I’ve always been a poor sleeper. How can hypnotherapy help?
Researchers say that our subconscious mind is 20 times more powerful than its conscious counterpart. When you consider this imbalance, it is astonishing. Often people barely spare a thought for their subconscious mind; only considering it to any degree when they are having issues or seeing a therapist, and yet all thoughts originate in our subconscious mind. Our choices, rather than being informed and rational, bubble up from the subconscious mind, and when they reach the surface of conscious awareness we take control of them. For those people who pride themselves on having a rational mind, it might come as a surprise that, in the world of thoughts and beliefs, the subconscious mind calls the shots and fires the big guns.
In the background of our minds, outdated programs and beliefs are running, many having begun before we were aged seven. These have been amassed in various ways, through our experiences and sometimes via unsuspecting parents, teachers or friends. It is important to understand that our brains don’t work against us, although it can sometimes feel like that. At some point our beliefs and fears protected us and kept us safe. However, over time we may find that these beliefs which once served us start to take control and we begin to serve them. If we are to get our life on track, we must seriously consider updating them.
But what has this got to do with sleep issues, and how can we use this knowledge to improve our sleep?
You may be reading this and saying that your sleep problems are recent and certainly not held over from childhood. However, there may be other issues, some long-term like anxiety, stress and anger, running in the background of your mind and impacting your sleep. Remember, they may not be conscious thoughts, but nonetheless the disruption they can cause is immense.
Even innocent family anecdotes, repeated over time, can lay the foundations for poor sleep. Are there any stories of how you were a poor sleeper as a baby and small child? Over time these can become fact in your subconscious mind, even just by repeating your story of poor sleep to others, confiding things like ‘I can’t sleep anymore’ or ‘I never get a good night’s sleep’. Every time a negative statement like these is made and repeated, they etch a pathway in your brain, and over time this may have created or contributed to the belief that, for you, sleep does not come easily.
During therapy we acknowledge the problem, accept it and admit the impact that it is having on us and on our lives. Having recognised the problem and the effect it has on us, we challenge its validity and the beliefs from which it likely came. The process will vary from person to person because sleep has so many components, and for each of us it will require a very individual approach. Under gentle hypnosis we begin to consider the possibility that these beliefs no longer serve us; that we are running out-dated programs which are slowing up our system and having a detrimental effect on other, more useful programs.
Continuing the IT analogy, once we have successfully challenged the original source of the program, we delete any erroneous software and install better, more relevant code to provide, in this case, a more efficient sleep system. The process is gentle, facilitated by the hypnotherapist, and you keep control. Together we can then design and present a better blueprint for your life, and a calmer soundtrack for your mind.
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