In times of uncertainty, there are always things you can do to reduce feelings of stress, fear and anxiety. The mind and the body are bi-directional, so whatever you think will manifest itself in the body, and vice versa. They work together as one and are part of the same system. So, if you learn to control your mind, you can control your feelings, thoughts and behaviours. In doing so you can instruct your mind to think and behave in a certain way.
One of the ways we can do this is to access our subconscious mind through self-hypnosis. There are five different ways to do this below. If you think that self-hypnosis is something you can’t do, then think again. We go in and out of hypnosis many times a day without realising it. You can use this phenomenon to retrain your mind to focus on staying calm, reduce anxiety and improve confidence and positivity. Hypnosis is simple and effective and you can achieve results instantly, however, being consistent with practice will ensure longer lasting and permanent changes.
1. INDUCE SELF-HYPNOSIS
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for a while. Tell yourself how long you’re going to hypnotise yourself for. Ensure you are comfortable with uncrossed arms and legs then fix your eyes on a point just above your eye level, keeping your head still. Keep staring at the spot without blinking until your eyelids start to feel heavy, then gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breathing and breath deeply in through your nose, telling yourself you are breathing in relaxation, then exhale through your mouth, telling yourself you are breathing out tension. Do this for a few breaths, allowing yourself to relax more deeply with each breath. Then, in your mind, visualise 10 steps and see yourself standing at the top of the 10 steps. One by one, walk down each of the steps in your mind counting as you go: 10, nine, eight… You will find that you are deeply relaxed and ready to receive positive suggestions.
We use auto suggestion in a negative way every day. How many times do you criticise yourself, tell yourself you’re not good enough or you can’t do it? Our subconscious mind accepts everything we tell it without question, therefore it believes that you can’t do it so, guess what? You won’t. Once you have induced hypnosis, you can then use positive affirmations to cement new beliefs and new positive ways of thinking. If you do this every day, you will start to believe your new positive thoughts and they will become automatic – your default system. You can do this consciously too – maybe write out some affirmations and say out loud to yourself everyday. The benefit of doing this while hypnotised is that you are accessing your subconscious mind, therefore a much deeper level of your mind. Before you self-hypnotise, decide on what suggestions you are going to give yourself. Make sure they are positive, DO NOT focus on what you DON’T want. You could choose ‘every minute, every hour, every day, I am getting calmer and calmer’, or ‘ every minute, every hour, every day my confidence is growing’. The list goes on – you can choose anything you want to – just remember to focus on the positive only. If you feel nervous, don’t tell yourself you are not nervous, tell yourself you are calm.
Once you have mastered the ability to induce self-hypnosis you can use a variety of techniques to bring about the required changes. The language of the subconscious mind is imagery, so if you picture yourself in your favourite place – maybe on holiday in the sun or enjoying a favourite hobby – you can instantly calm your mind and body. When your mind is calm, your body will immediately become calm. You can also use visualisation to see yourself in the future doing something that you love, or just see yourself as calm and relaxed with your family or on your own.
4. MUSCLE RELAX
This technique can be used either in or out of hypnosis, or you can use it as a method to induce hypnosis. Make sure you’re comfortable – this method works best lying down. Close your eyes and scan around your body with your mind, noticing how it feels. Bring your awareness to the top of your head and give a direct instruction to your head to relax, bring your attention to your eyes and screw them up as tightly as you can, holding for two breaths, then relax them. Do the same with your nose, scrunching up your face and then releasing. Move down to your shoulders rolling them up towards your ears, holding for two breaths then releasing. Move all the way around your body, tightening and holding each of your muscles all the way down to the tips of your toes. You can then remain in position allowing your mind to visualise, project into the future, or repeat some positive affirmations in your mind. You will find that your breathing has slowed down and your whole body and mind will feel relaxed. It’s important to allow enough time to do this when you won’t be disturbed.
5. GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Keeping a daily gratitude journal can help you to appreciate the good things in your life, and, much like positive affirmations, shift your focus so that you automatically start to see the good. When this happens, your energetic vibration lifts and you start to attract more positives into your life. Get yourself a little notebook and write down three things that you are grateful for each day. They can be very simple things like ‘I am grateful that I am breathing’, or ‘I am grateful for the little robin that came into the garden today’. They can be anything you like, but try to see different things each day and pretty soon you will notice the abundance all around you on this amazing planet on which we live.
Make sure you keep yourself safe by following all government guidance. If you are unwell please seek medical treatment as advised. Don’t take any risks with your physical health. Practicing all or some of the techniques above will help you to reduce anxious feelings and stay calm and centred. Remember to eat well, cutting out sugar as this causes inflammation and can compromise your immune system, drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and flush out toxins, and get plenty of sleep for rest and repair.