Suggestions are statements of the desired behavioral change that is used during a self hypnosis session. They can be categorized as positive or negative and general or specific.

Positive suggestions are phrased as if the desired behavior has already occurred. Examples are “I have a high level of confidence,” or “I am successful in anything I do,” or “I enjoy eating healthy food.” Negative suggestions tell you not to do something like “I will not eat junk food today,” or “I do not need to check the locks on doors and windows more than once.”

However, using negative suggestions is discouraged because the subconscious mind, which is your focus during self hypnosis, does not hear the negative. Instead, it hears the negative suggestions as “I will eat junk food today” or “I do need to check the locks on doors and windows more than once.” Which defeats the purpose altogether.

Suggestions can also be general or specific. “I feel good about my life” and “I am using my God-given talents well” are general suggestions. Specific suggestions, such as “I feel proud that I lost 20 pounds” or “I am using my God-given talent to write clearly” are often more effective when used during hypnosis.

Suggestions can be delivered to the subconscious mind in three main ways: direct suggestions, indirect suggestions, and imagination suggestions. All three may be used at the same time during your hypnosis session.

Direct suggestions explicitly state the desired change. For example, “I enjoy exercising for at least one hour, five times a week” says exactly what you want. Indirect suggestions, however, focus on the desired effect rather than the desired behavior like “My heart and lungs are becoming stronger and stronger everyday.” This implies that you are regularly exercising to have achieved this desired effect.

Imagination suggestions, or visualizations, can be the most powerful of the three methods since it utilizes all five senses as well as thoughts and feelings. To use visualization, you should think about your goal then imagine yourself in the situation where you have achieved that goal. For example, if you desire to get a promotion, imagine yourself already receiving the good news from your boss. Imagine that your co-workers are throwing a party in your honor. Picture what the party would look like.

Hear the sounds you would expect to hear at the party. Feel the things you would touch – the linen-covered buffet table laden with food, the hands of your friends and co-workers as they congratulate you on your promotion, perhaps a gift you might receive. Smell the food and taste the beverage that is being served as if you were there right now! Imagine how you would act in that situation. Then combine all these elements of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch to form your new visualization. Imagination suggestions become more powerful especially when you intensify the senses, thoughts, and feelings.