How Hypnosis Works

The word hypnosis can conjure up a number of images in people’s minds and most of these images are based upon stereotypes. In fact, most people are unaware of what hypnosis truly is, in part because of how it has been portrayed over the years in popular culture, through movies and other medium. Hypnosis quite simply is not the mind-controlling experience as most people believe, and hypnotists are not Svengali-like sages, mystics or magicians who hold sway over people.

Hypnosis is a method of reaching the subconscious mind, as a way to change our perceptions, how our emotions affect us, and how we interact with the world around us.  It has been used for many centuries.  The ancient Hindus, Greeks, and Egyptians were practicing “hypnosis” techniques, as a tool for health long before the word hypnosis was ever used.

The word was actually coined around 1841 by a Scottish surgeon, James Braid, who observed the meditative practices of Hindus.  Braid took from the Greek word,“hypnos”, meaning sleep – although when one is in hypnosis one is not actually in a sleep state.  People who are under hypnosis are fully aware and awake, in what has often been referred to as an altered state of consciousness.

The Conscious Mind vs. the Sub-Conscious Mind

How our brains and our minds work is something that is constantly being explored, and while much has been learned, there still is much more to be learned by the scientific community.   Generally though, most regard the mind as having at least two sides or facets, ie., we all have both conscious as well as sub-conscious parts of our minds.

The conscious part of our minds is the one in which we all overtly interact with each other and the world around us.  We talk with one another, and we go about our daily lives reacting to whatever situations, conditions and stimuli we encounter, on primarily a conscious level.  It’s that portion of the mind that is responsible for reasoning and logic, and all voluntary actions such as moving our muscles, for example. We are in a conscious state of mind, except when we sleep.

The sub-conscious is the part of our minds that operates 24 by 7, meaning even as we sleep, it is active.  Our sub-conscious mind keeps us breathing, our hearts beating, takes us through dreams, etc. We certainly don’t do these things consciously.  It also is the repository of our life’s experiences, our deep memories, our emotions, our feelings, and our so-called ingrained beliefs.

Throughout the ages scientists and researchers have found that the sub-conscious mind not only has a great deal of control over how we are, by virtue of what resides in it, but also because it is highly receptive to suggestion.  It’s this susceptibility to suggestion that allows the subconscious mind to be taught to think differently, feel differently, and perceive differently. This is a good thing, because negative imagery can be turned into positive imagery.  In so doing problem issues can be alleviated and resolved.

Hypnosis helps to more readily reach the subconscious mind so that positive change can be affected.  The vast majority of people cannot change the way they feel, emote, and perceive on a conscious level.  It is rare indeed for example for an individual who has been smoking a pack of cigarettes or more, per day for 20 or 30 years, to simply and consciously talk through and “will” themselves so that they no longer have the urge or desire to smoke.  Nor can most individuals who experience deep anxiety or high levels of stress, simply and consciously talk themselves out of those situations.  If it were that easy then we wouldn’t have a need for medications, counseling, etc.  If that were the case then we would just consciously talk ourselves through our issues, rationally and logically, to try to overcome them.

So What Does It Feel Like to be Hypnotized

One does not lose consciousness while in hypnosis.  A hypnotized person is still in total control of their body and mind, can hear everything going on around them and can in fact come out of hypnosis anytime they so choose.

The sensation a hypnosis subject feels is one of intense relaxation of both one’s mind and body.  This relaxation is very peaceful and serene, but more importantly this level of relaxation is far greater than one anyone can achieve just by conscious means.  In other words you’d be hard-pressed to get as relaxed as you could while under hypnosis just by consciously thinking about, talking about and willing yourself to relax. With hypnosis one’s mind is clear and focused.

Some people who undergo hypnosis may feel as though they are drifting or floating, while others wander in their minds to settings or places that bring them good memories, and feelings of peace and security.  In addition, individuals who proceed to deeper levels of hypnosis usually want to linger in this altered state of consciousness for a while because they’ve reached such an extreme sense of blissfulness.

What does it mean to go to a deeper level of hypnosis? Well, it means that the subject is allowing more of the subconscious part of their mind to be evident and “come out”.  In doing so the person in hypnosis feels a distinct sensation, one of becoming “distant” or drifting deeper.  This is a positive and good feeling.  One’s conscious mind is still there and in overall control – it’s just that the subconscious mind is more “alert” and receptive to suggestion.  Think of it as a state of mind that is somewhere between operating in your conscious state of mind (just like during your waking hours), and sleeping.  In hypnosis your mind is in an altered state of consciousness.  In sleep your conscious mind is at rest and your subconscious mind is operating.

Because the vast majority of people have little or no understanding of hypnosis, and because there are many misconceptions most people do not realize the benefit of its effect.  Here are just a few of hypnosis’ numerous applications:

  • To alleviate anxiety and stress
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Overcome fears
  • Stop destructive habits
    • Poor eating habits
    • Smoking
    • Nail biting
    • Improve sleep habits
  • Improve performance
    • Memory
    • Sports
    • Academic
    • Overcome feelings of grief and loss
  • Remove mental “blocks”
  • Remembering “forgotten” memories
  • Overcoming pain and anguish
    • Loss of loved one
    • Divorce

There are many more applications of hypnosis, and individuals who have undergone hypnosis have benefited greatly and overcome issues they’ve faced.

For more information on hypnosis, and how it can benefit you, please call Hypnosis La Jolla at 858 242 9676.

Article copyright 2011, by Hypnosis La Jolla, and the Better Living Institute – All rights reserved.


Posted by: rcarlson on July 6, 2014 @ 2:51 pm
Filed under: Hypnosis Articles

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