In self hypnosis, you bring yourself into an altered state of conscious using relaxation and suggestions such as “I am going to deeper with every breath.” Once this altered state is achieved, you are in direct communication with your subconscious mind, and through visualization, affirmations, and post-hypnotic suggestions, you can change your behaviors and attitudes. All of these techniques are related in some way to imagination.

Imagination links the conscious and subconscious minds. Your imagination is based on beliefs and feelings stored in the subconscious. In a normal state of consciousness, imagination does not have as much power because the conscious mind constantly judges what is being imagined. During hypnosis, the conscious mind is bypassed so that its valuations hold less importance. For this reason imagination has greater influence on the mind during self hypnosis.

The use of imagination in hypnosis is key to a successful outlet. The better you are at imagining what you want to become, the more likely you are to achieve it. Visualizations are commonly used to allow your mind to fully experience what it would be like to achieve your goals. Your mind can not tell the difference between imagination and reality! The feelings and beliefs developed in the visualization become part of your mind's database, especially when reinforced by repetition.

Visualization is most effective when it vividly engages all the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. For example, suppose your intention is to stop smoking. It is often helpful to write out the visualization for future reference. Think of a time and place where you often smoke, then visualize your self at that time and place but doing something pleasurable other than smoking. What do you see around you? Do you hear people talking or birds singing? Touch the items around you – what do they feel like? What do you smell? Is there a taste?

Add as much detail as your imagination can produce. What are you thinking and feeling in this situation? Focus on positive statements for the greatest effectiveness. Remember that your mind will consider this just as real as the breakfast you had this morning!

Once you develop your visualization and begin to use it during hypnosis, you can still modify it. You may think of more sensory details to add, or more thoughts and feelings. Keep the basic structure, but make changes as needed to increase the power of the visualization.

Imagination is a skill that is untapped in many of us. Wake up your imagination, and use it with self hypnosis to change your life!