A stranger started talking to you in a very persuasive way. Then, you were suddenly caught in an unconscious state though you seemed awake with your eyes wide open.
Your eyes looked afar. Yet it was closely listening to the stranger who started telling you to do things. The next thing you knew was that the stranger was gone. He got you fooled by asking you to do something you did not want to.
Many of us would probably have this thought of what hypnosis is all about.
What is hypnosis? Why is there so much controversy and fear attached to it? How come there seems fear attached to it?
Wikipedia defines hypnosis as “a special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state.” Psychology Today (The How-tos Hypnosis) puts it simply as changing the way we sense, perceive, feel, think, and act while following the suggestions of someone else.
A study from the University of Hull found that basic brain activity undergoes change when people are hypnotized. The study proved how hypnosis works which is corresponding to a unique pattern of brain activation not observed in any other experimental condition.
It’s not meant for evil-doers, it’s also for superheroes
Sadly, hypnosis had been under-rated as a modus operandi of the underground world. It is a tool less known for its ability to make a personal change that can often lead to a better society.
Good news is that this tool has not changed how it works and you can use it to make your leap of faith. How many times you told yourself you wanted to quit smoking? Frustrated about postponing your diet tomorrow? Changing your shy behaviour to accomplish better things? Wanted to reach out to someone but fear keeps knocking on your head?
What goes beyond that you who want to change and that dream you want to achieve? There is a thin line you need to cross to reach the other side. So many things going on inside of us- the way we see, hear and feel; what our heart tells us and our minds dictates. Why can’t we do things we want when clearly there is no obstacle other than our determination?
Let’s not put the blame on ourselves and forever be in misery. There are things that have entered our senses and have started to create a perception that has made us see the world according to the experiences in the past. Some we consciously chose to see, some we unconsciously picked up and became part of us.
We have to learn to unlearn if we want to change how we see things in a different perspective. Alter our fortune and be the person we want to be.
3 Elements of Hypnosis
Psychology Today shares 3 elements of hypnosis:
1. Suggestion – Following the image in our mind about hypnosis, the words from the person performing it, is where the direction comes from. These sweet words uttered become irresistible we follow without being conscious of it.
In reality, this happens when we trust the one talking and have full confidence on him.
Don’t we sometimes follow a trusted friend’s advices because we are fully confident with him? A well-meaning TV show would recount success stories that we get so awed we want to follow suit. Even in small ways, we get suggestions in our environment.
2. Focus of attention – Hypnotists explain that the process is nothing more than focusing of attention. Just like when you watch a movie and totally carried away, hypnosis involves the same analogy.
Hypnosis is most effective when we turn off our thoughts and leave our senses open to what the hypnotist is telling us.
How a movies sets up the music, the setting, the actors and the dialogue is to catch your fancy and keep you anticipating more. That’s what a thrilling movie makes a success. When we give our full attention to something, we lose sight of other thoughts, worries and fears.
Turn your face away, from the garish light of day, turn your thoughts away from bold, unfeeling light, and help me make the music of the night… – Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
3. Relaxation – Hypnotists will walk you through a relaxation exercise to bring you to successfully get into deeper focus and allow your senses to open up. This leads to paying less attention to anything else but the hypnotist’s voice.
I am amazed how my three year old daughter can follow instructions on breathing pattern when she’s in the toilet to do her thing. Learning that it works for her and having done it myself unconsciously, I have started to do it more consciously. From even these little things, my eyes open to a reality that indeed this process works wonders!
In a feature from Discovery Channel (YouTube video here), Dr. Helen Crawford of Virginia Institute of Technology revealed affirming findings.
The hypnotized person is not passive during hypnosis. There is conscious activity on the brain as the person follows the suggestions given by the hypnotist. – Discovery Channel reported
It concludes that the individual person decides what to feel.
We are capable of choosing what to feel and what we can and we cannot do.
In our lives, every day we do hypnosis unconsciously for ourselves and others. We have yet to discover more how we can use this to our advantage and influence changing the world for better.
Know more about hypnosis
We have reviewed a number of resources on hypnosis where you can learn further to use this tool for your self-improvement. Check them out:
Have you been hypnotized? If you have not used this tool consciously, have you had any experience similar to this whether as the ‘hypnotized’ and as the ‘hypnotist’? Share your thoughts and let’s learn from each other.
PHOTO CREDITS: ZombieSylvie