Self-hypnosis: A powerful instrument in our self-care toolkit

Most people are familiar with the oxygen mask analogy and know the importance of looking after oneself. Articles and mental health movements make us aware that we must be robust enough in ourselves before we can offer support to others. And, trying to fill up someone else’s emotional tank when our own is empty, can do more harm than good. 

Therefore, the need and desire to nourish our soul and rest our mind can be a powerful one. We make plans and invest in preparing ourselves for new practises in the hope that they may bring a little more peace to our lives. But too often our self-care strategies can be jostled out of the way by our busy lives. Or perhaps they weren’t as fulfilling and impactful as we’d anticipated, so we choose to let them fall by the wayside.

Many of us will have vowed to take on a new habit or routine and been excited to get stuck in, buying equipment or learning a technique in an attempt to make a positive change in our lives. But these schedules themselves can feel onerous and challenging at times. It may be that we aren’t targeting our self-care in the right way. Taking time out is one strategy, but perhaps we should also consider weaving something in. 

Self-hypnosis could be the tool that combines both these approaches. It can be interlaced into the fabric of our daily lives and become part of our thought process and mindset. It can also be chunks of welcomed downtime that we do alongside these quicker snippets of self-hypnosis. 

Whether it is speaking kindly to ourselves, anchoring our emotions or self-congratulating more often, there is a strategy out there to suit you and your needs. Having the support and expertise of a qualified hypnotherapist ensures that the hypnosis is personal to you, safe and more impactful. Your hypnosis journey can take on a new form, becoming a powerful instrument in your self-care toolkit. 

If you are considering using self-hypnosis, it will be because you want to make a positive change. While your subconscious may have your best interests at heart, it doesn’t always make healthy choices for you. In an attempt to protect you, it can hold on to negative beliefs that hold you back or perpetuate destructive behaviours. 

In order to make changes to our subconscious, we need to believe that change is possible – knowing what we want instead and practising the new thought process behind it.

Perhaps we want to feel less anxious around certain people or in particular circumstances. Why is it those people trigger panicky feelings or why does that scenario put the fear of God in us? If we want more confidence, we have to identify what is making us feel less confident and address it. Which misconception are we holding onto? Is it that we’re not clever enough, not fit for purpose? Or maybe we’re not funny, attractive, strong, slim enough? 

With a view to overcoming this negativity, we must begin believing in ourselves, our possibilities and our potential: acknowledging what we can do and what we are capable of. For this to work, we need to rewire our thinking and tackle what is rooted in our subconscious bit by bit. 

Self-care starts with taking some time to hear what it is saying, view the direction it is steering us in and consider whether it is making the right choices for us.

How does self-hypnosis work?

There are a variety of approaches and methods to self-hypnosis. Some have links to other self-care strategies and often a therapist would suggest using these in conjunction with your weekly sessions.

Self-affirmations can be hugely beneficial in trying to reprogram the subconscious. Linked to the work done in your sessions, they would be more impactful than your standard self-affirmations: reinforcing the positive changes you are trying to make to your subconscious. 

The methods range from small moments that can calm or empower you in an instant, to put oneself into a full trance for a period of time. For example, a client may be aware that they are under a lot of stress and have become quick to lose their temper: far more so than normal and far more than they like. Riddled with guilt, shame and frustration they seek help to try and control the angry outbursts. 

A hypnotherapist can assist with the bigger picture; finding the reason behind this change in behaviour and giving support to process it thoroughly. They can help unpick the situation while suggesting strategies to reduce the outbursts from happening. One of these strategies could be as simple as having a trigger word (let’s say ‘calm’) which can be used in moments of stress.

During the main hypnotherapy sessions, work will have been done on physical responses to this trigger, so each time the client said ‘calm’ to themselves they’d stop to steady their breathing, take a step back from the situation and have a more controlled response. Here we have an example of therapy sessions and self-hypnosis working in conjunction. 

In time, the self-hypnosis would be all that was needed. It would be done without thinking, like changing gear in your car. The more you practise something, the more natural it becomes. It develops roots, healthier than the previous thinking or habit. It has taken hold and your self-care strategy has proved to not only be successful, but it is done effortlessly. 

It can be profoundly impactful to let go of some of these deep-rooted concepts or behaviours and forge a brighter future for ourselves.

For the therapy to have a long-term impact, we must practise this in the ‘real world’. Revisiting the example of someone who is wanting to control their temper, they will have ideas of when their temper may be prone to flare up. Hypnosis is an opportunity for them to prepare for these challenges, anticipate their weak spots and plan for a more desirable reaction. This would be their focus during their longer session, whether self-initiated or in a professional-led session. Once they find themselves in a trigger situation, the self-hypnosis kicks in and provides an opportunity to change the reaction and start creating new, more positive behaviours.

If you’re wanting to approach this by yourself, it can be done. This could be purchasing books or audio files and taking on the challenge alone. But success is more likely with some help from a professional. Commonly, these approaches will involve taking time to create a full trance experience. Many hypnotherapists will offer recordings that can be used at home at your convenience. 

However you choose to approach it, know that change can be possible and long-lasting. Our subconscious is powerful and has a real impact on the way we lead our lives. Self-care starts with taking some time to hear what it is saying, view the direction it is steering us in and consider whether it is making the right choices for us.

Hypnosis is one of the most effective ways of changing outdated and unhelpful thought processes that our subconscious is holding on to. It can be profoundly impactful to let go of some of these deep-rooted concepts or behaviours and forge a brighter future for ourselves. 

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Written by Jessica Chapman
Jessica Chapman is a therapist and teacher with a passion for the outdoors and being creative. She enjoys assisting others in making positive changes to their lives alongside working on her own aspirations.
Written by Jessica Chapman
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