenario for the person to try to envision.
4. Repetitive Rocking Method or Loss of Balance Method. This method is most often employed by mothers, rocking their babies to sleep, but chances are you've experienced this since then if you've ever ridden on a jostling train or an open boat.
Better Living Through Hypnosis. You can be hypnotized to improve various aspects of your life such as to lose weight or diet, quit smoking, be more assertive, and have more confidence. With discipline you can improve virtually any aspect of your life and character.
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