How hypnosis can prepare you for life’s challenges
Have you ever felt that life was treating you unfairly? Do you believe that no matter how hard you try, nothing will go your way? Does it feel as though life’s events are things that just happen, and you have no choice but to endure them?
It is not unusual to feel helpless sometimes or even to feel confused about what you can do to improve a situation.
However, in our despondency, we can often overlook just how much agency we can truly have over our lives. All it can sometimes take is a shift in mindset...
The power within
In psychology, there is a useful idea known as the Locus of Control. Locus is a Latin word for “place” or “location”. In this context, locus refers to an individual’s belief in where the influences of their life lay. For example, does one believe the conditions of their lives are dictated by external, chance events? Or are they defined by deliberate, internal intent?
There are two “loci” where we can attribute the control of our lives: either internal or external.
Somebody with an External Locus of Control (ELoC) believes that external events define them and their fate is determined by the whims of destiny.
An individual with an Internal Locus of Control (ILoC) believes that they are solely responsible for their successes or failures and ultimately takes responsibility for the outcomes, good or bad.
An ELoC mentality (external) may be adopted by someone who feels that they cannot take control of their life. They believe their life satisfaction must be dictated by luck or fate. This can be a result of learned helplessness. An ELoC mentality could be adopted by somebody who, through fear or insecurity, avoids responsibility.
An ILOC mentality (internal), however, gives an individual belief that whatever happens in life, they will ultimately steer the course. Success to them is a hard-earned reward and failure is simply an opportunity to learn and grow stronger.
As with all character traits, our life events and unconscious childhood learning play a large part in where we fall on the continuum. But thankfully, by being mindful of your Locus of Control, you can train your brain to live life much more effectively.
Life isn’t so much what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.
- Aldous Huxley.
A wonderful example of ILoC in action comes from a research paper by Oliner & Oliner in 1998. They interviewed 532 survivors of World War 2. They found that 406 of the survivors described themselves as having an internal locus of control. These were the brave men and women who had not only resisted Nazi instructions but in fact, had helped protect Jewish prisoners from Nazi persecution. The remaining 126 were far more likely to complicity follow orders.
We often wrongly blame ourselves for the negative things that occur in our lives. When I first meet a client, they may say things like “Bad things always happen to me…”. When life is lived in this mindset it is all too easy to overlook the things you have achieved because (A) they don’t fit into the story you’re telling yourself, or (B) you underestimate your achievements, believing that they are not special.
When we begin to see how much we can control our life course, we take responsibility for ourselves, rather than allowing a negative belief to allow us to blame ourselves or others for our dissatisfaction.
Your attitude affects your results
Therapy offers you a safe space to share your story. Perhaps the first time you can find an opportunity to separate the things that have happened to you from who you actually are.
Hypnosis offers a gentle way of circumventing the negativity bias that can trick us into feeling that we are helpless against disaster. In a light trance, we can access the subconscious and reconnect to the strengths and resources that we often forget lay within. Realigning these attributes will bring the confidence needed to live more purposefully and relieve us of any unnecessary anxious thinking.
Of course, this is not about denying that life will offer up challenges or that things may go wrong (spoiler alert: they will!). This isn’t about evading bad situations or avoiding tough decisions. Neither is it about breezing through life on a conveyer belt of ignorance. What it is about is knowing that you will be able to handle any situation that comes your way, good or bad.
Research has demonstrated that the more influence we have over our lives, the healthier and happier we will become. Everything that happens to us in life is an opportunity to learn. A wonderful secret of life is that you get to choose the meaning of those lessons, which by learning them means that you can grow into the person you want to be.
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