What is hypnosis?
Contrary to what we might think, hypnosis is not what we may have seen in our favorite movies. You do not need a stuffy psychiatrist in an English looking sport-coat swinging a golden pocket watch back and forth in front of your face. Nor does it require a fast talking evangelist style person on a stage to put you into some kind of catatonic trance and then snap his fingers and make you quack like a duck. Those things are great for movies but in reality, thankfully, it's a little more subtle and simple.
Hypnosis is simply the use of common relaxation techniques to enter a very deeply relaxed state. That's it. There's really nothing magical or complex about it. Also, while practicing and studying the arts and techniques of hypnosis can certainly help you to achieve this relaxed state faster and more effectively, you do not need a degree or certification to be able to do it. If I had a nickel for every program out there offering certificates for hypnotherapy, needless to say, I've got a lot of nickels! We'll get to some techniques you can use to practice this yourself in a moment.
Why use hypnosis for building confidence?
As I mentioned before, during hypnosis, you enter a deeply relaxed state. In this state, you are able to access your unconscious or subconscious mind much more effectively. Because of this, certain repetitive suggestions can strongly affect the deep parts of your mind where you core feelings and thoughts stay. Once you are able to access your subconscious mind, often you can purge many of the stale negative thoughts that are stagnating there and replace them with positive and more helpful ideas or thoughts by using hypnotic suggestions. Several programs out there have been using these techniques quite effectively to help people achieve many forms of personal growth.
This works for building confidence the same way it may work for improving your positive outlook, combating depression, fighting stress, overcoming addiction, self-esteem issues or anything else that is significantly influenced by our subconscious thoughts. Using this technique can also help you eliminate self-doubt and destructive negative inner dialogue and thus improve your self-confidence indirectly. Achieving a more positive idea of self can improve many different aspects of your life and for some people it will prove to be almost vital for any kind of success and happiness.
What not to do …
You may not realize this but you likely perform negative self-hypnosis on yourself on a regular basis. Most of us do. We have bad habits such as pessimism (often sold as realism), sarcasm, cynicism and simply fearing and dwelling on the worst case scenarios in our lives.
We develop these habits into deeply rooted patterns and conduct very responsive internal dialogs of negativity. These minority but frequent negative suggestions begin to filter down into our subconscious mind and get comfortable there. It just feels safer to expect the worst. This is a self-defense mechanism attempting to protect us from disappointment. Ignorantly, our mind feels that if it expects failure, it will not be hurt if that failure becomes reality. In truth, your mind will seek that safety and begin to manifest failure in your life. Your mind begins to associate that feeling of safety with failure. It prefers it to the pressure and stress of facing scary situations.
Like anything important, our minds need proper management. Another example of common self-hypnosis that we do frequently is daydreaming. When we daydream our negative habits and dialogs are allowed to sink deeper into our core mentality. Additionally we often daydream specifically about negative outcomes that we fear. When we do this, we are actively planting the seeds of failure. We are getting our brains more familiar and then more comfortable with failure than success. If there were any singularly great reason to eliminate negative thought habits, this would be it. Stopping this alone can work wonders for your self-confidence and for your life in general.
So, knowing how easily we slip into the practice of self-hypnosis to program is bad stuff into our minds, it should be obvious at this point that the first step should be to recognize the potential that this has when we apply it with purpose, to program positive thought instead.
If you are thinking that this all sounds a bit hokey, do not worry. Skepticism is natural and sometimes it is good to think critically and screen information as we receive it. Just do not let that skepticism rule your life. Do not let it prevent you from learning more, practicing it and seeing for yourself what works and what does not.
So how do I do it?
Let's look at some techniques and methods of self-hypnosis.
This is one that seems to work well for me. First, find a quiet comfortable place. You want to be alone and remove any distractions. It is also helpful if possible to do this when you do not have any pressing imminent engagements or tasks waiting for your attention. If you feel rushed, it will be exponentially more difficult.
Now settle in and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths and exhale them slowly. Get into a steady rhythm of deep breaths and focus your mind on nothing but your breathing. Once you get into a comfortable rhythm, imagine that you are inhaling the positive energy and positive thoughts that you need and exhaling the negative ones. Visualize it. Try to keep this rhythm going for about 5 minutes. Your body and mind should begin to relax substantially.
Visualize your goals.
Once you notice that you have entered a much more relaxed state, begin to imagine your goals. Imagine what it will be like when you are actively and successfully achieving these goals. Again, visualize it. Put yourself into this vision completely and notice everything about it. Use all of your senses to explore this imaginary situation. How does it feel? How does it look? Where are you? What objects are there? How does the room smell? What taste is in your mouth? What sounds are around you? Etc.
Now imagine that you have already achieved that goal in the same way, once again using all of your senses to fully immerse yourself in the moment. Remember to continue your deep slow breathing through this entire process. See what it feels like to have accomplished your greatest goals. What does it allow you to do? How do you feel about yourself? How has it changed you? How do people react and respond to you now that you have proven your success?
When you feel that you have explored this fully enough, have filled yourself with positive thought and have entered a deeply relaxed state, you are ready to come back. Begin to count your breaths from one to ten. With each count, you become more awake and aware of what is around you. When you get to ten, open your eyes. You are finished.
You should feel more refreshed, relaxed and positive now. Unfortunately, these effects will not last forever. There is more work to be done. You have to undo years of negative seed planting. The good news is that you now have a massive new tool to plow up that old soil, fertilize it and plant a new crop. You can use this on a smaller scale to conquer your fears of specific tasks as well. This allows you to use this technique for building confidence. For instance, if you need to give a speech or presentation, you would visualize yourself completing it successfully while you are in your relaxed state. Combine this technique with your goal setting processes in order to expand your comfort zones and build your confidence in steps. You can also use positive affirmations during this relaxed state in order to apply it further and more specifically for building confidence.
Get into a routine and do this as often as possible. It will then begin to get easier. As it becomes a regular part of your life, you will find that it will begin to have much more permanent effects.
Another Hypnosis Technique
This technique is also common. It is similar to the previous method but slightly different and a little briefer. For this procedure, you will again find a sufficient place with no distractions but this time you want to have some kind of relaxing sound to focus on. The sounds of ocean waves, a ticking clock, wind or rain are some examples that work well. This time, focus on one goal alone. It can be big or small. Recite this goal aloud and memorize the way it sounds. Now focus on a single object in the room. Some say to use something above eye level but I've found that it also works with other objects so that part is up to you. As you focus on your object, begin taking the slow deep breaths just like in the previous method. Feel your mind and body begin relax. Then close your eyes and slowly shift your focus to the relaxing sound.
Continue this breathing and focus on the sound until you are able to enter the relaxed state. Once there, imagine a beautiful staircase. The staircase symbolizes your journey. At the top of this staircase is your one goal (the oasis of your achievement). There is nothing else here. There's just you, your staircase and your goal at the top that awaits your imminent arrival. Now imagine that you begin to climb. Visualize it. You take one step at a time and with each step, you leave more of your worries, doubts, fears and inhibitions behind. As you shed this unwanted weight, you become lighter and each step becomes easier. Continue until you reach the final step. Here you will pause and you will repeat your goal to yourself several times as you stand on the brink of your accomplishment. Now imagine taking that last step and standing atop the stairs amidst your glory. Slowly open your eyes. The session is complete.
Over time, with enough practice, your mind begins to believe in the ease with which you are making your way steadily towards your accomplishments in life. Doubts begin to slip away and your positive mind begin to work for you rather than against.
Here is another one.
Like both methods above, find a sufficient place with no disturbances and ensuring that you are free of any pressing worry. Sit comfortably and this time you will breathe naturally. Close your eyes. You will focus on the relaxation of each muscle group beginning with your feet and working your way up all the way to your face. As you do this, allow you're self to get into a relaxed but natural breathing rhythm. Do this until you feel yourself become relaxed.
Now begin to imagine all of the things in your life that you are proud of and happy about. Consider any positive achievement that you can think of.
Imagine creating a huge picture of all of these successful accomplishments; a mural of sorts. This picture is vibrant and alive with sounds, voices, smells and tastes. You will now imagine and visualize your self jumping into this picture. In here, you are powerful, confident and unstoppable. This is the world of you at your best. You step into it boldly and as you enter the image, anchor your arrival with a powerful action or word of your choice. Make it stronger or otherwise profound and say it to yourself in your mind. For example, you can use a statement such as “I am here!” Egypt “I have arrived!” or you can simply snap your fingers, press your forefinger to your thumb or drive your fist into your palm. Do this to announce your arrival into your world of success. Let it be known that you are here and this place is yours. As you arrive, open your eyes. You are there and there is here. Not to sound like Dr. Suess but you are done. The idea is that this place and the real world are actually the same place and you can get there through this mental image using your anchor action.
Practice this until those anchor words or actions become strongly associated with confidently stepping into that image among your greatest accomplishments and owning it. The anchor action will signal that you are entering this place in your mind and you mind will begin to remember it.
With enough practice, you will be able to take yourself there and trigger this mental image by using your anchor action alone. Occasionally you will be able to call up this powerful confidence feeling on command and use it to help build your confidence any time you need it.
These are just a few of the more common techniques for self-hypnosis. They can be used to help you in numerous positive ways including building confidence. Try them and practice them and you will find results. I hope you found this information useful. Feel free to check out my other articles about building confidence or explore other methods. There is a lot of great information available to help you along the way including some very effective courses and programs for a more structured approach …