Do you ever feel yourself reacting emotionally to a situation and wish you had more control?
Maybe your kids are screaming at you and instead of remaining calm, you give them what they want.
Maybe someone pulls out in front of your car in traffic and you feel anger bubbling up inside.
Or are you the one who can completely ignore your emotions when they emerge and have no idea what I’m talking about?
Whichever is the case, we all have situations where emotions appear and we need to deal with them in a constructive way. Self-Hypnosis is a handy tool that can make that quite simple.
How Does Self-Hypnosis Work?
There are so many different ways to use self-hypnosis they wouldn’t even fit in one book much less one article. So I’m going to focus on a very simple exercise. Once you know what hypnosis feels like, it’s easy to slip back into it. It’s like riding a bike. After you get it, you don’t need to repeat all the steps in your head to do it again, it feels natural and it gets easier and easier each time.
Be patient with yourself as a beginner. If you would like a set of “training wheels” you can use recorded hypnosis to get started. But I do recommend learning to do it without the recordings eventually so you can apply it in any and every situation.
You can only be hypnotized if you are truly committed and have the intention to do it. It is not something that can be ‘done to you’ without your consent. So make sure you are relaxed and in the right mindset before you begin. Then you can set the intention for your hypnosis session. This can be anything from feeling more confident to being more fit or accomplishing a goal. But for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on being calm.
In the beginning, it may help to write down your intentions, and the suggestions you want to give to yourself once you are in the hypnotized state. That way you don’t have to actively think or activate your memory while you are relaxed. The goal is to be so relaxed you are more in your subconscious than your conscious mind. This is where you can make a shift.
You may write something like, “I am calm and in control of my emotions. Nothing anyone says or does can change how I feel. I am completely grounded and centered.”
The Self-Hypnosis Process
The rest is very simple. Close your eyes and relax. Use whatever relaxation technique works best for you like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. Once you are ready, picture yourself in your emotional state, whatever emotion it is that troubles you.
Then imagine you just drop down through the floor. The real you is still there, and this dissociated you is looking up at you from below. Once you are down there, pay attention to your senses, what do you see, what do you feel, hear, smell, taste? What’s different down here from up there? Which place would you rather be in?
Then drop down through again. Now there are 2 storeys between the dissociated you, and the physical body up above. Notice any changes that happened when you dropped down through. Where are your emotions now? If you can still feel the undesired emotion, continue this process. You may see if you can change the colors of the scene you are in, if it’s in color, make it black and white. If it’s really bright, darken it. Just play with what you see until the negative feelings fade. This is how self-hypnosis can be like a creative pursuit. You can change things as much as you like to feel as wonderful as you would like to feel.
Once you are in your desired state, ask yourself what do you know down here, that you didn’t know up above? Give yourself some time for this to come to you. It will be from your subconscious mind, not your conscious mind so stay relaxed and keep breathing deeply as you allow yourself time to answer.
If you find nothing is coming to you and you are starting to feel restless, that’s okay. You can read the statements you wrote before you started like, “I am calm and in control of my emotions. Nothing anyone says or does can change how I feel. I am completely grounded and centered.” See how those statements feel to you in this place where you are in your mind. You may repeat them and see if you feel any physical sensations in your body.
Ending the Self-Hypnosis Session
Once you get to the point where you have learned something useful, it may be tempting to just open your eyes and end the session. I assure you this is completely possible, you aren’t trapped in hypnosis. But it helps your mind to accept the new learning if you just slowly follow the path you took to get down here back up. Go up a level and notice your surroundings. Pay attention to the details, look at the scenes around you and see what your mind has created for you.
You might just have a look and see if there is any new understanding that you can take from each level until you are back in your physical body, re-associated. Take some time to see what you feel like with your new understandings that you gained from your hypnosis session. The more relaxed you can become, the more you can gain from each self-hypnosis session.
What to do After Hypnosis
There may be an obvious plan of action once you complete this sequence. Write that down and take action if that’s the case. The plan may be as simple to continue using this model on various emotions to continue gaining control. You may wish to talk to someone about it, or journal about the experience.
Hypnosis doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. It can be as light and airy as you make it. But I encourage you to try it out and see the changes you can make in your own life.
So there are a few simple steps to follow:
1. Get into a relaxed state
2. Picture yourself in a situation with the negative emotion you wish to have more control over.
3. Drop down through the floor (in your mind) to put yourself in a dissociated state.
4. Observe your feelings down there, is the negative emotion still present?
5. Continue to drop down through until the negative emotion has gone. Ask yourself, what do I know here that I didn’t know up above?
6. Take your new learning up each level that you dropped down and look around for additional lessons from your subconscious.
7. Use your new knowledge in your day to day life to feel more in control of your emotions!
If you’d like me to guide you through this, let me know! I’d be happy to connect with you and teach you this technique.
Originally Published on Medium October 18, 2019