Self Hypnosis - Instructions
Follow our free step-by-step guide to
preparing and practising your own self hypnosis sessions
Although we may not realise it, we all carry around
within us the necessary resources for personal evolution
and success. Self-hypnosis can be a very effective tool
for utilising those resources to make changes in our
A good hypnotherapist should teach self-hypnosis to
clients as part of their sessions;, always ask about
this before booking. In fact, one of the great tools
that you can take away from a course in hypnotherapy is
the ability to use self hypnosis. Nearly everyone can
learn how to use self-hypnosis to make specific changes
in areas of their life such as;
- Stop unwanted habits such as smoking
- Manage stress
- Increase concentration
- Improve athletic performance
- Improve self-confidence
- Improve sleeping
- Achieve goals, such as weight loss or exam success
Self-hypnosis is a perfectly safe, pleasant,
non-toxic and often more effective alternative to
tranquillisers or painkillers. Self-hypnosis allows you
to rejuvenate your body and mind, leading to a greater
sense of well being.
What is self-hypnosis?
Many people have experienced a trance-like state many
times in everyday life - although they may not have
called it hypnosis. For example, if you've ever drifted
off into a daydream, become totally engrossed in a book
or project, or become absorbed in your thoughts while
driving and missed a turning. The main difference
between these sorts of trance and self-hypnosis are
specific motivation and suggestions towards a goal.
Self-hypnosis is deliberate and with a purpose.
Hypnosis can be described as a state of mind in which
suggestions are acted upon much more powerfully than is
possible under normal conditions. By achieving a state
of heightened focus and awareness, and suppressing the
critical faculty, suggestions can be passed directly to
the unconcious mind.
The above remains true for self-hypnosis, but being
done for your self rather than via a third party (hypnotherapist).
Many believe that all hypnosis is self hypnosis as the
subject or client always remains in control. The
hypnotherapist is there only to guide the client into
hypnosis, and in doing so teaches them a powerful tool
they can use for themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions about Self Hypnosis
Who can use self-hypnosis?
Studies to determine people's susceptibility to
hypnosis have found that nearly everyone is
hypnotizable. Self-hypnosis that uses proven techniques,
and is personalised to take into account a person's own
perceptions of their own experiences, can be almost
always successful. Some people can learn self-hypnosis
very quickly, whilst others take more time, however
almost everybody can learn to use self hypnotism
Where should I practice?
The ideal place for self-hypnosis will be somewhere
that is private, safe, comfortable and peaceful. This
will usually be indoors but it is possible to practice
self hypnosis anywhere. Just try to ensure you will be
comfortable and free from noise disturbance or
Can I practice anytime?
You can practice whenever you are able to set aside a
few minutes free from disturbance or interruption.
However self-hypnosis should never be practiced when
driving, operating machinery or carrying out any other
activity that requires your full attention.
How long should I practice?
Quality of time is more important than length of
time. Set aside some designated time when you won't be
disturbed, 15 to 20 minutes a day as a guide. Remember
that time spent practicing self-hypnosis is time
invested in yourself to make positive self-change, so
practice regularly. Also, as you become more practiced
you may find that you need less time.
Should I sit or lie down?
It doesn't matter, being comfortable is what's
important so do what's most natural for you. For many
people a relaxed sitting position with the head
supported is most comfortable. Lying down may make it
too easy to drift off to sleep - although if your goal
is to use self-hypnosis to sleep then that would be
Should my eyes be closed?
Again, it doesn't matter, but most people feel more
relaxed with their eyes closed. Many people skilled in
self hypnosis can enter trance with their eyes open, but
most people will find it easier with eyes closed to
What kind of results should I expect?
You should expect to make positive changes that will
benefit your life, based on the suggestions given during
hypnosis. Remember, change is a natural part of our
existence and happens to us and all around us every day.
To expect change to happen is perfectly natural.
How can I make the process easier each time?
At some point during your hypnosis you can give
yourself a suggestion that you will enter trance more
easily and quickly next time. For example, when in
trance say to yourself "I can easily return to this
deeply relaxed and focussed state of awareness again
whenever I choose, simply by taking a few deep and
We hope this Self Hypnosis FAQs page has helped to
answer your questions about self hypnotism and has
helped you about to learn how to use self hypnosis more
Free Guide to
Self-Hypnosis - Learn Self-Hypnosis Free
Methods of self-hypnosis range from
listening to relaxation tapes to simply clearing your
mind of thoughts and worries. Here is a step-by-step
free guide to self-hypnosis, using one approach you may
find helpful. Many hypnotherapists encourage their
clients to learn self-hypnosis.
Please note that self-hypnosis should
never be practiced when driving, operating machinery or
carrying out any other activity that requires your full
What do you want to achieve?
Always be clear and specific about
your goals and write them down before you begin your
hypnosis. Writing down what it is you want to achieve or
change can really help you to straighten things out in
your mind and goals can suddenly look more realistic,
specific and focused. Keep it short and keep it
achievable. Stick to one or two goals only in a single
Write out a plan
Plan what you want to say from
beginning to end. You can write out a detailed script to
follow as part of your preparation.
Repeat your goals
Write several different suggestions
for each goal, expressing the same goal in different
ways. This will reinforce the suggestion and ensure that
it is accepted into the unconscious mind.
Create your own vision for your
Develop your own imagery and symbols
for supporting and visualising your goals. Imagine
yourself achieving whatever you wish to. Make it real,
like a memory but in the future.
Using Guided Imagery
and Positive Visualisation In Self Hypnosis
Imagery can mean
visualisation - using your imagination to form pictures
in your mind. However, it can also include all the
senses of sight, sound, taste smell and feel. Whilst
most people are predominantly visual in their use of
imagery, the most powerful and effective guided
visualisation will incorporate elements from all the
In self-hypnosis a
mental image is often worth many pages of verbal
suggestions. You can use your own memories and
experiences to construct your own highly personal
imagery to reinforce your suggestions for change.
exercises can be used to practice and develop your
- Examine an object
for a few moments, then close your eyes and try and
- Visualise a person
you know (maybe yourself). Imagine their
- Visualise your
home. Move around it from room to room and imagine
what it looks, sounds, feels and smells like.
There are two
principal ways of using imagery to work towards a goal;
Imagery is the visualisation of the process or
actions of achieving the goal you desire. For example, a
golfer might imagine executing a perfect shot as he
approaches the ball.
creates mental pictures of the goal or result as if it
has already occurred. If you are giving a talk to
colleagues, you might imagine yourself confidently
delivering the speech, hear the applause and imagine the
positive outcome of your successful presentation.
A 1967 study by stress
researcher Edmund Jacobson found that visualising an
activity produces small but measurable reactions in the
muscles involved in the imagined activity. Repeated
mental rehearsal implants the learned memory of a
successful action, and also conditions the unconscious
mind with the outcome you expect to achieve.
Suppose, for example,
your goal is to lose weight. You could use result
imagery to imagine yourself as the size and weight you
want to be. Mentally picture yourself in the mirror
looking trim and as thin as you wish, fitting neatly
into the dress or suit size you want to achieve. Imagine
the feeling of being your ideal weight. You may also use
process imagery to imagine yourself eating smaller,
healthier portions of food. You might picture yourself
feeling full whilst leaving food still on your plate.
These images will reinforce the positive processes you
will go through to achieve your desired result.
imagination are closely related to the unconscious mind.
In fact, imagery has been described as the language of
the unconscious. The key to successful use of imagery is
to be as creative and imaginative as you can. Use your
own memories and experiences and fill your images with
colours, sounds, aromas, textures and tastes to be as
real and as absorbing as they can be. Keep your
visualisations positive and personally appealing to be a
powerful tool in self hypnosis.
Make it personal
Use language and images which reflect
your own experience. We all have our own memories and
experiences of the world, and speak to ourselves in our
own language. Put your suggestions into your own words
and use images you are familiar with.
The Language of
The use of hypnotic
language in self-hypnosis
We all have our own
personal collection of memories and experiences, and we
speak to ourselves in a language that has unique meaning
to us based on these experiences. Your unconscious mind
will relate best to suggestions which reflect your own
experience of the world. You will find most success with
self-hypnosis if you use your own words and symbols in
Try to discover your
own predominant mode of communication (that is, which of
the senses you most relate to), and use words and
phrases that are connected with that sense in your own
hypnotic language. For example, primarily visual language;
"I can see..", "picture this..", or
primarily auditory language; "I hear
that..", "it sounds like..", or primarily
kinaesthetic "it feels like..",
"hold on to that idea..". Research has shown
that hypnotic suggestions are acted upon more
effectively when they match the individual's own
Symbols are images
that you use to represent something else, and can be
used in your suggestions to represent your goals. For
example clouds billowing in a blue sky can symbolise a
relaxed state of mind, or leaves falling from the trees
can represent the relinquishing of problems. These
symbols will be most effective if they are taken from
your own past experience as your unconscious will be
more able to relate to them.
Take the time before a
self-hypnosis session to plan your goals and think of
some suitable images and symbols to support them. Take
images from your own memories and be as creative and as
imaginative as you can be in describing them.
should be specific and achievable. Vague descriptions or
images are less likely to be acted upon. Finding
different ways of expressing the same goal will increase
your chances of success.
positive, rather than negative. Most people react
unfavourably to negative 'do not' statements. We do not
like to be told 'NO'. However, a positively worded
suggestion with a positive benefit attached to it is
more likely to be accepted. For example, "You will
not eat chocolate anymore" is a negative command
that might easily be rejected or ignored. A more
effective and readily accepted suggestion might be;
"As you choose more healthy and nutritious foods to
eat, you may begin to feel lighter, healthier and more
Use emotive words in
your script - positive emotions will reinforce your
suggestions. For example, 'I feel deeply relaxed..', 'I
breathe effortlessly..', 'I can experience a wonderful
feeling of calmness..'
And finally, your
script need not be half-hearted or flawed for realism -
aim for an ideal, make it perfect.
Use your voice
Begin the session in your normal voice
at a relaxed pace. As the session progresses, slow down
and soften your voice so that as you enter hypnosis, you
are speaking softly, and at a slower pace than when you
began. Your voice can return to normal at the end of the
session as you leave hypnosis.
Make yourself comfortable
Find a place that is quiet,
comfortable and free from disturbance to practice
self-hypnosis. You certainly must not be driving or in
any other situation where your immediate attention is
required. Soft music and lighting may help but we would
not recommend the burning of candles.
Use deep breathing and relaxation
techniques to prepare for entering hypnosis. Just focus
internally and start to notice whatever you notice. This
is not a time for judging, analysing, criticising or
worrying. Notice your thoughts and feelings and assume
that very soon they will just drift away - they are
really not necessary at the moment. Allow your mind to
become calmer and clearer.
Relaxation techniques for self-hypnosis
One proven method of
achieving complete relaxation is deep breathing. This is
an ancient method favoured by yoga masters and is a
useful and enjoyable way to begin self-hypnosis.
Our normal everyday
breathing is typically rather shallow and rapid, and
usually involves expanding and contracting the chest.
However, deep, diaphragmatic breathing is healthier and
comes from the abdomen. In diaphragmatic breathing you
allow your belly to expand outwards as you inhale,
pulling the diaphragmatic membrane beneath your lungs
downwards and allowing your lungs to draw in air to fill
the space. Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale
slowly through the mouth.
This kind of slow,
deep, rhythmic breathing triggers a 'relaxation
response' in the body, the opposite of the
adrenaline-fuelled �fight or flight' response. Some of
the beneficial changes that occur as part of this type
of relaxation are reduced heart rate, increased blood
flow to the extremities, and muscular relaxation.
An exercise in
Begin by taking a deep
diaphragmatic breath, inhaling through your nose, for a
count of three. Now, having filled your lungs, hold your
breath for a count of three. Exhale slowly through your
mouth for a count of six. Wait for a count of four and
repeat the breathing cycle again.
Always keep your
breathing comfortable and relaxing. Don't inhale so
deeply that your lungs hurt or burn. If you feel dizzy
or light-headed at any time stop for a while and then
This exercise in
breathing can be done anywhere and any time, and can be
used to help counter tension or pressure. Take five of
these slow, deep, relaxing breaths as preparation for
is a system of relaxation developed by Edmund Jacobson
and means focusing separately, and progressively, on
each of the muscle groups in your body in turn, and
allowing any tension held in those muscles to be
released. Jacobson designed this technique based on the
argument that "an anxious mind cannot exist within
a relaxed body". Particular attention should be
given to the neck, shoulders and facial muscles as these
areas can hold a great deal of tension.
involves tensing each muscle group as you inhale,
holding the tension for a few seconds, and then
gradually releasing the tension completely as you slowly
fully exhale. This can be done for each muscle group in
turn until the whole body is relaxed. The main muscle
groups which can be relaxed in this way are; legs and
feet, arms and hands, back shoulders and neck, stomach
and chest, buttocks, face and head.
progressive relaxation is similar to the above,
except that it does not require you to actively tense
your muscles at all. Instead you simply imagine the
tension flowing out of your body with each breathe you
exhale, working progressively around your body as
before. It can help to visualise the tension as a kind
of liquid which drains away out of your body as you
breathe. This is a comfortable and easy method of
relaxation which can be done almost anywhere.
Once you are fully
relaxed, remember how it feels, and create an image in
your mind that describes your relaxed state. This will
help you to return to this state of relaxation again
more easily in future. Deep relaxation is an excellent
way to prepare for self-hypnosis.
Count yourself down
Use 'deepeners' in your hypnosis
script, such as going down a staircase or an elevator,
or floating down a stream, to help yourself go deeper
into your hypnosis. Count down in your mind as you go
deeper into relaxation. At times there will be inner
resistance to relaxation especially when you first start
to practice self hypnosis. Just be aware of it and let
it go...It will!
Putting Yourself Into
Achieving a trance
state in self-hypnosis
Hypnosis can be
described as a state of deep relaxation where the
hypnotised subject experiences a heightened level of
awareness coupled with a narrowing of their focus of
attention. This hypnotic state is called trance
and is a perfectly safe state which can occur naturally
during everyday life. In self-hypnosis we aim to
deliberately put ourselves into a hypnotic trance.
To be in a trance does
not mean to be asleep, although it can sometimes look
that way, but in fact the opposite is true. Studies of
the brain activity of people in trance have revealed an
increased level of alertness. Hypnosis is a very
personal experience and it should be remembered that
each individual will experience trance in his or her own
First find a quiet
place where you won't be disturbed, and begin by getting
comfortable and relaxed. Use deep breathing and
progressive relaxation techniques to get as deeply
relaxed as you can.
There is no fixed
method for trance induction, in fact there are many
hundreds of different techniques which have been used
effectively. The following are some common and proven
examples of techniques and any combination can be used
to enter trance, whichever you find works best for you.
With your eyes open,
focus your attention on any small spot or object in
front of you and above your line of sight. Keep
focussing on the spot and direct all your attention
towards it, clearing your mind of all other thoughts and
distractions. Continue breathing deeply and slowly, and
begin suggesting to yourself how relaxed you feel, and
how tired your eyes are becoming. Allow yourself to keep
relaxing more and more and eventually, when your eyes
become tired and heavy, you can close them.
It is possible to
enter a trance state even when you find it impossible to
relax. If you are finding it impossible to let go of
tension or anxiety, psychologist Michael Yapko in his
book 'Trancework' (1990) describes how you can utilize
your current stressed, anxious or tense state as a focus
for entering trance. You simply allow and accept your
present state of mind, whilst beginning to think back to
a time when you were involved in an experience of
calmness, comfort, or relaxation and absorption, such
that you didn't pay any attention to things going on
around you. In doing this you can allow your feelings
and responses to move towards those remembered from this
Visualisation is one
of the most powerful tools in self-hypnosis. Use
visualisation and imagery to create images in your mind
that suggest relaxation, for example, lying on a beach
or walking in a forest. Allow your imagination to flow
naturally and let yourself become absorbed by your
mental images as you enter trance.
This is another
example of imagery, and one that is often used to deepen
the level of relaxation. Imagine yourself at the top of
a beautiful staircase, there may be 10 steps to the
bottom. The stairs lead to the most beautiful, wonderful
and relaxing place you can imagine, which may be real or
fantasised. Imagine descending the staircase, counting
down the steps as you descend, and with each step
suggesting to yourself an increased feeling of
relaxation and a deepening of the hypnotic trance. As
you reach the bottom you will be as deeply relaxed as
you can be.
Creating a perceived
physical response to hypnosis is a way to focus your
attention inwards even further. Use suggestions and
imagination to create a physical feeling or sensation in
your body. For example, imagine warmth, or numbness, or
heaviness, or lightness in your hand. Feeling the
physical response occurring will indicate achieving a
level of self-hypnosis.
Sometimes people find
them selves so immersed and preoccupied with an
emotional feeling that they find it difficult to use
imagery. Strong emotions such as grief, anger or fear
can be overwhelming, but may be utilised to help enter
hypnosis. In this case, try to develop an image in the
mind like a scene from a movie in which you are the main
character. Focus on your current emotions and observe
the movie of your current situation, allowing your
character to experience all the feelings you are
presently having. By becoming absorbed in the movie as
an observer, and maintaining a detached awareness, you
will soon discover that you have entered trance. When
you are ready, you can extend your movie towards working
on your goals.
incorporate distracting sounds in your suggestions,
rather than trying to fight them. Notice any external
sounds that you can hear and then allow them to be
included in your suggestions for relaxation. Similarly,
internal distractions such as worries, pains or
self-doubt can be focussed on and used to help deepen
your self-hypnosis. Of course, some distractions will
require your attention immediately, such as the doorbell
ringing or a child requiring attention. In these cases
deal with the distraction satisfactorily and then return
to your self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is a
very personal and individual experience and different
methods will feel more comfortable for different people.
Techniques such as those above can be changed and
adapted to suit the individual. Self-hypnosis is a
natural skill which can be developed and made easier
Create an inner world
Spend some time in your own special
place. Create your own magical place in your mind, maybe
somewhere you know, maybe just an imagined paradise.
This can be a place where you feel safe and relaxed and
anything is possible. Use all of your senses - what can
you see, hear, feel, smell and taste? Make this
experience as vivid as you can, again, you will get much
better with practice.
Make it easier next time
Towards the end of your trance,
include some post-hypnotic suggestions for re-entering
self-hypnosis next time you practice.
Posthypnotic Cues and
cues and posthypnotic suggestions during self-hypnosis
practicing self-hypnosis, we are doing so for a reason.
We want to change something in our lives or achieve a
specific goal when we are no longer in hypnosis. The
power of posthypnotic suggestions helps to make this
suggestion is a suggestion which is given during
hypnosis for an action or response to take place after
the hypnotic experience. These suggestions may be for an
action, a feeling or an internal physical change to
are used to trigger posthypnotic suggestions after the
hypnosis session has ended. A posthypnotic cue may be an
action, thought, word, image or event that is used to
trigger a response implanted during trance.
These powerful tools
can be used in self-hypnosis to allow you to change your
behaviour and responses during your everyday life,
outside of hypnosis.
For example, suppose
your goal is to be able to feel more calm and relaxed in
stressful situations. During self hypnosis you could
make the association between deep breathing and feeling
relaxed. The posthypnotic suggestion is to be able to
relax and feel calm at any time. Deep breathing becomes
a cue for triggering this feeling of relaxation. When
faced with a tense or stressful situation, feelings of
calm and relaxation can be quickly restored with a few
deep, slow breaths.
Some further examples
of the use of posthypnotic cues and suggestions might
be; feeling full when opening the fridge door, helping
to achieve the goal of eating less; feeling calm and
safe when fastening the safety belt in an aircraft to
help conquer fears about flying; use turning off the
light as a cue for yawning and feeling sleepy to help
effectiveness remember the following guidelines;
- Your posthypnotic
suggestions should be specific to a particular goal
- Create a specific
cue for triggering the desired response or behaviour,
and make sure that the cues are appropriate to the
- During hypnosis,
visualise the scene, the action or feeling you
desire as vividly and in much detail as you can to
reinforce the suggestion.
One of the simplest
and most common uses for posthypnotic suggestions is to
help you re-enter trance more easily in future. For
example, during your self-hypnosis session you might
give yourself suggestions such as the following;
"Anytime in the
future I wish to renter this comfortable and pleasant
state of calm and relaxation, I will find I can do so
just by making myself comfortable and breathing deeply
and slowly for a few minutes... and I will be able to
return quickly and easily to this level of deep
relaxation and focussed awareness whenever I
Count yourself back
At the end of your session, count
yourself back to full awareness. Suggest to yourself
that when you leave hypnosis you will feel refreshed and
alert. Check that you are once again fully awake and
alert and enjoy the rest of the day!
You can, if you wish, make your own
self-hypnosis tapes from your scripts. This can be a
good way to enter hypnosis and make changes you have
already planned, without the need to remember your
script as you enter trance.
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