What Is Hypnosis?

Have you ever been hypnotized? Believe it or not, we ALL have been hypnotized in some form, whether we realize it or not! Hypnosis occurs in ways most people aren’t even aware of; it isn’t simply stage hypnotists theatrically turning people into chickens or ducks on some flashy show like you’d see on TV or in Las Vegas. Hypnosis comes in many different forms: zoning out in front of the television or during a conversation with your partner (oops!); arriving at work and not having any recollection of the drive; finding yourself suddenly desiring to purchase an item because of a commercial you just saw or heard (or perhaps a jingle or tag line stuck in your mind: I’d like to buy the world a Coke or Coke adds life; or the quicker picker upper); the wafting scent of cookies or bread in the oven transporting you back in time to baking with Grandma when you were a small child. All of these examples constitute hypnosis. There are different levels and variations of hypnosis as well. Habitual behaviors are another form of hypnosis, as is self-talk (e.g., telling yourself: “I’m not good enough” or “I’m too fat”). Or, on the flip side, convincing yourself that “I CAN finish the race!” (or whatever your specific desire may be). Meditation, trance, and prayer are also examples of hypnosis. It can even occur as various forms of abuse or trauma.

Hypnotherapy utilizes a deeper part of the subconscious mind to create new neural pathways in the brain. This, in turn, helps to change or correct undesirable behaviors (or to reinforce positive behaviors), as well as to help release subconscious mental blocks. Thus, by changing your mind, you can literally change your life!

So what exactly is hypnosis? Definitions vary widely in the psychology and therapy fields; there doesn’t really seem to be any concrete standard for defining it. Some describe it in complex scientific and technical terms, and others in more relaxed, layman’s terms. One of our preferred definitions comes from the renowned author of the National Guild of Hypnotists’ Medical Hypnotism Certification Training, the Rev. Dr. C. Scot Giles: “During hypnotic trance a change occurs in the structure of the brain, where the two halves of the brain are linked. Because of this change, more information flows from one side of the brain to the other than would normally be the case. Nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls habits lose some of their electrical charge enabling one to become more receptive to change at this time. Through imagery and positive suggestion, new connections can be formed among the nerve cells, creating the desired results.”

Hypnosis is used therapeutically to stop smoking, to lose weight, and even to release subconscious blocks enabling fertility clients to become pregnant against all odds. It is also successfully used to help break other serious habits, and to relieve stress and major anxiety. As you can see, the mind-body connection is very strong—hypnosis is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to ensure the ultimate benefit from that very connection.

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