Hypnotherapy for Relaxation
Stress is pervasive on our society today, job worries, concern over finances, the rising cost housing, food and higher education, the anniversary of 9/11 and the holidays coming up. People are “stressed out”. They often look for comfort in things like food or drinking and smoking which don’t really help but add to the fear, tension and anxiety. With all of the “bad news” we are being asked to accept as the “new normal” how can we feel calm and relax with all of this coming at us?
Surprisingly, Hypnosis is one tool to help you take back that control.
Studies show its efficacy reducing anxiety for test, sports performance and even in medical procedures.
There are many misconceptions about hypnosis, Hollywood and stage shows make people think that it is a sort of mind control, that the hypnotist can make you do something you don’t want to do. Those people that participate do so voluntarily to take part in the fun, to make it exciting; Hypnotherapy is actually more exciting than that -using your mind to overcome stress and negative thinking.
We naturally slip in and out of a “trance” all throughout the day. Like reading a book or watching TV or a movie and not hearing someone speaking to us or even driving somewhere on “autopilot”, we are not out of it; it is actually a heightened awareness.
We have Beta, Alpha, Theta Delta brainwaves they are all active all the time, one is more predominant. When we focus our attention on something we begin to slip into a light trance or Alpha.
In fact, there is a thing called the ultradian rhythm that says we actually need to go into that Alpha about every 90-120 minutes thought the day or we create stress.
Psychologists have a rule called 7 +/- 2 which means out conscious mind can only keep track of 5-9 thoughts per second. When we experience that “autopilot” while driving it is because there is so much to keep track of we override the conscious minds ability and subconscious mind kicks in to help us.
One definition of hypnosis is a focused inner attention.
All hypnosis is really self hypnosis. The Hypnotist acts as a coach or guide to help you use your mind in a way you haven’t been taught. The hypnotist assists you to utilize the power of your own mind to make the changes you desire. Athletes, performers, business people use these techniques all the time, in fact if you don’t use them you are being programmed inadvertently.
Our Subconscious mind is neutral, like a computer. The conscious mind is rational, analytical, thinking and judging. The subconscious mind is “in charge’ of our emotions, habits, memory, behaviors and automatic body function. It can only act on what we “program” into it.
The NSF (National Science Foundation) estimates we have 30-60 thousand thoughts a day and 70-80% are negative.
How Hypnosis can help with the stress response?
How do you find balance? How do we alter out thinking, stop the cycle and focus on the positive and take back control.
We cannot control external factors, can control how we respond to those things we perceive as stressful
Unfortunately many of us spend the day “imagining” about these perceived threats which creates stress. Yet, if are with someone we love or simply look at a picture of someone we love the same positive feelings happen. Remember that subconscious controls automatic body functions like the fight or flight response. The mind cannot tell the difference between what we see “out there” and what we close our eyes and imagine. Hypnosis is helpful tool to assist in stress reduction because it can assist us in “reprogramming” that automatic response to be beneficial.
Hypnosis reduces oxygen use, heart rate and respiration. It turns off the stress response as you shift from the sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system you lower stress hormones like cortisol and release cascades of beneficial hormones. Hypnosis is restorative like a good nights sleep.
There is a lot of good science focused on our ability to reduce stress and generate positive emotions. Heartmath Institutes has studied stress for 19 years and has shown how emotions of appreciation and love reduce stress. Dr. Herbert Benson developed the relaxation response to counteract the “fight or flight” response.
Meditation is beneficial yet can be challenging for beginners, many people find it easier guided through a process like hypnosis.
How Can I use hypnosis to help me? Some Tips that you can use. (Self Hypnosis)
It is as simple as pretending and imagining. If you have children and have ever watched how they really get into whatever game they are playing, it’s like that.
1.The Pink Elephant - How do you imagine? People imagine differently, we perceive the world through our sense of seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting and smelling. For some they will visualize the elephant if not, that is ok, you still imagined the elephant. Engage all of your senses when imagining.
2. Rate your level of stress or tension 0-10 then assess after we finish (this is not a lot of time so even a reduction of 1 is good)
3. Close your eyes (to block out external stimulus) and pretend they are so relaxed they just won’t open as long as you chose to hold onto the relaxation. When you know you’ve done that test them to see that they just won’t work. (If you’ve followed the instructions they will remain closed, if not just take a nice breath and relax your eyes again.)
4. Notice your breath. If you become aware of your thoughts that is just “the blabberer”, your conscious mind wanting to distract you. Return your attention to your breath and take a nice deep breath. In through the nose, hold a moment, out through the mouth.
Note: there are different types of breath. We often hold breath or breathe very shallowly. There is a good reason for that, to prepare us for fight or flight.
The easiest way to relax is to take a few to evoke good deep breaths, it is physiologically impossible to be as tense or stressed after a few good deep breaths.
Hypnotic suggestion can reinforce that relaxation breathing so it becomes “automatic”.
5. Count down from 10-1 or perhaps imagine going down a flight of 10 stairs through a doorway that leads to the inner part of your mind
6. Bring your attention to the area of your heart, begin to feel appreciation, gratitude and love. Children or pets are often the easiest to help access those feelings.
OR… Begin to imagine a very safe, special, relaxing place, maybe somewhere you’ve been or somewhere purely imaginary.
7. “Anchor it” breath it in placing your hand on your heart or touching your finger & thumb together
8. Gently open your eyes and come fully alert
9. Rate your level of stress 0-10
It becomes a conditioned response. It doesn’t have to take long, more you practice the better you get, it becomes easier to instantly evoke the relaxation response more you practice. Simply thinking about those images or touching your “anchor” will bring back those good feelings.
Of course don’t do it while driving
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