A Treatise on Self Hypnosis
By Koujiryuu © 2006 Not to be reposted without permission.
2. Outline of Self Hypnosis
3. Self-Affirmation and Relaxation
4a. Jacobson Progressive Muscle Relaxation
4b. Countdown Meditation I
4c. Countdown Meditation II
4d. Affirming Hypnosis
Self hypnosis is a subject of great interest to anyone with pursuits in metaphysics, or anyone who wishes to change something about themselves. Self hypnosis is the act of hypnotizing oneself and then implanting a self-suggestion into the subconscious for a desired reason or purpose. Hypnosis is defined as such:
hyp∑no∑sis (hip-no'sis) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. hyp∑no∑ses (-sez)
1. An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
3. A sleeplike condition.
For the case of this essay, we'll consider definition (1) above to be most relevant. Hypnosis, then, is artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
Why would anyone desire to hypnotize themselves? Why not go to a hypnotherapist and have somebody else hypnotize you? These questions are valid, and very relevant.
Hypnotizing oneself in and of itself is simply a way of meditating into a trance state. It is the suggestions made during hypnosis, implanted into the individuals' subconscious, that have the capacity to cause change. Therefore, it could be said that hypnosis alone is simply a form of meditation, while subconscious suggestion is the real goal of the individual's pursuit of self-hypnosis. The suggestions made must therefore be realistically attainable and relevant to the individual themselves. Only you can cause change to yourself.
Getting hypnotized by someone else is not an easy task. First, you must find a decent hypnotherapist or psychotherapist that is willing to hypnotize you for a reason. Depending on where you live and what your schedule is like, this may not be a very easy goal to pursue. Second, you'll have to pay the hypnotherapist a great deal of money to help you, usually on multiple occasions over multiple sessions of hypnotherapy. This may not be possible either. Third, and perhaps most important, you must trust the hypnotherapist enough to allow them to hypnotize you! The mind can be rather unwilling to let go of itself at times, moreso when someone else is in charge of the operation. All of these reasons point towards attempting hypnosis yourself, instead of going to a hypnotherapist.
Self hypnosis is an interesting pursuit, and a useful method of changing yourself in accordance with your will.
2. Overview of Self Hypnosis
Self hypnosis is comprised of four stages. These stages are relaxation, deepening relaxation through meditation, suggestion, and termination.
Relaxation is the fundamental gateway to implanting a suggestion in the subconscious. In order for self-hypnosis to work, you must be fully relaxed and unaware of what is occurring around you. Relaxation involves finding a place you are comfortable with, lying down or sitting in your favorite chair, and making sure nobody else can disturb you while you practice. Relaxation is also the time to prepare a suggestion.
Deepening relaxation involves utilizing meditation techniques to more fully relax the body, and open the subconscious mind to suggestion. Until you reach a certain state of relaxation, your mind has safeguards, or barriers in place that hide the subconscious mind from the conscious mind. It is the goal of deepening relaxation to bypass these barriers and allow the conscious mind to access the subconscious, and implant a suggestion for change.
Suggestion involves reciting self-affirmations in a prefabricated manner to yourself out loud in order to firmly plant the idea in the subconscious mind while in a fully relaxed, hypnotized state.
Termination is simply ending the self-hypnosis induction session and returning the mind to a normal state of waking consciousness.
3. Self-Affirmation and Relaxation
Preparing a suggestion is probably the most important part of self-hypnosis. It is the manner in which you word your suggestion that is most important. The subconscious will not respond to negative thoughts very well, or any thought that can endanger yourself or someone you care about. Therefore, one must be very careful, thorough, and elaborate in wording a self-suggestion.
Additionally, the suggestion you make must be realistic and attainable through one's own actions. Suggestions like "My boss will not hassle me", "I can physically fly", "My mom won't ask me to clean the house", "I want some blear", etc will accomplish absolutely nothing, because they are unrealistic and unattainable in reality through the direct work of your subconscious.
For example, let's say that the goal of a self-hypnosis session you undertake is to implant the suggestion to be a positive and more giving person. This is a laudable goal, however the suggestion you come up with is as follows:
1. "I will not be a mean person any more."
This suggestion is not an adequate suggestion, because it contains negativity in the form of the word "not". Your subconscious mind is very good at doing things mentally, it is like your mental autopilot throughout the day. However, this suggestion would be very unlikely to even reach the subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind may not accept it. A better suggestion follows:
2. "I will be a happy and caring person towards everyone I encounter."
This suggestion is much better! As you can see, it is entirely positive. It is also much more complete. Suggestion  uses the term "any more", which is very vague and nondescript. Your subconscious would have a tough time accepting something so indefinite and unclear. In suggestion , essentially the same self-affirmation is made as in suggestion . We can easily see the similarities between the two. However, suggestion  is preferred because it is much more clear and verbose. Preparing a statement in these terms is the first step towards self-hypnosis: you must have a clear goal and well-worded self-affirmation before you can begin to hypnotize yourself.
It should be noted that when working with self-affirmations, you should never phrase things in an indirect manner. Using the word "you" instead of the word "I" is a big mistake; the individual will must be made apparent. For example-
"You are a happy and caring individual."
In keeping with the two suggestions above, the above suggestion illustrates another ineffective self-affirmation. It is ineffective because it is made from the standpoint of someone talking to you, and you are going to be saying the affirmation to yourself. Hopefully, the reason this isn't very effective is apparent.
Here are a few ideas for self-affirmation- first, a common, erroneous self-affirmation and second, a revised, acceptable self-affirmation.
1a. I do not desire to smoke.
1b. I will quit smoking cigarettes.
2a. I am not an angry person anymore.
2b. I will let go of my anger towards other people.
3a. You will be bigger physically.
3b. I will work out four times a week.
4a. You are not a sad person at all.
4b. I will be as happy as I can be.
5a. I will not be a hectic, chaotic person today.
5b. I am calm and relaxed.
As you can see, the (a) affirmations are generally unacceptable and implausible, while the (b) affirmations are good examples.
When you have an acceptable goal, and a self-affirmation in mind, write down the self-affirmation for the coming induction session in a notebook or on a piece of paper. Take this with you to the location of your choice for the session.
In choosing a location to begin relaxation in, it is wise to pick a place that you are familiar with. It should be a calm, relaxing location without any kind of outside noise or interference that may distract you from your goal of relaxation. An ideal place to practice relaxation is in your bed, lying flat on your back, or perhaps in your favorite chair.
As you lay or sit down, make sure you have your affirmation within reaching distance. You'll need this later, after you deepen relaxation and move to hypnotic self-suggestion. Begin by closing your eyes and breathing deep, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allow your lungs to fill completely with air, and notice the sensations this causes in your body and mind, but do not become overly attached to the feelings that develop. Exhale, and feel the tension in your body melt away. Practice this for about 10 minutes.
Now that you have a self-affirmation and you've begun to relax in your favorite place, it is time to deepen the trance state and move from relaxation to hypnosis. I have presented two techniques to deepen the degree of relaxation in the individual. It is up to the practicioner to determine which they would rather use, and one technique may work better than the other depending on the individual. For the best effects, it is reccommended to practice both of these exercises in order: first do progressive muscle relaxation, then the countdown meditation, and at the conclusion of both of them most individuals will be adequately hypnotized and ready for hypnotic suggestion.
4a. Jacobson Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique was taught to me at a young age by Dr. Daryld Hanusa, PHD. It is a method of progressively relaxing the muscles in the entire body so as to achieve a calm state overall.
Begin by continuing to breath deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth. We're going to start relaxing the muscles in the body bit by bit, from the toes to the head. Take a deep breath, and physically TENSE the muscles in the feet and calves. Try and make a fist out of your feet and hold this tension for a count of one to ten internally, then relax the muscles and exhale. Repeat to yourself internally, "I am calm and relaxed".
Moving on, we come to the thighs and groin area. Take a deep breath and physically tense the buttocks, thighs, and lower stomach. Hold this tension for the count of one to ten internally, and relax and exhale. Feel all the tension in these areas melt away, and once again repeat to yourself internally, "I am calm and relaxed".
Next, focus on the abs, chest, upper back and arms. Take a deep breath and physically tense your whole upper body, including the arms. Make fists with your hands and tense them too. Hold this tension for an internal count from one to ten, then relax and exhale. "I am calm and relaxed".
Finally, focus on the face and neck. Inhale deeply and tense the muscles in your neck and upper back, while shutting your eyes tightly and tensing the muscles in your face. Hold this tension for ten seconds and exhale, "I am calm and relaxed."
At the end of this regimen, you should feel very calm and relaxed. Close your eyes, and breath deeply. Inhale, exhale. Relax.
4b. Countdown Meditation I
This technique involves countdown backwards from 100 and using a mantra (yoga power word) to deepen hypnosis.
The mantra we are using is very ancient, and comes from mantrayoga, literally "devotion through words" in sanskrit, an ancient language from East India. The mantra word is "hamsa". Pronounced "hahm-sah", this word translates to a few different things, most notably "I am" or "swan". In hinduism, a swan is said to have ultimate viveka, or spiritual discrimination, as in the ability to tell fact from fiction, reality from delusion, and seperate oil from water perfectly. For the purposes of self-hypnosis, this information is irrelevant, but I feel it is only fair to provide a meaning to a word that will be repeated a lot in practice.
Anyway, now that we have our mantra, it is time to begin deepening relaxation to eventual hypnosis. Laying on your back or sitting in your favorite chair, continue to breath deeply. Pay attention to the cycle of inhalation and exhalation and try and extend your breaths for as long as possible.
Next, on each inhalation repeat internally "ham", and on each exhalation repeat internally "sa". Breath in, "hahm"- breath out, "sah". Not only does this relax the body and mind, but spiritually you are affirming your own existance in sanskrit, a very ancient language. Concentrate on relaxing, and allow the repetition of the mantra to occur naturally, with each breath. If your thoughts begin to wander, pull your attention back to the mantra, hamsa. "No self, only breath."
After you feel comfortable breathing and repeating the mantra, you will begin to countdown backwards from 100 internally inbetween repetitions of the mantra, like so:
"Ham....Sa.....100. Ham....Sa.....99. Ham....Sa.....98. Ham....Sa.....97."
Continue counting down from 100 with each breath. Eventually, you may just forget what number you are on. If you are a visual person, you can even visualize yourself taking steps down a staircase or going down rungs of a ladder with each numeral in the countdown. This exercise can continue until you get to 0, or otherwise forget what numeral you are on.
4c. Countdown Meditation II
For some people, the method above may not work very well. Some people have trouble grasping the idea of a mantra, and others may not want to use a mantra because of preexisting religious beliefs against such practices. This is understandable, and perfectly fine, so I've included an alternative countdown meditation excluding a mantra.
Laying or sitting down, breath in deep through the nose and out through the mouth. Picture in your head in big, block numbers the numeral "10". The number can be in whatever typeface or color you desire. Take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out, and see this number "10" become the number "9". Repeat this until you arrive at the number "1". After you get to "1", breath in and exhale and affirm to yourself "I am hypnotized" mentally.
This method can be repeated, starting at 10, until you notice the symptoms of hypnosis below.
4d. Affirming Hypnosis
How does one tell when one is fully hypnotized? There are a few different sensations that are key in determining whether or not you are ready to move to the suggestion phase.
-Flashing patterns of light on the inner eyelids, called "neural discharges"
-A feeling of warmth all over the body, called "internal heat"
-Feelings of very deep relaxation
-The inability to physically move: you try and move your body and find difficulty in doing so. This one is a big sign of a hypnotized state.
-A feeling of distance from one's normal mindstate. Less thoughts occurring than normal. Difficulty forming thoughts normally, as there is "nothing to think about".
-A strong feeling of connectedness with all things energetically.
-A loss of bodily awareness, or a blurry feeling of bodily awareness. If you cannot feel your body very well, and instead feel a buzzing vibration or sense of energetic consciousness, you are likely fully hypnotic.
Now that you are fully hypnotized through progressive muscle relaxation, countdown meditation, or both, it is time to implant the self-affirmation you came up with in section . As I recommended, it is in a notebook near you. Hopefully, you can remember the self affirmation on your own; it is not recommended to move physically when hypnotized, for fear of losing the hypnotic state. However, if you cannot remember the suggestion, look at your notebook or paper and read it now.
What you want to do is repeat the suggestion internally, in it's entirety, ten times. After you have done this, speak your suggestion aloud, putting emphasis on anything dealing with the ego. For example, if your suggestion was "I will be a happy person", you would say it aloud:
"I will be a happy person."
It is important to emphasize "I will" because this will allow the rest of the affirmation to enter your subconscious thought. Repeat your affirmation aloud three times, getting progressively more forceful in emphasis on the entire affirmation. This progressive overemphasis of a single idea serves to cement the affirmation in your subconscious mind permanently.
After speaking the self-affirmation aloud, proceed to repeat it internally as much as you feel is necessary. Eventually, you will feel as if the affirmation is a part of you; this is when it is fully implanted. Use the affirmation as you would use the "hamsa" mantra, with your breath.
Breath in, breath out. "I will be a happy person." Breath in, breath out. "I will be a happy person".
That is it for suggestion; a great deal of the suggestion section was covered in "3. Self-Affirmation and Relaxation", in preparing a self affirmation. Now that you've implanted it, we are finished with the hypnosis.
Terminating the self-hypnotic state is a method of working your way back to consciousness gradually. You don't want to just get up suddenly and start going about the rest of your day after you've hypnotized yourself; you want to "unhypnotize" yourself first, so to speak.
Begin by breathing deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Take deep, slow breaths, as you have been doing if you've followed the rest of this essay. Say to yourself internally:
"I am going to count to 10, and when I reach the number 10 I will be fully awake, conscious and ready to go about the rest of my day normally."
Start at 1, and visualize the number 1 in big, bold type in your mind's eye. Breath in deeply and exhale. Now say to yourself:
"I am awake."
Next, see the number "2" in your mind's eye. Breath in, breath out, and repeat to yourself again: "I am awake." Repeat this for the numerals three to ten. When you reach the number ten, open your eyes slowly.
Move your head and neck around a bit, and take another deep breath. Next, move your upper body and arms a bit, and take another deep breath. Now, move your abdomen and legs a bit, and take another deep, cleansing breath. Finally, if you were laying down, sit up in your bed. If you were sitting in an easy chair, stand up. Forget about what you did, and get rid of the piece of paper with the affirmation on it; reading the affirmation again or dwelling on it will impede it's lasting effect on your subconscious.
You may want to stretch your body physically or get a glass of water before resuming your daily activity.
This concludes my treatise on the practice of self-hypnosis. I sincerely hope this method helps you make positive change in your life through self-affirmation and meditation. Please realize that it may take multiple sessions of self-hypnosis with the same affirmation to fully implant the suggestion; it may take a few weeks to several months for you to notice any lasting effect. It really depends on what you seek to change about yourself, and you can also take steps to change yourself in accord with your self-hypnosis practice in daily life.
Self hypnosis is not magic. You must work to achieve your goals, whatever they are, no matter what. However, self hypnosis is an interesting and relevant pursuit, and when applied correctly the results are undeniably powerful. You can change any aspect of yourself that you dislike very easily with this method. I hope it works for you as well as it has for me.
Good health and training.