Hypnosis has a long and dubious history in the minds of many people. From television, movies, books and various other forms of entertainment we have seen it dramatized in many ways; from the comical to the suspenseful to the downright horrifying. Through there is some basis in reality, hypnosis is really not exactly as it has been depicted. You simply enter a very relaxed state of mind, as you would through meditation, and become very open to suggestions and ideas. In hypnosis, you can either have someone aid you in the relaxation of your mind or you can moderate and enter this altered state of consciousness yourself.
A practical tool for stress management, self-hypnosis is basically the same concept as meditation. You relax your body and allow the stress hormones to subside while keeping your mind distracted from the unanswerable thoughts that trigger the hormones. Meditation and self-hypnosis differ in that meditation works through mantras and affirmations to help in confidence building. An affirmation is simply a positive statement based upon rational thinking that we speak in order to push negative thoughts from the mind. Self-hypnosis can be a much more intense experience.
Self-hypnosis may be difficult to master, but with practice it can be done and can be very beneficial. First you will need to find a quiet room here you will be undisturbed for at least a half an hour. Lying down is not recommended as you may end up falling asleep instead of hypnotizing yourself. Find a nice comfortable chair or sofa and do not cross your legs or arms. Because you will be in the same position for a reliably lengthy period of time you will want to remain as comfortable as possible.
Shut your eyes and try to clear your mind of the negative feelings, anxiety or stress. It may be difficult not to think at first; thoughts may tend to intrude. Do not try to force out the thoughts but be an impartial observer of them instead. This will get them to just slip away. Be aware of your body; feel the tension. Start at your toes and imagine the tension is just falling away slowly and then vanishing. Imagine freeing each part of your body in this manner one at a time. Start with each toe and then work your way up the body. It helps to visualize the parts of your body becoming lighter as they release the tension. Relax the toes, the feet, the calves, the thighs, the hips, the stomach, and so on and so forth. Relax each portion of your body ending at your head and face. Focus on your breathing; take deep breaths, slowly. Imagine tension and negative feelings floating away in a dark cloud as you exhale. When you inhale imagine good energy and bright light entering.
You are now extremely relaxed and you should take a moment to appreciate it. Imagine you are atop a flight of stairs with 10 steps. Halfway down, at step 5, you see water. Imagine stepping down each step very slowly; start at ten and with each step feel yourself move and take a step downward. Count as you descend each step. When you reach the water, feel its coolness on your skin as you descend. Feel the water move higher up your body as you continue down the steps. When you are fully engulfed in the water you are now fully relaxed and ready to start addressing your issues and questions. When you are ready to come out of it, simply ascend the steps.