People often ask me if it's possible to hypnotise oneself and gain similar benefits to those gained in hypnotherapy. The short answer is yes it's quite possible and many people do utilise self hypnosis (whether they realise it or not!). As with many things self hypnosis is a skill which can be learned with practice and as this practice involves just relaxation and a little light daydreaming, it's really no effort at all.
It does involve a certain amount of discipline because it's best to practice regularly for a few minutes each day and to stay with this practice (if possible) for twenty days or so until it becomes a stable routine. Surely everyone can spare five minutes for a little practice - even if it means using a little of your tea break, lunch break or even toilet break!
You will probably find that getting into a usable state of self hypnosis is relatively easy because it's a natural state we are quite familiar with even if we don't realise it at first. Getting absorbed in a good book or watching an interesting movie is very similar to being in hypnosis; a cross between being focused on something, while suspending disbelief to enable it to seem real. In many ways this is the secret behind all hypnosis, hypnotherapy and self hypnosis.
Of course getting into hypnosis is really the easy part and we have to be a little more subtle to prepare for ourselves the right kind of suggestions, that can take root within and change something for the better. This short article is in two parts the first part deals with a little exercise to help you into self hypnosis and the second part will help you formulate suggestions that you can use once you have self hypnosis.
Getting into Self Hypnosis
Sit in a comfortable chair with your hands resting in your lap. Take two or three deep breaths to get plenty of relaxing oxygen into your system. Then say to yourself 'I am going to go into self hypnosis for five minutes' (this states your intention and clears a little mental space).
Then begin by focusing your attention on the tip of the little finger on your left hand and as you breathe out say 'ten ten ten...' mentally to yourself, while allowing yourself to relax. Then move to the next finger on your left hand, focus your attention on it and on the out breath say 'nine nine nine...' mentally to yourself. Now move to the next finger on your left hand, focus your attention on it and on the out breath say 'eight eight eight...'.
I'm sure you can see where this method is going! The idea is to focus one's attention briefly on the tips of each of your fingers in turn (including the thumbs) and on each relaxing out-breath count down one of the numbers from ten to one. At the very end of this part of the exercise you should be focusing your attention on the tip of the little finger on your right hand and on the outward breath saying 'one one one...'
You should be fairly relaxed at this point but each time you do this exercise your relaxation and trance will grow deeper and deeper. It's a little bit like creating a habit and each time you perform this little pattern of sitting still and focusing attention on your fingertips and counting slowly down you will soon get deeper and deeper. Before long you will be able to do this within the space of ten breaths and be very deeply relaxed and ready for hypnosis. At this point you have basic relaxation but this isn't necessarily hypnosis, although it is possible to give yourself suggestions at this point which may even be accepted by your unconscious mind.
However there is a little trick that we can do at this point - a little mental trick which will ensure that you are not only relaxed but also have access to your unconscious. This is to simply to use your imagination to imagine something that you really like for a few moments. Indulge yourself and experience the sensation of this thing you like as much as possible for perhaps 10 to 20 seconds. This process helps you to suspend your critical faculty. At this point, if you were using self hypnosis for a particular purpose you would give yourself the prepared suggestions.
To come out of self hypnosis all you have to do is count quickly up from one to ten, rousing yourself to full wakefulness.
Preparing suggestions for self hypnotherapy
After going into self hypnosis you can give yourself verbal suggestions and this can be as simple as stating your requirements or intentions. For example if you wanted to feel more confident you could state to yourself, "each day from now on, I will become more and more confident" and repeat this over and over to yourself for perhaps 30 or 40 times. Eventually the effect of this verbalisation will grow in your unconscious and changes will be instigated as past conditioning is over-written.
To boost effectivness employ your sensory imagination which not only helps to bypass the critical faculty but delivers powerful non-verbal, as well as, verbal commands. To use the example of 'confidence' you might make the verbal statement "each day from now on I will become more and more confident" a few times but then spend a minute or so imagining yourself in a particular situation acting with greater confidence. Your might be giving a speech at which a smiling audience applauds you with great enthusiasm, or making a sale with a happy customer or perhaps chatting easily with someone who really seems to like you.
Using your imagination in this way is much more powerful than simply stating your requests because the language of the unconscious is largely visual in nature and will accept mental images (connected to a sense of desire or pleasure) quite readily.
Another idea is to record your suggestions onto a cassette or other device so you can listen to them when in self hypnosis. This has the advantage of freeing your attention from having to remember the suggestions you need and so you can drift even deeper. You might preface your suggestions with 5 minutes of relaxing music. This same recording could also be listened to as you drift into sleep at night, to additional effect.
There are many good books on the subject of self hypnosis, such as 'Self Hypnosis' by Dr. Brian Alman & Dr Peter Lambrou, as well as many CD's and MP3's covering a wide range of topics that may help to get you started. If you would like to learn self hypnosis but feel you lack the discipline to keep up the practice until it becomes second nature you could always try visiting a professional hypnotherapist who would be able to teach you self hypnosis while actually in hypnosis thereby speeding up the process.