In our increasingly full and busy lives, finding moments of relaxation can be challenging. Self-hypnosis is easy to learn and can help you to relax. It can help with anxiety, getting to sleep, and overall well-being. This post gives you an introduction to what you need to know about using self-hypnosis for relaxation.
What you need to know about Self-Hypnosis for Relaxation
1. Why is Relaxation Good for Us?
Modern life can take its toll on our hunter-gatherer bodies. The stress response designed to get us out of trouble in times gone by only has an on-off mode, not a graduated response. The tricky phone call, car journey, work meetings and so on can all trigger the same life or death physical and mental responses that turn us into superman or superwoman.
Whilst this helps us to survive if we really are in immediate physical danger, this response presses a pause button for everything-else not needed to help us survive in that precise moment. Our immune system, digestion, reproductive system, tissue building and repair and so on are interrupted. Life’s stresses and strains can mean that pause button is pressed a lot! This can have huge short and long term effects on our health.
As well as the unhelpful interruptions that stress creates in our physical health processes, it also affects how we think. When we are stressed it may be harder to think clearly, make good decisions and to access our creativity. Using self-hypnosis creates the opportunity for the body and mind to relax and to refresh the soul.
2. What is Self-Hypnosis and Why is it Good for Relaxation?
Hypnosis (trance) is something most of us can experience naturally, when our busy conscious mind calms and our bodies relax. You can find yourself in a gentle trance in everyday situations like standing in a queue or dancing.
When you have one-to-one hypnotherapy or use self-hypnosis for relaxation you are allowing your mind to follow a positive track instead of the usual hamster wheel. When you do this you then become increasingly immersed in this positive focus. As your brainwaves shift into deeper realms you become more able to relax physically and mentally. It could be described as arriving on holiday on day one but feeling like you have already been away for a week. And you can easily learn simple techniques to take yourself there using self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis techniques help you to move from our everyday fast busy brainwaves through a series of slower ones which prompt relaxation. In my blog Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy I describe these different brainwave patterns and why these shifts are potentially very helpful for us in relaxation and so much more. There are many interesting websites around brainwave activity – you can also find a useful overview at http://www.web-us.com/brainwavesfunction.htm .
You might be wondering how self-hypnosis is different from meditation or mindfulness. I believe that ultimately, we are all trying to achieve the same things – peace, understanding, connection, wholeness. For each of us maybe it is just a case of finding the route that helps us the most at a particular time.
Many of us suffer from “monkey minds” which playfully hop from one thought or worry to the next: listing jobs to do, things that might happen, and so on. When we focus the mind we can bring ourselves into the “Now”, escaping that tyranny and all its knock-on effects. It is possible to do this by using mediation, mindfulness and self-hypnosis by focusing on the present moment, clearing the mind of other thoughts and busyness.
What I have personally found helpful about self-hypnosis for relaxation, and where it may differ from some other approaches, is that it allows me to use my ability to think, dream, and visualise constructively. We focus by using a more guided process and I find that not only can I relax and clear my mind, but if I wish to I can also explore new ways of thinking, behaving and living.
There are studies which give some positive results for using self-hypnosis for relaxation and other uses and conditions, a few of which are given in the References below [1,2]. In one research study involving over 100 patients suffering from stress-related conditions it was found that 75% felt their symptoms were improving after 12 weeks of self-hypnosis practice, within one year 72% of the group reported complete remission of their symptoms as a result of the self-hypnosis .
3. Myths & Misconceptions About Hypnosis
I have helped a few people relax just by telling them about my self-hypnosis workshops! The idea of sending themselves off into a trance and then wondering who would “bring them back” gave them a good chuckle! As well as laughter being a wonderful medicine, the good news is that you will naturally go in and out of trance, like sleep cycles. Sometimes, even when it is really lovely and you would like to stay in this deeply relaxing state, your brain will let you know it is time to “wake up” and get on.
We can also add in a precision element to your self-hypnosis technique so that you can decide how long you would like to be in trance for. You can be your own time-keeper. You are in control.
If you would like to know more about Hypnotherapy you can also visit my Hypnotherapy page. My blog post What Happens in a Hypnotherapy Session also gives more information about some of the myths surrounding this fascinating subject.
4. How Long Does Self-Hypnosis Take to Learn?
Self-Hypnosis is something you can learn quickly and easily, and use for yourself anytime and almost anywhere. There are lots of different ways to learn self-hypnosis for relaxation. Some might use visualisation, some focus on breathing, stories, music and so on. I try to tailor the method to the person so that they have the best route in for them. The aim is to make it easy, enjoyable, and…relaxing!
Generally, I have found the core of it can be learnt by most people quite quickly. I teach people one-to-one as part of my practice, usually over a few sessions. Because it is such a useful self-help tool I also run workshops. In a day we can cover enough to get you started straight away.
There is the time for you to discover how your brain codes experiences as real by using the five senses; and how to use this to help you relax. How you can use your imagination to change your thoughts and physiological responses. And to learn and practice the simple ways to be in your Now and change your Now to feel happier and more relaxed.
People can find that by using it a few times a week it can then build into a wonderful resource to help with relaxation and more. Some might use it on a regular basis, others just when they feel the need.
5. And There is Even More Good News!
The conscious mind is only are part of who we are. One could say that it is the part we are aware of. Everything else sits in the unconscious mind, whether it is our automatic physiological processes, such as our heart beating, breathing, digesting our lunch, or the home for our memories, beliefs, behavioural patterns and habits. This is our own personal powerhouse – the source of resources and opportunity for change.
When we use self-hypnosis for relaxation or have one-to-one hypnotherapy our conscious mind quietens and we have the potential to connect with our unconscious. There are huge benefits of relaxation for our physical health and emotional well-being. I also believe self-hypnosis, and hypnotherapy, offer us the opportunity to access more of our potential – updating old patterns of thinking and behaving, boosting our creativity, problem solving, and resourcefulness.
Many have an understandable fascination with outer space and the wonders of our universe. Self-hypnosis for relaxation may offer some the opportunity to explore the mystery and beauty of our own inner space.
If you would like to know more about Hypnotherapy you can also visit the Chantry Health Hypnotherapy page, and if you are interested in learning how to use self-hypnosis for relaxation or for any number of other reasons, either one-to-one or at one of my Workshops please contact me.
References and Resources:
Try Hypnotherapy has a very comprehensive listing of trials and studies about Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis.
 Treating anxiety with self-hypnosis and relaxation’, Contemporary Hypnosis, 1999, vol. 16(2):68)
 (Maher-Loughnan, G.P. 1980, “Hypnosis: Clinical application of hypnosis in medicine’, British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 23: 447-55)
 http://www.web-us.com/brainwavesfunction.htm A helpful summary about the different brainwave states.
 Brainwaves in Hypnotherapy My blog post for more information about how brainwaves shift in hypnotherapy and why that is helpful.