by William October 8th, 2013 No Comments

Self Hypnosis and Mental Imagery (Part Two)

Prior to embarking on the use of Mental Imagery, you may want to be hypnotized by a trained Hypnotherapist first; he/she can teach you how to do self-hypnosis.  Or, you might consider purchasing the Self Hypnosis CD for sale on this website.  You also might want to put a personalized induction procedure on tape.  I’ll show you how to best use the combination of those two:

…..Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable chair.

…..Close your eyes and relax you entire body.  Repeatedly tell yourself throughout the relaxation procedure to become more and more deeply relaxed.  At the same time, tell yourself you will remain totally awake and alert, carefully attending to your own self-instructions.  When deeply relaxed all over, tell yourself that you are ready for a pleasant, effective hypnotic state which will help you help yourself.

…..When very relaxed, say to yourself or listen to the self-hypnosis instructions recorded for you on this website.  Usually, relaxation instructions are all that are needed.

…..When hypnotized and feeling very comfortable and relaxed, imagine being in a very safe, peaceful, and comfortable place.  Enjoy that as long as you like.

…..Give yourself instructions for improving (explained below).

…..Wake yourself up by counting from 5 to 1, become more awake at each step.

If you want to simply record the whole thing, you might use a script like this: (read in a clear but slow and drawn-out voice, a hypnotic voice).

…..“You should be relaxing in a comfortable chair with the phone and other distractions turned off.  If you are interrupted, you will at any time be able to open your eyes and take care of whatever needs to be done.

…..Close your eyes and concentrate on relaxing all over.  Take a deep breath and slowly exhale…notice the calming effect of deep breathing.  Take some more deep breaths…Feel the muscles in your body losing their tightness and tension.  As this happens, you will feel better and better.

…..To increase the relaxation, I will count from one to ten and get more and more relaxed as I count towards 10.  At the count of 10, I will be in a very relaxed, very pleasant, worry free, completely alert and aware, but comfortable hypnotic state.  One, I will relax my hands and forearms.  Think of the right hand, fingers and forearm, tell those parts to get rid of all their stress and tension.  Relax more and more.  Think of the left hand, fingers and forearm.  Relaxing deeper and deeper.  Two, I let the calmness spread into my upper arms…into the biceps and triceps.  Very relaxed.  Feeling good.  Three, my shoulders and neck are relaxing…deeper and deeper.  Four, the top of my head, scalp and forehead are calming…relaxing…feeling smooth and soft.  Five, I notice the wonderful feeling moving down into my eyes, cheeks, lips, tongue and jaws.  I tell the entire head and face to relax more and more.  Six, my chest, lungs and upper back are slowing and calming down…very comfortable.  Seven, I am letting the stomach relax and settle down…also the lower back and spine…the tension is going away…replaced with pure comfort.  Eight, the muscles in my upper legs, feet and toes.  Ten, I am extremely relaxed all over.  The last remaining tension anywhere in my body is melting away…my whole body is calm…very comfortable…feeling wonderful.

…..I am now probably in a pleasant, enjoyable, effective hypnotic state, even though I may not feel certain of that.  In any case, I will be able to think clearly and control my own thoughts.  My imagery will be very detailed, very clear and realistic.  I will be able to use this imagery to my advantage.  I will remember everything that happens while I am hypnotized.

…..I will first use hypnosis to imagine being in a pleasant, comfortable place, a place where I feel perfectly safe, perhaps on a beach or in my own private place.  I will see all the details….hear the sounds…feel and smell the air…really get into it.  I will talk to myself about all aspects of the scene…and enjoy myself thoroughly for a nimute or so.”

Be quiet for a minute, then continue with your developed and recorded self-improvement suggestions to give yourself during self-hypnosis or while using mental imagery.

The self-instructions may reflect a new attitude towards others or yourself, a different way of thinking, a post-hypnotic suggestion for a change in behavior and so on.  Hadley and Staudacher (1985) say that hypnotic suggestions should (a) be worded simply (focus on one change at a time) but repeated several times, (b) be believable, obtainable (gradual steps may be needed) and desirable, (c) be stated positively (“I am relaxed” rather than “I won’t get uptight”) and for a specific time (I will study effectively from 6:30 to 10:00 tonight), (d) use cue words or a key phrase to trigger the suggested reaction (saying “relax” while approaching an attractive person or “good memory” while studying), and (e) provide detailed images of the suggested outcome (“I am taking a test…relaxed and doing well…”).

Here are some specific suggestions.  Modify them to fit your situation:

…..Studying and concentrating:  “I will start studying tonight at 6:30, right after the news.  I will remain alert and concentrate fully on my reading, except for taking a 5-minute break every half hour.  If other thoughts intrude, I will quickly re-focus on the studying.  If friends try to get me to do something else, I will tell them that I definitely intend to study for three hours.  Nothing can change my mind.  I will quickly understand what I read and will have a ‘good memory,’ remembering the material well for the exam.

I will start on time and stay on schedule, including 5-minute rest periods every half hour.  My mind will attend only to the text; it will absorb the big and important points; I will take the time every two or three paragraphs to repeat (recite from memory) what the author has just said.  As I do this, I will feel really good about studying so effectively and learning so much.  I will remember the material well for the exam on Friday.”

…..Weight Loss:  “I can feel very relaxed and I can change my eating habits.  I see myself as becoming thinner and thinner, in better and better shape.  I will allow myself to lose weight.

I will change my poor eating habits into good ones.  Imagine a table filled with the high-fat food and the junk and sweets that make me overweight.  These foods harm me and interfere with my life; they might even kill me.  I won’t eat them any more.  I’ll shove this food off the table.  Now, I’ll place good, healthy, low-fat, high fiber food on the table.  Imagine slowly eating—only when I’m hungry, not when I’m upset—small amounts of the good food.  Delicious.  My hunger is satisfied and I am really pleased with my self-control.

I see myself as thin, in good shape, healthy, beautiful, and coping.  When I’m bored, I’ll call a friend.  If I’m tense, I’ll meditate.  Instead of eating lunch with friends, I’ll play handball with Joe.  If I ever get 2 pounds over my limit, I’ll immediately cut my calorie intake and increase my exercise for several days.  I feel wonderful, full of energy, proud, attractive, in charge…I eat nutritious food but only as much as I need.  Keeping in shape by eating right and exercising is a source or great pride for me.”

…..Stress Reduction:  “I am very relaxed…very relaxed.  I can see that pressure comes from the outside world but feelings come from inside me.  I can control my feelings.  The feelings I want, I can keep.  The feelings I don’t want, I can discard or discharge them…get rid of them.  I am a whole person with many feelings.  I am aware of all my many feelings, but I can choose which feelings I want to keep and which to get rid of.  I choose to be peaceful and rid of stress.  I feel good…at ease…calm…composed.

Furthermore, I can build a shield against the outside pressure.  External stress will just bounce off me.  In this way my shield will prevent the pressure from producing upsetting emotions inside.  I will be protected all day from tension and stress.  No matter how many demands there are outside, I will be calm inside…protected by the shield and by my decision to get rid of unwanted emotions.  When people expect too much of me or when they are critical, I will stay calm…protected and in control of the inside feelings.  When I need the shield, it will automatically be there or I can call on it by simply saying, ‘the shield’ or ‘relax.’  I am very relaxed, strong, and in control of my feelings.  The shield will shelter me for the next four hours.  I am safe.”

…..Fear reduction:  People have overcome fears by watching others conquer the same fear.  They even imitate others seen in a film mastering a fear.  Just having vivid imagery of someone handling the fear we face may be enough to provide a new model of behavior for us to imitate.  Also, hypnosis or imagery can be used to create a very relaxed feeling and then to imagine confronting the frightening situation.

Other fantasies may also help reduce fears: imagine you are a powerful important person and the other person (who scares you) is your subordinate; imagine the woman/man you want to approach will say, “no, I have a jealous boy-girlfriend” (making rejection less upsetting); imagine a pleasant scene to calm yourself when scared in any situation.

…..Pain reduction:  one procedure involves numbing your hand (by making it cold, or changing it into wood or stone) and then transferring the numbness to the part of your body that hurts.  Thus, reducing the pain.  Another procedure involves first experiencing the pain as movable, say from the back of the head to the back of the neck, then continue moving the pain until it is finally out of your body.  An example:  “Even though I’m very relaxed, I can feel the pain I have been having.  Focus on the pain (describe it).  Now, notice that the pain is fluid…it can move within my body.  As this fluid moves, it carries the pain with it.  (Very gradually move the pain from its source towards the right shoulder, down the right arm and into the right hand).

As the pain enters my right hand, the fingers tighten into a tighter and tighter fist…When the fist is very tense, I can simply open the fist and throw the pain and tension away.  Now, throw the pain away…completely gone.  (Repeat if needed).  Appreciate the relief…notice the peaceful calm that remains.  I still have feelings where the pain was, so I will know if anything is going wrong…I will move, feel, and react normally.  The pain is gone…drained…and I will be able to use these techniques over and over again if the pain returns.”

…..Building self-esteem:  “While remaining very relaxed, think of the labels that have in the past made you feel down or slowed you down.  Imagine those labels on a blackboard.  They are negative words and criticism from others and from yourself.  Now, wipe them off the board…wash them away…they are gone.  Go to the blackboard, and in place of the negative labels, write positive labels…strengths that describe you…Capable…Caring…Sensitive…Good…Willing to help…Able to learn…(add other major strengths you have and/or want to develop more).

Now, stand back from the board and think of these positive traits.  (pause)  I am a good person…I’m fine.  I am proud of myself.  I am able, I have great talents.  People see me as a good person.  I feel comfortable interacting with people, I am as good as they are.  I share my ideas and experiences with others.  They are interested in me.  I am positive and pleasant to be around, tactfully asserting myself, self-assured, and looking for ways to help others.  I say to myself, ‘I can handle this,’ ‘I look nice,’ ‘I have lots of energy,’ ‘I am a unique, human being,’ ‘I’m in charge’…

I fill my mind with these positive ideas, I look for my good points, I pursue my goals, I see my life as a wonderful adventure.”

…..Write your own instructions for any desired change, e.g. if you are not motivated at work or at school, write self-suggestions about being able to change, becoming a successful person, deciding on your major goal and putting minor goals aside, seeing the importance of the goal and the wonderful possible outcomes, having the drive and determination to succeed, imagining yourself resolutely plodding on day after day, dream of the eventual success and the fantastic consequences for you and others around you.

Get Prepared and Have the Experience Daily

Find a quiet, private place.  Don’t schedule anything for 20 minutes.  If you are interrupted, you can answer the phone or the door, but it may be better to turn off the phone and ignore a knock.  Have your self-instructions prepared.  Go through the entire routine, just as you planned it, even though you don’t believe you are truly hypnotized or deeply into the visualization.  Try to develop a routine so you will have the experience at the same time each day.  Be patient, it takes time to learn any new skill.  Measure your progress.

Time Involved.

A couple of hours will be needed to plan and prepare the procedure you want to use.  Since the effects of hypnosis and visualization are sometimes short-lived, you need to schedule a 20-minute session every day.  To give self-hypnosis a fair trial, expect to use it daily for at least a month.

Common Problems.

As with meditation, some people expect too much too fast from self-hypnosis or mental imagery.  So, guard against premature disappointment or excessive expectations.  Likewise, some people wanting instant “magic” resist having to write a script and make a tape.  Such people should seek a Hypnotherapist.

Occasionally, you may become so relaxed that you fall asleep.  No problem.  In fact, if you feel you have lost control for any reason in self-hypnosis, simply relax and wake up using the counting procedure or just go to sleep and wake up naturally.

Self-hypnosis is easy to learn, it lets you be your own master, and it can be used whenever you need it with many self-improvement projects.  It is interesting to most people; that helps us maintain our motivation to make difficult changes.  Self-hypnosis is not dangerous as long as it is used for these simple purposes and with the cautions mentioned above.

 

 

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