If you practice self hypnosis, then you will have to deal with distractions. These disturbances can range from intrusive thoughts to noises outside the building where you are practising. Some of the outside noises can seem to be like alarms going off in your mind – especially if they are real alarms (like a neighbour’s house alarm or a car alarm) going off while you are in trance! And it can be very distracting to have workmen using pneumatic drills on the road outside your house! But your own thoughts can be just as distracting, just as disruptive, and just as damaging as any external disturbance.
Anything that causes disruption to any part of the self hypnosis process is a distraction.
There is a long list of things that can distract you, and such disturbance can occur at any stage of the self hypnosis process, whichever self hypnosis techniques you
may be using. There will be times when you are distracted by noise, or you when you experience disruptive thoughts. There may be times when you are
experiencing pain, or distracting feelings (emotional or physical), or you may find a part of your anatomy is itching! These disturbances may all serve to prevent you going into self-hypnosis, or may disrupt your work while you are practising.
So, you may reasonably ask: “How do I deal with things that disturb myself hypnosis?”
There are three ways of eliminating disturbances, depending on the nature of the disturbance:
- Minimise or eliminate the possibility of any disturbance before starting your self hypnosis;
- Deal with any disruption as it arises (rather than sit and allow it to carry on and ruin your self hypnosis session;
- Utilise the distraction to help your self hypnosis.
Minimise or eliminate the possibility.
Firstly, try to ensure that there is an as little possibility of experiencing certain distractions as possible:
- Practice in an environment that is as comfortable as possible to avoid fidgeting;
- Practice at a time when you are least likely to experience disruption;
- Make sure you have an empty bladder and bowels before you start;
- Don’t practice within an hour after a meal;
- Don’t practice under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs.
- Switch off your mobile phone, and unplug your landline. (Remember to switch them back on again after you finish your hypnosis session!
Deal with any distraction as it arises.
There are some interruptions that should not be ignored and should simply be dealt with as and when they happen. The reason is simple – for the following disturbances, if you just ignore them, you will continue to wonder what it was, and this continuing thought will continue to disrupt the self hypnosis,
- If someone calls at the door, or on the phone – answer it! (You can minimise this by unplugging the phone, or switching off your mobile before you start – then remember to switch them back on after you have finished!);
- If you have an itch – scratch it – then return yourself into your trance;
- If someone in your family needs your attention – give it – then return to your trance. (You can minimise this by practising when you are least likely to be disturbed.)
Utilise the disturbance to help your hypnosis.
Some distractions can actually be helpful – you can use them to improve your trance:
- On commencing your self hypnosis session, tell yourself that all sounds you hear will serve to make your relaxation deeper. e.g. “I may hear noises inside the room or outside the building that will only make my relaxation deeper and deeper”;
- With vehicle noise (passing cars or planes) – imagine the vehicle carrying your worries away, and as they carry your worries away you can feel yourself drifting deeper and deeper into trance;
- With people noise you can do one of two things: as Alman & Lambrou suggest you can remind yourself that you can also take time to do the things that are important to you, like practicing self hypnosis; but you can also remind yourself that, whatever is happening outside the building, inside the building, and in your mind, you are creating tranquillity and peace:
- Internal distractions – the never ending mind chatter! It’s actually okay to let yourself have thoughts! So don’t try to be utterly empty-minded (you are practising self hypnosis, not an extreme form of meditation!). Instead, try to transform your thoughts into something that will help your trance. Perhaps you can use a counting process – count your thoughts as they occur, like counting passing people or cars!
There are, however, some distractions that are impossible to overcome, and I have to advise that there are times when it is best to stop your self hypnosis session.
If you are experiencing angry thoughts, or very negative thoughts or emotions, then I would advise that you bring yourself out of trance immediately because remaining in trance would ensure that you reinforce the thoughts and feelings that you are having. The purpose of self hypnosis is to overcome habits of thought and behaviour that are governed by our unconscious mind – so the last thing we want to do is to place another negative thought or emotion into the unconscious mind!
Similarly, there will be times when, for whatever reason, you struggle to relax and do self hypnosis. At these times, the best thing you can do is to accept that it's not going to work at that time and awaken yourself (using the full correct awakening procedure). There will always be days when the self hypnosis is good, and days when the self hypnosis is not as good! Just accept it and try again the next day. Remember - practice makes perfect! (Actually, I'm not sure that's true for everything - but practice certainly improves self hypnosis!)
You will never escape distractions, so allow yourself to manage them in the way that is best for you.