The first lesson covered the principles of hypnosis, what self hypnosis is, the theory of the mind, the critical mind, and the subconscious mind and how they all interrelate with one another.
By now you should hopefully have an understanding of just what hypnosis is and the basic functions involved in how it works, including how we enter into a trance in order to order to receive suggestions.
This lesson we’re going to be covering the different stages of hypnosis, how self hypnosis can be used to overcome stress and also how it can be used in almost any aspect of our lives in order to enter a more positive and productive mindset.
First of all, just what are the different stages of hypnosis that we enter into? Hypnosis itself can send us into varying states of depth, and for our first topic, we shall analyse each of these stages.
The Stages of Hypnotic Induction
The first stage of hypnosis that we enter into is known as the hypnoidal stage. The hypnoidal stage is characterised by the eyes moving vertically, up and down. It’s at this stage that we’re starting to deepen our mind into a trance, as our critical mind starts to weaken itself, allowing our subconscious to take over and become vulnerable to external suggestions. Within the hypnoidal stage, we will still be aware of what’s happening, we’ll still be able to reject suggestions that we want, but we start to become more relaxed and become aware that we’re entering into hypnosis. As this stage becomes deeper we enter into what’s known as the cataleptic stage. Now catalepsy is what is commonly known to be a form of rigidity within the limbs of the body and muscles, and indeed this is essentially what it is in hypnosis, however unlike the medical term, in hypnosis, we simply use it to mean a state where someone becomes more rigid.
Now in the cataleptic stage of hypnosis, this rigidity is normally characterised by our inability to move certain parts of our body. If someone were to say to you, or even if you were to say to yourself, that you were unable to move your arms or legs, and you were unable to do so, then you’d need to usually be at least in the cataleptic stage in order for this to happen. If you were listening to a hypnosis tape for example, and the tape said to make your arm stiff and rigid, and you moved your arm but it moved in a stiff and rigid manner, this would be cataleptic. Cataleptic is a deeper stage of hypnosis as opposed to hypnoidal, and one who is in the cataleptic stage of hypnosis can be identified by their eyes moving from horizontally, from left to right over and over again.
Once you fall into an even deeper state of trance, you’ll finally reach the deepest stage known as somnambulism. Many people know of a somnambulist as being someone that sleepwalks, and whilst sleepwalking may have some similarities with a person who’s in a state of somnambulism in hypnosis, the two terms are actually different, depending on the context.
In hypnosis, somnambulism refers to the deepest level of trance that we enter into. It’s when we’re open to suggestions that we normally would reject. This isn’t to say that we’re open to suggestions that we find wrong or immoral because as you learnt the last lesson, you cannot accept suggestions that you find unethical since your subconscious will naturally reject them. There are however ways that one can circumvent this natural rejection through the use of subtle suggestion, however, this involves covert hypnosis, which is not within the scope of this topic.
So when we’re in a state of somnambulism, we become more likely to forget what happens to us in hypnosis altogether. Suggestions that we’d normally remember, our conscious might can’t recall. This is because the deeper we are in a somnambulist state, the more our subconscious is doing the thinking and receiving suggestions, as opposed to our consciousness.
So now you understand the various stages of hypnosis. We first enter into the hypnoidal state, then the cataleptic stage and finally we reach somnambulism at the very last stage of self-hypnosis. Putting all these steps together essentially explains the process of being induced into hypnosis.
Self Hypnosis And Stress
During the course of day to day life, we suffer a lot of stress due to our experiences. Life is becoming an ever more complex thing as humanity evolves, both socially and monetarily. Finance is becoming a more critical area of life as fuel and oil prices go high, and the average commodity that you purchase from the supermarket, the price of a car, and places to live, now cost more than ever before. At the same time, we’re going paid less and less from work. Things which once upon a time didn’t cost as much at all now cost us a lot of money. All this adds undue strain and stress to our subconscious. Although sometimes we might not think or realise that we’re stressed, more often than not we are, especially if we’re going through a period of our life where something is worrying us.
Thankfully self-hypnosis can be used to overcome these psychological issues. Stress, like anything, can be alleviated if you know how. Whilst changing your lifestyle might be the easiest answer of all, such a thing is not possible for most of us, especially if financial demands place a burden on your life. Therefore we have no other choice other than to deal with our stress and the problems at hand, and what better way to do that other than through hypnosis?
First, let’s go into a little bit of history and see what causes us stress. In the primaeval times, a man had two basic instincts before he mentally evolved to the state he’s in today. These two instincts were, as you probably already know, ‘fight’ and ‘flight’. These two responses were all that humanity needed to trigger in order to survive. If the man was out hunting a wild antelope or mammoth of some odd form, and a man had the means at his disposal (such as spears and whatnot) in order to defeat that mammoth, then man would enter a fight response and attempt to kill the mammoth so to that it could be eaten. If however the man was by himself in a cave and he saw a wild hungry lion venture inside and had no means at his disposal of defending himself against the lion, then he would enter into a flight response. He would attempt to run away, perhaps into a hole of some form that the lion could not get into, in order to avoid this confrontation.
You see back then, things were quite simple. If the man wanted to overcome a problem, he’d fight it. If he didn’t want to overcome it or had had enough with it, then he would simply run away. This same basic instinct is still with us today, our bodies are always trying to tell us “leave it, run away” if we find something stressful, or if we’re doing something that we don’t really want to do, but know that it’s necessary. Unfortunately, it quite simply isn’t practicable in modern society to run away from our problems, such things aren’t possible. Whilst we would all enjoy the thought of simply storming out of the office and running outside if our boss tells us something that we don’t want to hear, doing such a thing would mean that we don’t get paid, and without money, we face further hardships. Such is the price of our mental developments as humans.
Now when we choose to ignore our primitive response to “flight”, this causes us mental stress and anxiety. Both of these problems most likely did not exist before man evolved into proper societies and if it did, nowhere near to the same degree that it exists today. That’s because today we’re forced to stay and fight our problems, even though deep down we really want to flight. Ignoring our most basic of instincts can become hard, but with training, we get used to it. The consequences this has on our subconscious, however, cannot be ignored, and when we’re stressed and start to notice behaviours that we’re not comfortable with, it’s most likely as a prolonged result of us neglecting what our body is trying to tell us.
Since we can’t run away from our problems, we have to deal with them. This inevitably means that no matter what we do, we’ll experience stress. It’s quite simply just become a natural part of our life that we’ve come to expect, and realise that there’s not too much we can do to circumvent it. This is where self-hypnosis comes in handy, as it allows us to guide ourselves into deep hypnotic states and make changes to our subconscious. We can relax, release lots of built up tension and stress within our bodies that has been there for perhaps years on end, and once again enter into a calm state of mind, a state of mind where things don’t seem as bad as they once did. Releasing stress can also allow us to become more optimistic in life, and view things more warmly. We can become less argumentative, more rational with our decisions, and can have a clearer head to think of new ideas when we’re not stressed or anxious.
So as you can see, learning self hypnosis to overcome stress can be a most beneficial thing for your health indeed. As was explained in the previous lesson, all you need to worry about with self hypnosis is entering into that deeply relaxed, trance-like state, and then making the necessary changes to your behaviour whilst you’re in the state. You may affirm to yourself positive suggestions such as “I will feel peaceful and carefree in my life” and “I feel relaxed and happy”. When you plant suggestions such as the ones above, you want to use positive suggestions only, you don’t want to include negative words in the suggestion. For example, don’t say to yourself “I won’t feel worried or stressed”. Your subconscious doesn’t analyse things as well as your conscious does and therefore will only pick up certain keywords such as “worried” and “stressed”. The last thing you’d want to do would be to flood your subconscious with more bad things, so try to include positive words only such as “peaceful, relaxed, happy, calm, tranquil”. Words such as these will be remembered by your subconscious and will be more likely to cause your conscious mind to act upon them in a positive sense.
Don’t feel as if you’re somehow a unique individual in a bad sense. We’re of course all unique in our own ways, but we all experience common problems, negative thoughts and frustrations as well as quarrels. It’s a natural part of being human, we quite simply can’t have everything we want, and live in a perfect world, for life is structured in such a way that prevent those sorts of things from being possible for everyone. We can however make our world almost perfect in our own eyes by changing the way we look at it. By shaping the way our subconscious thinks, we can use hypnosis to view things that we’d normally find bad, as being something good. You’re basically turning a negative into a positive, as the saying goes.
Eventually, once you relax your mind through hypnosis, you’ll start to enjoy things such as work and life more than you normally would. Things which were once stressful you may even look at it in a new light as not being stressful at all. With time and practice, you too can learn self hypnosis in order to overcome your stress. Keep at it, and stick with the techniques taught, and try and understand how it all works, and you’ll notice positive differences in your life, however subtle they might be, to begin with.