A great many people are afraid that someone else can control their minds with hypnosis.
In truth, hypnosis gives people more control over their own minds. People can learn to eliminate a fear, stop bleeding at will, and immediately stop addictive cravings. And yes, that kind of self control through hypnosis really is something that can be learned.
In reality, hypnosis gives us more control by offering us the opportunity to temporarily let go of our habit of trying to consciously control things. In the state of deep relaxation that is part of the hypnotic experience we can just let ourselves be. By just observing the breath, with no need to control it, we can open ourselves to the loving wisdom of our unconscious minds, which are creative and resourceful beyond our conscious imaginings.
And, think about it. If it were simply a matter of bossing our minds around, all those years of negative self talk would have perfected our character and habits long ago.
We all practice self hypnosis. We command ourselves to go to the store and buy batteries for the flashlight, and we do!
So, why doesn't an internal command to stop procrastinating make someone instantly productive and industrious? One answer is that frequently there is an internal conflict over the procrastinated activity. Taking out the garbage is imagined to be unpleasant in some way, and so we read an article on the internet about hypnosis instead. Another answer is that a self hypnotic command to stop doing something focuses the mind on what we wish to avoid, rather than on what we specifically wish to accomplish.
When we successfully command ourselves to buy the batteries there is conscious and unconscious agreement: we need and want the batteries. So off to the store we go.
One key to successful hypnosis is in finding ways, through hypnotically structured communication, to generate internal agreement with conscious goals. And, that requires finding something that is motivating to the unconscious mind about the suggested actions or changes.
Two crucial elements of effective hypnotic communications are:
Suggestions are structured in a positive way. We suggest what we want, not what we don't want. For example, "I am enjoying healthy food more and more each day" gives the unconscious mind a direction in which to move. "I won't eat junk food any more" focuses the attention of the unconscious mind on, you guessed it, junk food. And, the unconscious mind will move us towards whatever we focus our attention on.
Artfully vague communications, which are hypnotic in nature because they allow the inner mind respond to suggestions in delightfully creative ways. For example, "I eat an apple every day" is not quite as good as, "I wonder how much more pleasure that I will take in finding ways to enjoy the benefits of eating an apple every day". The first sentence is a direct command, and limits us to one choice: eat an apple. The second sentence engages the creative, open ended process of wondering, and presupposes pleasure in the desired changes. And, of course, pleasure is a powerful motivator.
By Wesley Anderson Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy
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