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The Beauty in Ordinary Things - And How That Relates to Hypnosis

One of my favourite films is called American Beuaty. It won a bunch of awards, though gets a few dissenting critics deeming it pretentious. I can understand why, but love the film nonetheless. My favourite character is Ricky Fitts.

 

He records things on his camcorder that he finds interesting and beautiful, yet others may find the same things ordinary, even mundane – this is depicted wonderfully as Ricky watches a plastic bag blowing around in the wind against a wall and he thinks it is lovely to watch. That's him and his girlfriend watching the clip of the plastic bag in the picture here.

 

It is this idea of finding beauty personally that I want to start with in this hypnosis blog entry today and then relate such ordinary psychological processes to how we define what hypnosis is. Let me explain…
 

Last night I was sat in bed with my kindle in my lap, reading a sic-fi novel. It was pretty early by most people’s standards as I had just put my 2 year old son to bed.Katie was getting our baby daughter to bed. As I sat there, I could hear him humming, gently singing in his high pitched voice, and offering up some of the loveliest random, seemingly tuneless “la-la-la’s” that I have ever heard. I put my kindle on my lap, turned the light off, leant back against my propped up pillow and just listened as he sang and drifted off to his own little dream world.
 

To me it was majestic and utterly heart warming. I have been to listen to the dawn chorus of the birds in the New Forest here in Dorset in the early hours of the day. I have had the pleasure of listening to my good friend playing lead cello for the London Symphony Orchestra. I have delighted in live recordings of Iggy Pop singing ‘Search and Destroy’ – all of which I thought were wonderful and among my favourite things to listen to, but all paled in comparison to how much I adored listening to my son singing himself to sleep last night.
 

Likewise, my baby daughter recently fell asleep in my arms this week and as her breathing changed as she fell deeper to sleep, her little snores got louder and sometimes even had a squeak to them! She would then pause in her breathing and sigh as she exhaled and carried on with her dinky snores. I have slept in a room with some snoring noises of mammoth proportions before – on floors with drunken University friends, in bedrooms with family members and on trains with total strangers – and none have been anything other than grating and distracting. Yet my daughter gently snoring in my arms is a delight.
At the beginning of January, I wrote this on my Hypnotherapy School Facebook page:
 

Ran my first Sunday long run of 2014 this morning as part of my Spring marathon training… Up and out the door at 6am… Car windows iced over, the stars were clear in the sky and my first few miles spent being mindful and warming up, enjoying running… Onto the dark sea front with a hint of a red glow in the backdrop, I listened to the waves crashing in on the sea front and pushed my pace some, engaging in some self-hypnosis for altering my perceived level of effort… I spent the final 3 miles of today’s 14 listening to drum and bass music, totally dissociated… Got home in time to clean up and cook my wife breakfast… As with hypnosis, the ordinary psychological processes can seem (and truly are) really magical at times… 2014 is off to a magnificent start.”
 

I do not always delight in these things when I am up at dawn and out running, and I know for a fact that the vast majority of runners don’t necessarily enjoy the seemingly mundane aspects of their runs when they are running 5-6 times a week.
 

Why am I indulging myself on my hypnosis blog in this way today then, and what is this connection with hypnosis? Well, it is not at all as tenuous as you might think. You see, I find these afore-mentioned things to be beautiful. Others may not. I do.
 

I find them magnificent because of my own personal attitude towards them. I have a particular mindset that flavours my responses and relationship with these occurrences. These things are all very ordinary, yet they yield truly magical outcomes and experiences to me.
 

I’ll connect this to hypnosis and self-hypnosis:
 

Hypnotism was discovered by James Braid in 1841, and entailed a more common sense psychological explanation of the apparent effects of Mesmerism (a historical precursor of hypnotism).


Braid defined hypnotism as “focused attention upon an expectant dominant idea or image” (Braid, cited in Robertson, 2008). Later, Hippolyte Bernheim, a very important figure in the history of hypnotism, said that there was no such thing as “hypnosis” other than heightened suggestibility, and named his approach “suggestive therapeutics” (Bernheim, 1887).
 

Hypnotism is essentially the art and science of suggestion, and not that of inducing “trances” or altered states of consciousness.
 

A 1941 paper written by the personality theorist, Robert White, entitled “A preface to the theory of hypnotism” is considered by many to be the beginning of the non-state, cognitive-behavioural approach to hypnosis. Research cited by White in this seminal article suggests that responses to hypnosis are primarily a result of the conscious attitudes and voluntary efforts of the individual. As a result, he redefined hypnosis as follows:
 

Hypnotic behaviour is meaningful, goal-directed striving, its most general goal being to behave like a hypnotised person as this is continuously defined by the operator and understood by the client” (White, 1941).
 

White took the perspective that “hypnosis” is actually a verb rather than a noun. That is, it is a skill that the individual does and it is not a passive state that seems to automatically ‘happen’ in a mechanical fashion in response to something a hypnotist does. White supported the notion (though it was not the first time this notion was supported) that all hypnosis is, to some extent, self-hypnosis. Or a process of hypnotising oneself.
 

Nonstate theorists apply healthy scepticism when explaining hypnosis, they look at it in rational terms and with Braid’s original approach of Scottish common sense.
 

In contrast to the popular “trance-state” way of explaining hypnosis, based on extensive scientific research, we explain hypnosis in terms of a hypnotic “mind set” comprising of ordinary processes, such as our beliefs, our imagination, our expectations, our attitude toward hypnosis, our level of motivation, the depth of our engagement with the role of being hypnotised and some other factors too.

The term “hypnosis” then, simply refers to a set of attitudes and behaviours that facilitate hypnotic responses, and not an “altered state of consciousness” or “hypnotic trance” of some kind (Barber, Spanos and Chaves, 1974).
 

To add some meat to the bones of this, you can go and grab a copy of my book The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence-Based Way To Hypnotise Yourself – because there is a great deal more to this discussion and explanation than I can offer up in a simplistic blog post.
 

To experience hypnosis (or self-hypnosis), you simply need to engage in a hypnotic mindset. A ‘hypnotic mindset’ simply means that you will be motivated to hypnotise yourself, you will be confident in your ability to respond, optimistic about the hypnosis process, and that you will expect to automatically experience the responses being suggested or imagined. If you adopt this mindset, you will derive more benefit from hypnosis and become more responsive to hypnosis.
 

This hypnotic mindset may seem sobering and a far cry from the magical way hypnosis is often presented. Some people do not like having the magic whipped away from them. However, one important consequence of this is that the role of the hypnotic subject, and the role of the self-hypnotist has now been demystified and made more easily learnable. In order for you to be a successful hypnotic subject or self-hypnotist, you learn further evidence-based hypnotic skills and apply therapeutic, beneficial protocols and adopt this hypnotic mindset throughout.
 

Today I conclude, that hypnotism is basically about inducing a set of attitudes or mind-set. The self-hypnotist or hypnotic subject learns to adopt a favourable attitude, to “get into the right mind-set”, prior to engaging in hypnosis.
 

You can see then that my own set of attitudes, expectancies and mind-set effects my responses to things (like my son singing himself to sleep, my daughter snoring, the way I perceive the environment of my long runs during marathon training) which are fairly ordinary in the perspective of others, yet becomes magical to me. The same as Ricky Fitts finding a plastic bag a beautiful thing to watch. Likewise, engaging in ordinary processes with a particular set of attitudes can create what we know as hypnosis which can be magical in many ways too.
 

I’ll be back soon.
 

References:
 

Barber, T., Spanos, N. and Chaves, J (1974) Hypnotism, Imagination and Human Potentialities.
New York: Pergamon.
 

Bernheim, H (1887) Suggestive Therapeutics. New York: Putnam’s Sons.
 

Robertson, D. (2008) The Discovery of Hypnosis: The Complete Writings of James Braid.
National Council For Hypnotherapy, UK.
 

White, Robert W. (1941). A preface to the theory of hypnotism. Journal of Abnormal & Social Psychology 36 (4): 477–505 (498)

Start 2014 With a Happy Hypnotic High!

Happy New Year!

It is 2014 and we are back in business here. Sort of. This hypnosis blog entry is not as in-depth as usual as I have had to write it during the holiday period. I am not formally back in the office until next Monday, but we have been doing admin and getting ourselves into some sort of shape ready to take on the New Year with much gusto.

This Christmas was a wonderful one for me, Katie and our two small children; they do not really fully know what Christmas is about other than lots of people keep turning up and they get lots of presents.

That said, because they were both given so many, they did not even get round to opening some of them until it had turned dark! Some of the presents are even still boxed and we'll get them out over the coming weeks - heck, it looks like we are in for a few rainy days in here in the UK.

This New Year's Eve, Katie and I had a party at home, just the four of us… with the kids having plenty of their favourite foods. We opened a bottle of bubbly and were in bed by 8.30pm. I could not have wished to spend it in any other way. I think next year will be different when they are older, but for now, we are enjoying them both being so young.

Here we are then, a new year is upon us.  My inbox is already full of emails, articles and features about goal-setting and resolutions; all the social media I follow is filled with much the same as you'd expect at this time of year.

I have decided that this January, we are going to focus elsewhere. You have enough access to resolution/goals stuff out there to last the entire year, you don't need more of it from me. Instead I am going to focus on something completely different, let me explain…

I have told stories about when I first learned self-hypnosis and used to stick on a pair of my Dad's old headphones, plug it into his music system and play the War of the Worlds LP while using self-hypnosis, focus and my imagination to create fantastical mindscapes and light shows for some escapism. I would finish these sessions feeling wonderfully refreshed and revitalised.

Interestingly, in my earlier, very different life, I experimented greatly with a wide variety of recreational drugs and alcohol. One of the many reasons I stopped taking those kind of substances was that the ensuing hangovers and bouts of depression made my life miserable. What's more, as I consumed more, the forced high created by the drugs decreased my ability to get high with the same amount of drugs thereafter (I kept needing to take greater amounts!) as well as inhibiting my ability to feel high and happy without drugs (as I said, it made me depressed on occasion and my ability to have fun plummeted).

Since then, over the years, there have been a number of things I have found to offer me 'natural highs' such as self-hypnosis, laughter, running, making love, teaching and even eating chocolate - so I managed to practice and practice to enable myself to feel high on life as possible - to be honest, none of these things offer the same kind of intensity as consuming ecstasy at a rave, or as hallucinogenic as smoking salvio divinorum in the wilderness or eating mushrooms picked from fields on the outskirts of a damp City in the English Winter. Yet I think many people would be amazed by what kind of natural high we can create with the right kind of instruction, subsequent practice and some open-minded willing.

The beauty being that there are no adverse effects to a natural high. Drugs damage the reward centre of the brain by forcing the brain to release dopamine. The brain knows how to balance a natural high so that it does not damage the brain or impair our ability to recreate those highs - quite the contrary.

Some people may think this an odd application of hypnosis or even to read such from a therapist and teacher such as myself - yet therapists spend a great deal of time attempting to alter moods of people who are depressed, anxious or sad. altering mood is partly what I shall be focusing on this month here on Adam Up. Though it will be altering mood for a natural high.

Animal studies conducted as far back as the 1950's  (Olds and Milner, 1950; Hughes & Kosterlitz, 1974) proved that the brain produces its own internal opiates. Ongoing research showed that there are two key drivers of human pleasure - dopamine and endorphin.

Science has shown us that there is a neurochemical analogue for each mind-altering substance, such as recreational drugs; some of which can contribute to loss (temporary or permanent) of sanity, diminished well-being and greatly lowered productivity. Given that the brain is a giant pharmaceutical factory that manufactures its own mind-altering chemicals, the aim of my articles this month on the hypnosis blog here is going to be to show you how to use self-hypnosis to derive natural pleasure. It is not without some short term 'pain' I suppose, because you require persistence and an open-mind whilst finding time to develop the skills.

As well as using processes that I shall be showcasing this month on this hypnosis blog, you can help yourself to do more things that will help you feel good and laugh more - watch comedies, read funny books, make others laugh with stories or anecdotes and surround yourself with  people who make you laugh and giggle. Do some physical activity such as running, cycling or swimming that is shown to release those feel good chemicals. Socialise, make love with your partner, get some fresh air...  These things will lift your spirits, heighten your pain tolerance, reduce anxiety and stress, and boost your energy levels - plus, it'll help you to be able to more readily access those feelings with the processes I'll be sharing here.

We'll begin in earnest next week here on my main hypnosis blog (other stuff happening on my other blogs) - I can't wait to share it all with you to make this January a spectacularly enjoyable one!

Using Self-Hypnosis To Relieve My Chesty Cough

During this past 1-2 weeks I considered putting up a sign on our front door that says the words “unclean” as was customary in the days of leprosy.  Both my children have had chest infections and croup. We have been to Poole and Bournemouth hospitals, had ambulances at our home, used nebulisers, inhalers, steroids, humidifiers and the house has resonated not-so-sweetly to the sound of hacking coughs, crying and sleep-deprivation.

 

It is the season for it apparently. Oh, the joys of parenthood! I struggle to see my two favourite, precious little darlings covered in snot with bright red cheeks and sour expressions on their faces.


It did not just stop there though, they both kindly shared their bugs with me and the antibiotics, lemsips and so on just were not cutting it. I thumbed through the books, I explored the research and not many people have thought about conducting research about the application of hypnosis in dealing with moderate chesty coughs in grown-up whinge-bags, or man-flu.

 

I revisited some of my previous stuff I have recorded and written about in the past (you can follow the links to these things too). I used self-hypnosis for relieving a sore throat, used the chicken soup styled self-hypnosis session, the placebo hypnotic tablet, and the breathing airways self-hypnosis method and I used relaxation skills to soothe my anxiety about it all (which I am sure was aggravating matters) – but I needed something for my chesty cough. 



My existing knowledge and research led me to explore the research about using hypnosis for asthma and bronchial asthma in particular. It did tend to suggest that anxiety would aggravate the issue Karajgi et al., 1990; Hasler et al., 2005), so anyone dealing with similar issues can know that relaxation skills, and especially hypnotic relaxation are going to serve you well. Asthma bears some similarities to my experience because a shared characteristic is that there is wheezing and an increase in mucus production that sits on the chest.


The research showed that hypnosis helped when patients were trained to manage fear (Maher-Loughnan et al., 1962) but that was not wholly relevant to me. However, pulmonary functioning and other symptoms were also aided in some studies (Ben-Zvi et al., 1982; Ewer & Stewart, 1986) and so I wanted to look at methodologies used in studies. I felt like I really had struck gold when I read that Anbar (2004) actually showed a methodology within research for alleviating symptoms of a habitual cough with self-hypnosis, another study showed hypnosis helping to control coughs (Elkins & Carter, 1986) another study showed that hypnotic suggestions could influence respiration (Agosti & Camerota, 1965) so I explored further given these encouraging studies.


What my own investigation led me to use for myself, was a number of mental imagery techniques and cognitive strategies that I used within self-hypnosis sessions repeatedly prior to sleeping at night. It provided some very welcome relief and so I thought I’d share that methodology here with you today.


7 Steps To Relieve a Chesty Cough With Self-Hypnosis:


Make sure you are sat or lying down in a comfortable position. I recommend that if you are lying down, that you have a plump pillow propping you up slightly which will lend itself well to easing your cough during this session.


Before starting, have a good idea of the kind of ideal reaction you’d have to a miracle inhaler/drug. With that in mind, in a place where you’ll be undisturbed for this session, move on to the following steps.


Step One: Induce hypnosis. You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you establish the hypnotic mindset:

 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method.
 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.
 

The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method.
 

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.
 

The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.


Step Two: You are now going to use relaxation as a deepener of your ongoing hypnosis experience, which will also settle you and inherently lessen the sensation to cough. The aim is to also neutralise any concern, anxiety or worry about the chesty cough. We’ll relax in a very conducive and relevant way…


Start to engage in diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is the muscle that can be found between the chest and the abdomen; when you contract that muscle it causes your abdomen to expand and pushes air upward into the lungs.
 


Tune into the area of your abdomen and breathe from there. As you inhale through your nose, your abdomen should rise higher than your chest. Make it easier to do so by imagining that happening as you breathe. By breathing from the diaphragm, you pull air deep into the lungs. Then, exhale through the mouth and repeat.


Some breathing experts and tutors in this technique recommend exhaling for a count of 8 and inhaling for a count of 7. You can do that for a few breaths, but then simply breathe with comfort from the abdomen.


When you feel you have established a rhythm doing this, tell yourself that each breath takes you deeper into hypnosis and move on to step three.


Step Three: Now engage your imagination, make the following suggested imagery as vivid as possible.


In front of you imagine an inhaler, or a nebulizer (with a face mask sort of thingy) with a miracle medication that it is ready to dispense. Anticipate  pumping those special healthy fumes. Just see the details of it, get it right in your imagination and then press it, or turn it on and let the medication affect you accordingly.  


Vividly imagine breathing the medication into your lungs and chest area. Imagine the effects that you require; lessening of that tickly sensation, the chest area loosening, soothing the area and so on.


You might imagine the journey of the healthy vapour entering your lungs and spreading through your chest area. You might imagine it as a healthy colour that is healing or transforming the former colour of the area; importantly, do whatever is right for you to establish the beneficial effects of inhaling this medication.

 

Take some time, engage your imagination, let it all deepen your experience of hypnosis as you absorb yourself further, then when you have notable changes in sensations, move on to the next step.

 

Step Four: Imagine seeing yourself coping effectively with the cough, or even being free of it. This is going to start to convince you of the ongoing effects of the session.  


Perhaps you imagine seeing yourself sleeping soundly, free from the cough. Perhaps you imagine seeing yourself going about a daily activity free from the cough. Pick a situation from your life and imagine being there, coping well, or being free of the cough. See yourself being relaxed, at ease and free of unwanted symptoms. With this vividly in your mind, move on to the next step.


Step Five: Use a progressive cognition or affirmation and let it dominate your internal dialogue for a while. Some examples are as follows:  “my chest is easing” or “I feel soothed” or “I enjoy this relief” or “my chest feels good” and so on. Use whatever words you feel most comfortable with.


Repeat the words in an assured fashion, convincing yourself in a gentle way. Do not grasp at the outcome you want, just convince yourself of the outcome as you repeat these words.


Do this for a couple of minutes, let the repetition take you deeper into hypnosis (by focusing you further and relaxing you as you repeat the words) and then move on to the next step.

 

Step Six: Revisit the inhaler/nebuliser… Continue breathing from it and enjoy the soothing sensation for as long as you like.


Tell yourself that with each breath you go deeper into hypnosis, are more absorbed and focused on the process and are deriving more relief from it.


Whenever you have enjoyed this for a good period of time, tell yourself that the benefits and relief remains with you after this session has ended and move on to the final step.


Step Seven: Exit hypnosis. Count from one to five if you follow my self-hypnosis protocol from my books, or simply open your eyes (or drift off to sleep if doing this before bed) and reorient yourself accordingly.


There you have it. I think in combination with any medication or formal medical advice, it is nice to get your mind working with the body to help it along. If you use a range of (afore mentioned) interventions as well repeating this session, I think you’ll gain greatly as I have done.


I have an incredibly busy few days ahead now as I teach, lecture and organise school events, but will be back blogging and writing next week as we move towards the festive season in earnest.


References:


Agosti, E., & Camerota, G. (1965) Some effects of hypnotic suggestion on respiratory function. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 13: 149-156.


Anbar, R. D. & Hall, H. R. (2004) Childhood habit cough treated with self-hypnosis. Journal of Pediatrics, 144: 213-217.


Ben-Zvi, Z., Spohn, W. A., Young, S. H. and Kattan, M. (1982) Hypnosis for exercise-induced asthma. The American Review of Respiratory Disease, 125: 392-295.  


Elkins, G. R., & Carter, B. D. (1986) Hypnotherapy in the treatment of childhood psychogenic coughing: a case report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 29: 59-63.


Ewer, T. C. & Stewart, D. E. (1986) Improvement in bronchial hyper-responsiveness in patients with moderate asthma after treatment with a hypnotic technique: A randomized controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 293: 1129-1132.


Hasler, G., Gergen, P. J., Kleinbaum, D. G., Ajdacic, V., Gamma, A., Eich, D. et al (2005) Asthma and panic in young adults: a 20-year prospective community study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 171: 1224-1230.


Karajgi, B., Rifkin, A., & Doddi, S. (1990) The prevalence of anxiety disorders in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147: 200-201.  

 

Maher-Loughnan, G. P. Mason, A. A., MacDonald, N. & Fry, L. (1962) Controlled trial of hypnosis in the symptomatic treatment of asthma. British Medical Journal, 5301: 371-376.
 

Balancing Emotions Electrochemically With Self-Hypnosis

Further to the theme that I have explored and written about throughout the month of November in my  Adam Up ezine, I wanted to round that off with a technique which incorporates a number of different mental imagery techniques, self-suggestion and cognitive strategy.


It has a rather grand title this article, doesn’t it? It sounds a bit above it’s station perhaps, but let me explain.

 

The aim of this technique is to give you some control over your emotions and create balance. A central notion throughout this session is the idea of balancing the electrochemicals in the brain which in turn influence how we feel, respond and behave etc. There have been very few studies to support this use and application of hypnosis, but the work of Feinstein & Morgan (1986) and Frumkin, Ripley & Cox (1978) have given much hope that hypnosis can influence and affect electrochemical regulation.


It makes sense therefore, that in addition to aiming to balance electrochemically, this type of session also include elements of relaxation and suggestions for balance of emotions in general terms too, which have a bit more evidence supporting them as applications of hypnosis.  


If you have a good understanding of or training in self-hypnosis, then you can be flexible and tweak some of the facets to suit you and your personal circumstances. You can additionally include a variety of good, positive, balancing self-suggestions towards the end of the session too, as I suggested previously. However, the process is just fine as it is too.

 

Get yourself in a good, comfortable, attentive, seated posture. Ideally with the crown of head pointed toward the ceiling, your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your sides or on your lap not touching each other. Before starting, have a good think as to what you believe to be a colour that represents balance. That is, if you were emotionally balanced, what colour would you be – and is it different from a colour that is imbalanced, for example. Keep that in mind for use later in this session. 


Then follow these simple steps:


Step One: Induce hypnosis. You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you establish the hypnotic mindset:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method.

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.

The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method.

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.



Step Two: Imagine yourself in nature, where you can see two rapidly moving, roughly flowing streams of water. Notice the colours of the surroundings, the details, notice the sounds, those that are nearby and those that are far away, notice a feeling of being relaxed and at ease.

 

Allow yourself to relax in the peaceful pace in nature, create the surroundings based upon your imagination, places you have been, or seen and let yourself feel more relaxed and at peace here.


Tell yourself that the more relaxed you become, the deeper you go into hypnosis. Also tell yourself and know that with each aspect of the scene you create, you go deeper into hypnosis. Absorb yourself in the place, be focused in it and relax there as much as you can.

 

When you have immersed yourself in this scene to your satisfaction and you feel notably different as a result of being immersed in it, move on to the next step.

 

Step Three: As you watch the two channels of water, flowing in a rough, unpredictable fashion, notice that each of the streams has something floating and bouncing upon it’s surface. Using your imagination, notice if it is leaves that you see, or fallen twigs, or something else that is floating on the surface, travelling along each bubbling stream of water.


One thing you do notice is that each leaf/twig/other thing is a different colour. As each differently coloured item floats down each of these separate channels of water, tell yourself that you go deeper into hypnosis and that you relax more.


Then move on to the next step.

 

Step Four: Look along the length of these channels of water, notice the point whereby the streams of water, these two channels meet each other and connect.


Then watch the two differently coloured items floating on the surface now travel along and meet. Watch them begin to swirl alongside each other, notice them merging and as they do, they begin to blend in a naturally harmonious way. As they blend, swirl and combine, so they join together as one and begin to turn into that balanced colour you thought of at the start of this session.

 

The newly coloured, balanced item floats down through gently moving waters, coluring the water slightly and influencing it as it moves further and further, creating a sense of harmony in the water… Notice how the waters here are smooth, balanced and have a sense of comfort and peace about them.

 

As you notice that, so every detail, every change in sound, all serve to take you deeper into hypnosis. When you have done this, then move on to the next step.

 

Step Five: As the stream continues along in this balanced, soothing fashion… Notice your thoughts in response to the calming, balanced waters; be aware of yourself a bit more and move your focus towards yourself now. Be aware of your breathing, the rhythm of your being and tune into the area of your head and get a sense of the amazing organ that is your brain.

 

Imagine your brain and get a sense of it. Tune into it. Absorb yourself in the notion of all that your brain is doing in this moment. Perhaps imagine your brain in front of you, or imagine that you can see it where it is positioned in your head.


Notice one side of your brain is the colour of one of the leaves/twigs/items that was floating through the fast flowing waters, and the other side is the colour of the other item. As you watch, notice those colours begin to swirl gently together creating and resulting in the balanced, comfortable colour. Imagine it subtly and gently colouring the brain in a balanced way.

 

Now imagine that colour spreads through your entire body, giving you a sense of balance in both sides of your body. Notice the balance physically, how the rhythm of your body is serving you in a healthy fashion. Tune into your entire physical being and notice what it is that shows you and tells you that it is balanced as this flavor and colour moves deeply through it.  


When this colour and sense of balance is felt throughout your body, remind yourself that this takes you deeper into hypnosis and then move on to the next step.

 

Step Six: Having developed a sense of physical balance, now notice that balance at a deeper level…  Notice your thoughts being balanced, supportive, calm, stable and assured.



Repeat and affirm some positive, supporting, emotionally balanced thoughts to yourself. Feel in control of your thoughts and notice how these progressive thoughts influence your feelings further.


Tell yourself that you can access these thoughts and feelings anytime you like. You can relax, imagine the streams of water combining harmoniously and imagining the sides of your brain balancing and in turn effecting the entire body.

 

Imagine the balanced thoughts creating a sense of emotional balance in your body. Imagine that the electrochemicals being produced by the brain are now spreading healthily through the body, letting it feel wonderful. Remind yourself of how in control you are, remind yourself of times in the future when you can use this in real-life situations, then move on to the final step.

 

Step Seven: Bring this session to an end and exit hypnosis by counting to five, taking some deeper breaths, wiggling your fingers and toes, opening your eyes and reorienting yourself to your surroundings.

 

Bring all the benefits, balance and good feelings with you, and also a sense of control and feeling equipped to deal with any future episodes that may test your emotional responses. It does not have to be used as a coping tool, it can simply be used as an antidote to life’s stresses or issues that can meddle with our emotions, but the more you practice, the better the results will be.

 

Enjoy that.

 

References:


Feinstein, A. D., & Morgan, R. M. (1986). Hypnosis in regulating bipolar affective disorders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 29(1), 29-38.


Frumkin, L. R., Ripley, H. S., & Cox, G. B. (1978) Changes in cerebral hemispheric lateralization with hypnosis. Biological Psychiatry, 13, 741-750.

Self-Hypnosis With Emotional Issues – Using REI

For a couple of articles, I am going to be focusing on using self-hypnosis to help with emotional issues and achieving emotional balance.


In recent weeks, at a time when my own immediate family has been growing, I have also been confronted by a number of very sad deaths and am reminded of the fragility of life, a subsequent desire to enjoy every moment and to value the ability to be able to manage emotions with the use of cognitions to improve the quality of one’s ongoing experience of life.



Within the training courses I run, we often touch upon the field of REBT – Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. This field was pioneered by Albert Ellis PHd and can be read about within any of his brilliant books on the subject. One of the core techniques within REBT is the use of Rational Emotive Imagery (REI), which is the focus of today’s entry here. As tends to be the case with what I offer here, I shall be offering up some steps for using REI in combination with self-hypnosis.

 

The main purpose of REI is to aid us in identifying an appropriate and rational emotions that we experience in certain problematic situations or scenarios of our life. Additionally though, and similarly to a lot of the cognitive focused sessions I share here, REI also looks at the kind of coping statements that we use when in those same situations.

 

This is a process that you learn a great deal about yourself throughout. Also, it is grounded in realism and balance; that is, you are not attempting to feel wonderfully happy in every situation or circumstance in your life. Sometimes, it is absolutely appropriate to be upset in a particular situation or circumstance. However, there is a difference between being healthily upset and unhealthily upset. This process aims for us to be aware of and to be healthily upset.


The key is for you to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy negative feelings and to change the unhealthy ones into healthy.

 

Prior to starting, identify a situation whereby you have had an unhealthily upsetting emotional response to. That is, in the past you have had a problematic emotional response to.  You might like to think about a better or healthier emotion to experience in that situation already, but it is not essential at this stage, you can think it through within the session instead.

 

Get yourself into an attentive, seated posture where you’ll be undisturbed for the duration of this exercise. Then proceed with the following steps:

 

Step One: Hypnotise yourself. You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:

 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method. 
 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.
 

The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method.

 

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

 

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

 

The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.

 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
 

Step Two: Imagine being in the previously identified difficult situation.  The situation or scenario that caused unhealthy upset in the past. Really immerse yourself in that scene. See the sights, hear the sounds and allow the scenario to stimulate those feelings.

 

Imagine going deeper into hypnosis with every detail of being in this place. Engage your imagination and make this as vivid as possible whilst remaining as relaxed as possible.  

 

When you are imagining being in that situation to your satisfaction, it is as real as you can make it for now, move on to the next step.

 

Step Three: Now label the upsetting feelings you have in that scenario. What are the names of the emotions you feel when you (imagine being) are in that scenario? (for example; anxiety, anger, fear, worry, jealousy etc.)


Just identify the feeling or feelings and when you are sure you have identified them and have an awareness of them, move on to step four.


Step Four: Now focus on changing the upsetting emotional response to one that you consider to be healthier, more useful emotion, even if it remains a negative one.


You might firstly identify or think about what would be a more healthy upsetting emotion or feeling to have in this scenario and then do whatever you need to in order to feel that way instead.


Take all the time necessary to change the old, upsetting emotional response to a healthier one. Be thorough and diligent with this step, it is important, then move on to the next step.


Step Five: Come back to the here and now sat in the chair and start to reorient yourself with your real-life environment. Now you are going to spend some time reflecting upon what you did within the previous step. Start to reflect upon what you just did. Ask yourself:


"How did I end up feeling?"
"What did I do to change my feelings?"
"How can my thoughts help me to feel more healthy upset rather than unhealthy upset in the future?"



Answer each of those questions in turn and really get a good understanding of each before you move on.


Then think about a rational statement that you can say to yourself in real-life situations in the future, for example:
 

“Getting angry does not change her and simply serves me poorly.”
“Failing at something does not make me a complete failure.”


 

When you have put that together, and answered all the reflective questions, move on to the next step.



Step Six: Imagine yourself in the future, in a similar situation and notice yourself thinking and feeling healthily upset, as much as is appropriate. Notice how it makes you feel and how it changes your responses to how they were previously.

 

Whilst there, state your rational statement to yourself forcefully and with real meaning. Notice how it helps.

Reassure yourself of your ability to cope appropriately with future situations, then move on to the final step.

 

Step Seven: Exit hypnosis. Take a couple of energising breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and count from one to five (if you use my suggested process of self-hypnosis) then open your eyes and reorient yourself with your surroundings.

 

Practice this process a couple of times, then go and place yourself in those situations (if it is appropriate to do so) and be aware of dealing with your feelings differently.  You might like to have a go at role playing that scenario before you engage in the real-life scenario, stepping up your rehearsal of your rational response 9so to speak) which is one of the things I’d do in therapy sessions with my clients.

 

I hope you enjoy that. I’ll be back with more here soon. 

Some Reflections on Being a Dad

The main blog of mine at my main website has not had as much input as it usually enjoys and that is in part due to the fact that having become a Father again recently, my time and attention has been spent elsewhere. I decided to write this non-hypnosis-related blog entry because I sit at my desk in my office right now having had very little sleep for a few days, full of cold and flu, yet feeling absolutely magnificent. 

 

Magnificent because last night I rocked my baby daughter to sleep in my arms and sang to her while putting her in her cot. She smelled wonderful, her face was so cute and she snored a little bit, it was adorable. How could I not feel magnificent today after that? 

 

I sat looking at text books, staring at research papers, examining preparatory course notes and slides and found that it was simply not going to get me as driven as usual until I expressed my joy at being a Dad. Rather than propping a ladder up against the house and tying myself to the roof with a megaphone to let all my neighbours know about my internal state, I thought I'd get all self-indulgent here instead. My blog is where I get to do that, right? My work here is a great love of mine, always has been, but I have more love for my wife and children. Those who know my work and I, know that I promote the value of critical thinking, intelligent reasoning, evidence-based theory and so on, yet the experience of being a Dad is something I find to be deeply spiritual and offers me sustenance of a kind that nothing else can or has done beyond the love I have in my marriage and with my immediate family. 

 

It is incredible and yet I find it impossible to sum up or put into words with any real degree of accuracy. It seems to be the ordinary day-to-day actions that make the role of a Dad so extraordinary to me. I find myself considering if everyone else realises how utterly magical it is to do those littlest and simplest of things; push a child around in a shopping trolley, wipe a child's nose, feed a child, make them laugh, watch telly in the same room as them, ask them for a kiss as they say no and run off… It generates a warmth that I hope will stay with me and that I am recording in my mind to enjoy again and again while I lay awake at night wondering why I am not going straight to sleep while being so exhausted, because my mind is actually switched on and is listening out for the tiniest of shuffles or cries in the night as they sleep and dream. 

 

I get up early naturally each day anyway, but now I get up and I make up my daughter's bottle for her first feed, I brew fresh coffee and make breakfast for my amazing wife who will be looking after our two juvenile delinquents all day. I pop in from my garden office for a cuddle with whoever is around and apologise to my wife for the crying that ensues when I have to return to the office after a couple of minutes. When I come in and they are all out, my heart sinks and I wander around filling my glass with water or making a cup of tea in silence. 

 

The other evening, I was lying down on the floor with my daughter as she wriggled around and dribbled on the rug. My son saw me going gooey eyed at her and slid of the sofa with his bottle of milk in his mouth and walked backward onto me, lying down on top of me without taking his eyes off his favourite bedtime TV show and all three of us sat there. To this day, very little has topped that moment when Katie (my wife) looked at me with an emotional expression and we both were thinking "aawww." 

 

My two-year-old son and I have started going to toddler football classes at the weekend. I posted a photo of him kicking a ball on Facebook. My personal Facebook account status updates are just photos and details about what I am doing with my children. I never thought I would become one of those people, but I have… There are other things I think about, other things that I do, but nothing else seems worthy of reporting at this time in my life. I find that lovely. 

 

This is what being a Dad feels like to me. I want to write much more about every moment and everything I do each day with them, but it won't interest anyone other than Katie and I… It is indeed magnificent to experience. Mostly, it is magnificent… 

 

I say I feel magnificent, however, that changes and oscillates towards being anxious and worried too… Is my son developing fast enough, am I helping him learn enough, am I equipping him for life well enough, do I need to spend more time teaching him football skills, colours and new words, rather than rolling around on the floor making farting noises, roaring like dinosaurs and tickling him until he is red in the face? 

 

I worry if he is coping with having just a share of the attention and if he is going to have behavioural problems as a result of me finding his baby sister so adorable. I worry that if she does not sleep through the entire night that she'll wake up her brother and I worry that if I do not support my wife enough, she may become too tired, yet she continues to astound me with her patience and energy and I continue to be amazed about how lucky I am to be up to my elbows in kid's snot, brightly coloured plastic toys, tantrums, screaming and small utensils being bashed against other toys and pots to make the most amount of noise…. 

 

With all of this to experience, how can I possibly run my my business, my training school, my online business, how can I possibly train for my upcoming marathons, how can I possibly write my next book and get the next exciting project on the go, how can I possibly read research papers and oohhhh, everything else…. *Throws hands in air before grinning wryly and typing again* 

 

My work is not the only love of my life that has found itself slightly neglected by me. In my garden, the coloured windmills have had more attention than the lawn or windswept (following the storm) shrubs in recent weeks! Thus, the photo accompanying this blog entry. 

 

Please therefore excuse me awhile as I get myself into shape and organise myself accordingly, stepping back into the fold of my professional field. I'll need to stop catastrophising and worrying, yet permit myself some fallibility, and I'll continue to enjoy every single second of this period of time in my life when my children are so small and continue loving the laughter, the emotion and the absolute joy in some of the seemingly most challenging trials…. 

 

*Exhales deeply* 

 

… With that expressed, I shall turn my attention to this weekend's diploma course that I am running and finalise preparations for that and new articles and material will be written here soon too… but I think I'll just pop into the house first…. :-) 

 

Thanks for bearing with me… (n.b: my Hypnosis for Running blog has new stuff in it if you need something to tide you over). 

Managing The Runner’s Intensity Level

I wrote this over at my Hypnosis For Running blog. Although it is for running, it can be used by anyone for preparing for any event where they might find themselves effected by undue nervousness et al. Have a read:


Prior to running my first marathon, my first half-marathon was in Camberley in Surrey, back in 1999. I had trained well and was ready for it. I ran the first 3 miles 2 minutes per mile faster than my race plan was supposed to.
 

Just before mile 4, certain that my head was going to explode, I had to stop and walk.  I virtually crawled the rest of the race, came very low down the field, and was overtaken by lots of grey haired people and lots of fun runners in the final mile. It was a major learning curve for me.
 

Put simply, I went off far too fast. There were lessons to be learnt about pacing. There were also valuable lessons to be learnt about maintaining my own optimum state and level of intensity prior to races. It is learning to control intensity that I am writing about today. You see, I was far, far too pumped up at the start of the race, and my excitement made me keep on pushing hard and fast in those early miles. I had what is often referred to as ‘overintensity’.
 

When we look at a runner’s level of intensity, also often referred to as arousal, anxiety level or even nervousness (intensity is far more progressive) then when we get it right, it can help us feel confident, motivated, strong and sharp (Carver & Sheier, 1986). However, at the other end of the spectrum, overintensity can lead to a runner feeling fearful, filled with dread with muscular tension, poor breathing rate and even loss of coordination (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992).
 

Intensity can manifest itself physiologically, behaviourally and psychologically (Hanin, 2000; Jones, 1995; Kerr, 1997) and I was displaying overintensity physically, mentally and behaviourally – I was thinking fast and ignoring my race plan and prior training. I was running fast due to the overstimulation and I was overtaking runners in those early miles because I wanted to get ahead. These are typical symptoms but can also include muscle tension, breathing issues and perspiration to excess as well as fatigue, loss of coordination and tense body language. As well as unduly positive and unrealistic cognitions that I had, sometimes overintensity can lead to negative internal dialogue, doubt, stressful thoughts, irrational thinking and lack of belief, even leading to fear and other negative emotions (Elkow & Ostrow, 1991; Hamilton & Fremouw, 1985).
 

 

Even subtle signs such as butterflies in the stomach, being easily distracted, or having slight doubts could be signs of overintensity. On top of this, races and new training environments can cause issues with overintensity if the runner is unfamiliar with the surroundings, the situation, or if unexpected events occur, or if there is any kind of uncertainty stimulated by the environment.
 

One framework for identifying the causes of this overintensity are offered up by Landers and Boutcher (1986) and they state that there are five main areas to be appraised when looking at negative intensity reactions:
 

1. The demands of the situation (in my case, it was an important first ever half marathon race).
2. The individual’s resources for effectively managing those demands (I had not run a half-marathon before and was inexperienced and ill-prepared for dealing with it).

3. The consequences of the situation (for me, it was that if I ran well here, I’d feel capable of running a marathon in the future, and not doing well would result in me believing I was not capable of such).

4. The meaning placed on the consequences (I ran poorly, and thus this meant I doubted my ability to ever run a marathon or be able to run a good half-marathon in the future. Maybe ‘running was not for me’ was a sentiment that echoed in my head).

5. Recognition of bodily reactions (as mentioned previously, knowing the signs of overintensity on a physical, psychological and behavioural level).
 

Sometimes when an individual lacks confidence, the race environment or the tough training session can be perceived as a threat due to the lack in confidence which in turn can lead to anxiety and overintensity (Weinburg & Gould, 1999). There are other social causes of overintensity too; if you are raising money for charity, you have expectation placed upon you from various sources, as well as colleagues, family members, friends and so on; all of which can place pressure upon a runner if they feel they are not living up to socially derived expectations, again potentially threatening their confidence (Krohne, 1980; Passer, 1982; Smith, Smoll & Curtis, 1978).
 

Essentially if you cognitively appraise the running situation incorrectly, you may create the overintensity. It makes sense therefore to have some cognitive strategies for controlling and regulating overintensity if and when it occurs:
 

Developing confidence with correct appraisal:
By looking at and exploring rationally the five areas above in relation to a race or particular training session, we can have a balanced, correct perspective. The key is to evaluate the event in an objective fashion and to question any irrational thoughts you may have. Learning to seek out realistic perspective using socratic questioning is one way to do this.
 

Progressive Internal Dialogue:
If we are catastrophising about our running performance, for example “I am not going to finish” or “I am going to let everyone down” or “I am really scared” or “I know I will fail” and other self-talk statements of this kind, then we need to equip ourselves with skills to interrupt, dispute and let go of those thoughts, while replacing them with balanced, helpful and supportive internal dialogue.
 

Feeling Comfortable In Your Surroundings:
Golfers get to play and practice on a competition course before the tournament, racing drivers practice for a couple of days before qualifying on each track, and even Mo Farah ran half of London marathon in 2013 to familiarise himself with procedings and atmosphere prior to running the full London marathon in 2014.
 

Lacking knowledge of the environment and lacking certainty can create overintensity. Familiarising onself with the environment of race or run, or researching it and developing as much of a correct expectation as possible is going to help greatly here. Race preparation can never be too thorough.
 

In addition to understanding and knowing about the physical environment, it is also wise to set up contingency plans for potential ‘unexpected events’ so you feel as prepared as possible for eventualities before and during races. You might write down and examine things that could potentially go wrong in a race and work out how you plan to deal with it – then, if it occurs, it will lead to less anxiety and stress (and thus, less intensity) so that we can respond appropriately. Knowledge of problem solving therapy protocols can even be researched here.
 

Knowing What You Can Control:

Runners can sometimes worry about things, which may well never happen. Not only is this stressful, it is pointless. Becoming aware of what you can be n control of and knowing how to be in control of it is key. Then knowing what is out of your control and therefore not to let it be a problem is also key.
 

We can control our own behaviour, physical condition, motivation, thoughts, preparation and performance. We cannot control other people’s behaviour’s, attitudes or thoughts, we cannot control the performance of others or the weather, or the organization of the event, etc.
 

Physical Tools:
In addition to these cognitive strategies (and there are many more available in my book or here at this website) there are other basic tools for regulating intensity before and during a race or training run scenario.
 

Firstly, you can use your breathing. Prior to races, there are lots of runners that seem to have fast, erratic breathing patterns as they jump up and down at the start and flitter around in a distracted, nervy fashion. With overintensity, breathing can become shallow leaving the runner without enough oxygen to perform as they wish. Likewise, erratic breathing can contribute to butterflies in the tummy. Learning how to breathe in a slow, deliberate and deep manner becomes a skill that will serve you very well indeed. Additionally, the focus of mindful breathing can stop the thoughts resting upon negativity too.
 

Secondly, you can run through a very basic relaxation process. There are many to choose from whereby you relax your body in stages and in a deliberate fashion. However, here is a basic process to use while at the start of a race if you need to tone down your intensity:
 

Step One: Adopt a still and comfortable posture.
 

Step Two: Imagine you have plugs on the soles of your feet and that by opening them, you can start to drain out all the unnecessary tension that is not serving you well. Move your awareness through your entire body, starting at the top of your head and working your way downwards through your body. You need to spend time imagining each muscle group (i.e. neck, shoulders, chest, back, tummy, arms, upper legs, lower legs, feet) and work your way through it with your imagination.
 

You might imagine the tension as a specific colour and that the appropriately relaxed areas are left in a relaxed colour. You might imagine it has a sound that leaves the body, or any other process that aids you mobilising unwanted tension. I often imagine the tension is like sand pouring out through a timer, but you can choose any accompanying imagery that suits you and helps you be free to let go of unwanted tension.
 

Once you have worked your way through the entire body, move on to the next step.
 

Step Three: Scan through your body and check for any excess tension anywhere and move it downwards and out of the feet if any is found.
 

Step Four: Close the plugs on your feet making sure that none of it (the tension) can get back in. Use some encouraging and supportive cognitions “I am more relaxed” or “I feel prepared” or “I am at my most comfortable for racing” etc.
 

Additionally, you can learn self-hypnosis. I would say that, wouldn’t I? This blog has lots of ways to do that, as does my book and other audio programmes found at my main online hypnosis store. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that smiling helps to lessen tension and overintensity. Most people associate smiling with happiness and feeling good and so it becomes associated with such. Smiling also changes blood flow to the brain and helps induce a relaxing effect by inducing neurochemicals (Zajonc, 1985) and also, if the body is smiling, it finds it difficult to maintain an opposing emotion, such as tension.
 

There you go, you now need never suffer from overintensity as I did back in the 1990s! Next here at the hypnosis for running blog, I am going to talk about ‘underintensity’ and how to cope with that. Then we’ll examine how we go about identifying and achieving the right level of intensity for us to perform at our best.
 

References:
 

Carver, C. S., & Sheier, M. F. (1986) Functional and dysfunctional response to anxiety: The interaction between expectancies and self-focused attention. In R. Schwartz (Ed.), Self-related cognitions in anxiety and motivation (pp. 111-141). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
 

Elko, P. K., & Ostrow, A. C. (1991) Effects of a rational-emotive education program on heightened anxiety levels of female collegiate gymnasts. The Sport Psychologist, 5, 235-255.
 

Eysenck, M. W., & Calvo, M. S. (1992) Anxiety and Performance: The Processing Efficiency Theory. Cognition and Emotion, 6, 409-434.
 

Hamilton, S. A., & Fremouw, W. J. (1985) Cognitive behavioral training for college basketball free-throw performance. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 9, 479-483.
 

Hanin, Y. L. (2000) A study of anxiety in sports. In W. F. Straub (Ed.), Sport psychology: An analysis of athlete behavior (pp. 236-249). Ithaca, NY: Mouvement.
 

Jones, G. (1995) Competitive anxiety in sport. In J. H. Biddle (Ed.), European perspectives on exercise and sport psychology (pp. 128-153). Leeds, UK: Human Kinetics.
 

Kerr, J. H. (1997) Anxiety, arousal and sport performance: An application of reversal theory. In D. Hackfort & C. C. Spielberger (Eds.), Anxiety in sports: An international perspective (pp. 137-151). New York: Hemisphere.
 

Krohne, H. W. (1980) parental child-rearing behavior and the development of anxiety and coping strategies in children. In I. G. Sarason & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Stress and anxiety (Vol. 7, pp. 243-272). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
 

Landers, D. M., & Boutcher, S. H. (1986) Arousal-performance relationships. In J. M. Williams (Ed.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (pp. 163-184). Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield.
 

Passer, M. W. (1982) Psychological stress in youth sports. In R. A. Magill, M. J. Ash, & F. L. Smoll (Eds.), Children in sport (2nd ed., pp. 153-177). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
 

Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L., & Curtis, B. (1978) Coaching behaviors in Little League baseball. In F. L. Smoll & R. E. Smith (Eds.), Psychological perspectives in youth sports (pp. 173-201). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
 

Weinburg, R. S., & Gould, D. (1999) Foundations of sports and exercise psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
 

Zajonc, R. B. (1985) Emotion and facial efference: A theory reclaimed. Science, 228, 15-21.

Multi World Record Holder Ultra Runner Reviews ‘Hypnosis For Running’

The Hypnosis for Running blog entries here have been sparse over the Summer to say the least. Following injury, the demands of Fatherhood, a very busy work schedule and a whole host of other excuses that we all offer up from time to time, my training miles and hours had dipped and my focus has been elsewhere throughout the Summer months.
 

Following that though, I am back with a vengeance as of today. There’ll be two entries here today, with my race report for last weekend’s Bournemouth marathon being posted shortly. I now have my marathon training schedule tuned and I head into Winter with the Portsmouth Coastal marathon to compete in this December before attempting a PB at London marathon 2014. I’ll be charting my progress here along with a number of other articles, strategies and psychological techniques to employ for training and advancing performance.
 

Today though, I wanted to share with you a book review written by an extraordinary man. William Sichel is an Ultra Distance Runner and Multiple World Record Holder (at his ultra running blog you can read about his ongoing attempts to achieve 165 ultra running records by his 65th Birthday!).
 

Here is his review of my book:
 

Hypnosis for Running – Training Your Mind to Maximise Your Running Performance
 

I don’t think I have ever met another sportsman, from any sport, who didn’t think that mental strength, mental power and mental qualities played a key part in performance not only for themselves but for others in their sport too. Yet, if you asked me how many people I knew who had a planned mental training programme running in parallel with their physical training schedule, I would raise only a few of the fingers on one hand!
 

I wonder why this is? Possibly because 99% of the material available about ‘training’, in print and on the web, only covers physical training. So we are overwhelmed with all manner of advise and learned articles on all aspects of how to play better or run faster and longer but almost nothing on the all important mental aspects.
 

Now that has all changed with the publishing of the book Hypnosis for Running: Training your mind to maximise your running
performance by Adam Eason, hypnotherapist, author, experienced marathon runner and UKA Coach.

 

This is a significant work and will go some way to addressing the paucity of literature geared to enable runners to maximise their mental performance. Make no mistake these 367 pages are geared to runners wanting to take practical steps to develop a mental training programme covering all aspects of improving their physical performance through improved thought processes.
 

This is the kind of book you will always have on your bed-side table ready to dip into any of its 18 chapters. There are extensive chapters on setting goals, understanding of hypnosis, runner’s internal dialogue, relaxing, banishing excuses, getting in the zone, as well as suggestions for formulating a mental training programme to run a long side your physical training plans. In particular I thought the chapters on ’Belief of a Runner’ and ‘The Mindful Runner’ were the best material I have ever read on those subjects.
 

I mentioned that this was very much a practical book that runners will use on a daily and weekly basis – a constant source of ideas and reference. In these pages there are countless suggestions for self-hypnosis sessions to try and not only whilst sitting comfortably at home.
 

Adam, an accomplished marathon runner himself, is proud of the fact that this book is very much research-based and not just his own ideas, although he does provide those too. Practising self-hypnosis whilst actually running is also covered and this is an area I will use a great deal myself in my extreme ultra endurance runs. Adam’s practical approach to using self-hypnosis comes across in all aspects of this book and that is one of the reasons I feel that this is such a useful book for us runners to have access to.

=====

If you’d like to know more about William’s running, his events and his ongoing record toppling exploits, you can follow him at twitterlike him at Facebook and watch him at YouTube. I find him incredibly inspiring.
 

As for me, I’ll be back here again very soon as we get the motor re-firing in more than one way.

Using Self-Hypnosis To Control Nausea

This week has been an active week for me. I have been getting back into the driving seat of my business as the new academic year has begun in earnest. This Friday I have a rapid inductions seminar, the following week I run 9 consecutive days of my intensive hypnotherapy diploma and the following week my new monthly diploma begins and we have more students than ever choosing to study with the school here.


The end of the Summer holidays has also seen a spike in activity on our hypnosis hub, especially as plenty of the new students are joining it in preparation for their studies. He increased activity is also a result of some provocative and insightful discussions happening in the forum of the hub.
 

As well as discussing evidence based hypnosis and debating the efficacy of NLP, a question was recently raised about a couple of applications of hypnosis that I think people are less familiar with. One of which is using hypnosis to prevent, or to lower nausea. Following a query by Jill Alldridge (school course assistant and hypnotherapist) who has been researching this subject matter, it occurred to me that many people have to deal with nausea at various times in their lives.


Kroger (1977) states;


“Nausea and vomiting and even hyperemesis gravidarum are astonishingly susceptible to hypnosis.”


Though, as stated in the hub discussion, Kroger’s work was not tested against control groups, he himself carried out tests of his work with many individuals (over 100 he states) which formed the basis of his claims. There has been quality research conducted with this subject matter too, mainly among cancer patients suffering with nausea and vomiting, and though the results have not been entirely consistent, they are encouraging (Zeltzer et al., 1983, 1984, 1991; Syralja et al., 1992; Jacknow et al., 1994).


I thought it would make a good subject matter for a blog entry, though it is not a straight ‘run-through’ of a technique. It requires a variety of skills and as a result, I’ll send you off in different directions in order to fully formulate the overall process. You can lose a couple of the steps if they are not relevant to you, but for the most effectiveness, combine them all to be in control of nausea.


Eight Steps To Use Self-Hypnosis To Take Control of Nausea:


Prior to starting this technique, if you have a specific scenario, situation or circumstance that used to result in you becoming nauseous or wanting to vomit, then get an idea of that situation without really connecting with it too much. Be mindful of it without giving it too much thought – we do not want you to start feeling like being sick before we have started. Then begin.


Step One: Get yourself into a comfortable position and one whereby you are going to be undisturbed for the duration of this exercise. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your hands are not touching each other. Ideally, be in a good, receptive posture.


Then in that position, induce hypnosis. 

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method. 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.

The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method.

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction. 
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.


Step Two: Now engage in some progressive relaxation. Spread the relaxation through your entire body. While you are doing so, tell yourself that you are going deeper into hypnosis too. You can use any progressive relaxation method you know of, here are a couple of ways you might consider:


a) You can simply breathe and say the word ‘soften’ to yourself as you think of the muscles of your body. Work your way through your body, using your awareness, starting at one end of your body and moving all the way through to the other end. This is a process I learned from Richard Bandler, one of the co-creators of the field of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) when attending a seminar of his. 
 

b) You can imagine a relaxing colour, and then spread that colour through your body, one muscle at a time. Tell yourself that as the colour spread, it relaxes the muscles.
 

c) Imagine light and/or heat spreading through you, relaxing you deeply.
 

d) Imagine that you are a rag doll and that your muscles are loose, limp and dormant.
 

e) Imagine being close to a heat source that spreads throughout you.

f) Imagining tensing specific muscles as you inhale and then relaxing them as you exhale. Doing this systematically starting at one end of the body and finishing at the other end.

 

There are many, many other ways to use progressive relaxation. Just use whatever process you know of to deeply relax and allow your body to be more and more relaxed.

 

When you feel really relaxed, focus the relaxation on your stomach area. Get it so relaxed that it would be very hard, if not impossible to feel nausea. When you have your stomach relaxed deeply, move on to the next step, while maintaining that nausea.  


Step Three: Imagine that you are now in that typical situation, that place where you used to feel nauseous, that you were mindful of prior to starting this session.  


Notice all the conditions being present, yet you remain relaxed and at ease. Notice that you are in this situation, yet you keep comfortable and at ease.


Use your cognitions (tell yourself using internal dialogue) to believe in this, know it is going to happen, believe in it and tell yourself that this relaxed, comfortable response to this scenario is going to happen in the future. Convince yourself that it is going to be extremely difficult to vomit in this situation in the future… Even convince yourself that if you tried really hard to vomit, you’d really struggle to do so.


When you have really convinced yourself in a gentle assured manner, move on to the next step.


(n.b. If there is not such a typical target situation that triggers things for you, then you can skip this step, however I’d recommend that you perhaps use your imagination to mentally rehearse a time of some kid whereby you deal with it and are comfortable)

 

Step Four: If you really believe that you have to experience nausea, there is no need to resist it or get anxious trying to resist it; that could be counter-productive. Therefore, permit yourself 10 minutes a day (you choose the time of day that you’ll do this) when you are allowed to experience the nausea. Then over the space of the next week, reduce that by 2 minutes for a couple of days and then reduce it by one minute a day, so you experience the nausea for shorter periods of time.  Reduce the period of time gradually until it is non-existent in your day.

 

(Again, you may choose to skip this step if you would rather be free of it and are sure that you can take control of your nausea as a result of the other steps.)

 

Step Five: You may have worries or concerns about vomiting that actually contribute to the nausea. Therefore, now is the time to practice dealing with any worries about vomiting. You can simply apply socratic questions if and when you worry about vomiting; resulting in helping you to realise how misplaced any worries are.


Typically, these are questions along the lines of:


What evidence do I have for (and against) this worry?
Are the grounds for this worry 100% accurate and realistic?
Where is this worry getting me? What are the consequences of having this worry?
How is this worry affecting my desired outcome? 
Are things the way I am really portraying them to myself?
Would my loved ones agree with this worry?
Is this reality or just one possible perception of the situation?

 

There are many more, but I hope this gives you a flavor of looking for evidence, logic and reality by questioning any worry you may have about the nausea, worry that may have been contributing to it. It is common for worry to become a fear of being sick, which in reality, happens rarely for most of us; certainly not enough to have developed a fear of it.

(You may not have such worries, in which case you may also choose to skip this step)

 

Step Six: In a nutshell, you now do this: Create a numbness in your hand and then spread it to your stomach area to be free of the nausea. Firstly though, you’ll want to practice the anaesthesia and have it all set up to use accordingly.


Here are a couple of articles to help you with that:


a) Using Self-Hypnosis To Create Numbness & Anaesthesia
(with this article, I recommend using the option of turning the area into a ‘woodenlike’ sensation, which lends itself well when dealing with nausea)

b) Using Self-Hypnosis To Create Anaesthesia (this is a more simple glove anaesthesia write-up)
 

 

Once you have changed the sensation in your stomach and/or shown that you are in control of it, you can move on to the next step.

 

Step Seven: Take some time out to reflect upon what you have done, and then promote some of the key aspects of the session… Enjoy some more relaxation, enjoy the comfort you have, remind yourself of how things are going to be in the future, then move on to the final step.

 

Step Eight: Take a couple of deep, energising breaths, wiggle your finger and toes and open your eyes to exit.

 

Practice this process in hypnosis every day for a week to develop control and build efficacy with the skill. Then put yourself in those target situations and practice being in control and being free of nausea.


References:

Jacknow, D. S., Tschann, J. M., Link, M. P. & Boyce, W. T. (1994) Hypnosis in the prevention of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in children: a prospective study. Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, 15: 258-264.

Kroger, W. S. (1977) Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (2nd ed). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, PA.

Syralja, K. L., Cummings, C. & Donaldson, G. W. (1992) Hypnosis or cognitive behavioral training for the reduction of pain and nausea during cancer treatment: A controlled clinical trial. Pain, 48: 137-146.

Zeltzer, L., Kellerman, J., Ellenberg, L. & Dash, J. (1983) Hypnosis for reduction of vomiting associated with chemotherapy and disease in adolescents with cancer. Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 4: 77-84.

Zeltzer, L., LeBaron, S. & Zeltzer, P. M. (1984) The effectiveness of behavioral intervention for reduction of nausea and vomiting in children and adolescents receiving chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2: 683-690.

Zeltzer, L. K., Dolgin, M. J., LeBaron, S. & leBaron, C. (1991) A randomized, controlled study of behavioral intervention for chemotherapy distress in children with cancer. Pediatrics, 88: 34-42.
 

Using Self-Hypnosis To Block Pain Messages Being Received By The Brain

One of the chapters of my new self-hypnosis book (due for release at the end of Summer 2013) is showing people how to use self-hypnosis to alleviate pain. Todays blog entry shows one such technique to help do that, however, the technique can be used for a number of other types of applications, as you see fit or applicable yourself. There are a very wide number of ways to use self-hypnosis to overcome or alleviate pain, this is one basic process to add to a larger repertoire. You’ll notice I refer to another article of mine within this process which I tend to think can advance and enhance the effects of this process if you require it.
 

A point that I make to anyone and everyone regarding using self-hypnosis to alleviate pain, is that you must not attempt to alleviate the pain for any longer than a typical pain killing tablet would last for and you must consult with your doctor regarding pain – do not simply use self-hypnosis techniques to block out pain and ignore it. Pain is there for a reason and requires a medical professional to examine it before you do anything else.
 

Then, when you wish to use self-hypnosis to block pain for a limited period of time…. Simply follow these steps:
 

Make sure you are sat (if possible) with your arms and legs uncrossed in a place where you’ll be undisturbed for the duration of this technique.
 

Step One: Induce hypnosis.
 

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis

 The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction

Chiasson’s method for self-hypnosis 
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
 

Step Two: Tune into yourself. Be mindful. Spend a bit of time just observing your breathing rate, noticing the thoughts that are going through your mind and noticing your feelings. Become aware of the pain you are experiencing, while also becoming aware of the details of that pain. Just watch it, observe it without interfering with it for the time being.
 

Relax your body as much as you possibly can with your thoughts. Methodically relax your body with your intention and focus and tell yourself that being mindful and relaxing is taking you deeper into hypnosis.
 

Then move on to step three.
 

Step Three: Imagine you have two wires carrying all the information from your body to your brain. From the area where the pain was in your body, imagine two thick, coloured wires going from that area of your body to the brain.
 

The first one carries all the nerve messages regarding pain from the area to the brain. This cable is a particular colour.
 

The second wire is a different colour, and it carries all other impulses between that area and your brain. However, it cannot carry pain signals at all. It is incapable of carrying pain signals, they are all carried exclusively by the other wire.

 

Notice the details of the wire, notice if you can sense the messages moving within them and really tune in to them. Just know that the more you believe in these wires, the more effective this process is going to be for you. As you look at them, trust that you can use them to change the way you experience the old pain response.
 

Once you have convinced yourself of this, move on to the next step.
 

Step Four: Using your imagination, follow the first wire with your awareness all the way to where it plugs into your brain. Follow it and go to the end of the wire and pull out the wire that used to carry the pain messages. Unplug it. For a while, just pull it out, the same way you’d pull out a telephone cable.
 

As it does that, notice how the pain signals can no longer reach your brain and it is as if the pain has been switched off. Perhaps you notice the responses happening immediately, or it might take a small amount of time for the response to fully drain away and not be recognized by your brain.
 

Trust that over the course of the next 4 hours, it will gradually find it’s way back to the socket, but you remain pain-free while it is unplugged as none of the pain messages can reach your brain.
 

Step Five: With the wire unplugged focus exclusively on a completely different part of your body and spend some time relaxing your body once again. Really take your time doing this now. Engage in some progressive relaxation while you have the wire unplugged. You can do this in a number of ways…
 

1. You can imagine tensing and relaxing the muscles of your body one by one.
2. You can simply breathe and say the word ‘soften’ to yourself as you think of the muscles of your body.
3. You can spread a colour through your body, one muscle at a time.
4. Imagine light spreading through you, relaxing you deeply.
5. Imagine that you are a rag doll and that your muscles are loose, limp and dormant.
 

There are many, many other ways to use progressive relaxation. Just use whatever process you know of to deeply relax and allow your body to be more and more relaxed as you let the pain signals just dissipate.
 

Once you have done that for a good period of time, move on to the next step.
 

Step Six: If you wished to now, you can go and spend some time developing and building some numbness and anaesthesia in the area in addition. You can do so by following the steps in this article on numbness and anaesthesia here.
 

Step Seven: Once you have spent enough time developing and building the anaesthesia, now convince yourself that you have switched off the old pain messages, gently assure yourself and convince yourself using your imagination.
 

Use your cognitions and affirm it to yourself. Say it to yourself, let yourself gently believe in it.
 

Step Eight: Exit hypnosis. Take a couple of deep breaths, count yourself up and out of hypnosis, wiggle your fingers and toes. Bring the changes and the pain relief with you into your real-life.
 

As with so many self-hypnosis techniques, this one requires practice and repetition, I recommend practicing once a day at least, for 2 weeks to really get good at this process. When you practice it though, I think you’ll amaze yourself at how easy it is to do and how effective it can be when applied diligently.

Chiasson’s Induction Method Applied To Self-Hypnosis

This is another one of those hub blog entries that I write from time to time putting together a self-hypnosis induction methodology. I like having a number of different techniques because it adds some variety to my self-hypnosis sessions.

 

Many of the processes of course have shared underlying themes of attention fixation and ideo-motor responses, and so having developed hypnotic skills, techniques like this one should slot in nicely with your other methods.  I’d recommend that you start with more basic and fundamental processes before moving on to a process like this one for inducing self-hypnosis. I have been using this for a while with clients and within my own self-hypnosis practice and thought I’d share it here.

 

Whilst researching for the first part of my new self-hypnosis audio tuition programme, I was directed to a chapter in a book by Golden, Dowd and Friedberg (1987) which fell open on a page about hypnosis inductions. I fell in love with this technique for a number of reasons.

 

Firstly, it includes what Barber (1974) would refer to as ‘coupling’ as it uses natural responses to gravity, along with naturally occurring physical reflexes alongside imagination and self-suggestion to reinforce the response you are after. This will become more apparent when we get on to the technique itself – this technique utilizes the fact that your fingers tend to spread apart when they are being held together tightly, and that when you breathe, your arms move in line with it, which this technique uses for aiding arm levitation.

 

As always, you must be responsible for engaging your own imagination, and being assured of yourself throughout, expecting the outcome without putting too much effort into it – convince yourself of the process occurring without getting anxious about it.

Simply follow these steps:

 

Step One: In a place where you will not be disturbed for the duration of this session, be sat upright, with an attentive posture; crown of the head facing the ceiling, shoulders relaxed, feet flat on the floor and hands not touching each other resting on your lap.

 

We are now ready to begin, so proceed to step two.

 

Step Two: Hold up your dominant hand, bring it closer to your face (i.e. do not lean your head towards the hand) until it is a distance of approximately 12 inches/30 centimetres away from your face, and pick a point on the back of that hand to look at and fix your attention upon. Notice how your vision can alter when you focus it and also notice the tiniest of details of that spot your are focused upon.  

 

Squeeze the fingers of the hand tightly together (close them as tightly as you can) while you fix all your attention and focus upon the point on the back of the hand. Make sure there are not any spaces in between your fingers and they are being held tightly together (as much as is physically possible).


Once you are tightly holding all the fingers together with your gaze fixed upon that point, then move on to the next step.   

 

Step Three: As you keep your attention fixed upon that point, imagine that your fingers are spreading apart. Convince yourself of it happening; as you concentrate on the back of your hand, imagine the fingers are spreading apart.


Stop holding them tightly in together, let the movement start to happen naturally, watch the spaces between the fingers begin to widen and the fingers spread more and more, almost as if it is happening all by itself.


Tell yourself it is happening using your cognitions, believe in it happening, let it become your reality as you imagine it happening and watch it happening right before your very eyes.


When the fingers are moving, then move on to the next step.


Step Four: You now start to imagine that each breath you inhale, your hand moves closer to your face. Every breath that you inhale, notice your hand coming a little bit closer.  Getting closer, being pulled inwards with each breath that you breathe in. Again, you imagine it happening, you convince yourself it is happening, and  just let it happen naturally. It is almost as if a force of some kind is pulling your hand towards your face.


Let the movements happen as you imagine it occurring with each breath you breathe, then as it gets closer, move on to the next step.

 

Step Five: As your hand draws closer, imagine your eyes getting more and more tired. Imagine how lovely it is going to be to simply relax your eyelids and let them close instead of focusing on the point on the back of your hand. Imagine your eyelids getting heavier as your hand moves closer and you are trying to keep focused on the spot that is drawing closer to you. It becomes more and more difficult to keep focused on that spot on the back of your hand, tell yourself that your eyelids are feeling as if they are heavier.

 

Then whenever you are ready to do so, let your eyes close. Notice the wonderful sensation of relaxation in the eyelids, and the relief it brings. Imagine the relaxation in those eyelid muscles now spreads through all the muscles of your face and through the muscles of your body. Softening the muscles and relaxing your entire body.

 

Once your body starts to relax more with your eyes comfortably closed, move on to the next step.


Step Six: With your body relaxing so comfortably, start to imagine how good it is going to feel when you allow your arm to return to your lap and relax too. Imagine it is getting heavier as the rest of your body is relaxing deeper.

Now let your arm start to drift back down to your lap. Let it happen slowly and gently. Tell yourself that as it moves towards your lap, so you go deeper into hypnosis. Every breath that you exhale makes the arm heavier, you imagine it getting heavier and heavier and convince yourself that it feels as if it is getting heavier.

 

As it drifts and moves to your lap, so you go deeper and deeper into hypnosis.  Take all the time you need to complete your relaxation throughout the body, let the arm lower to your lap before you then move on to the final step.

 

Step Seven: If you follow my protocol for self-hypnosis, you now do the changework and then exit hypnosis. Otherwise, follow whatever system you prefer to use to conclude the session.

 

I hope you enjoyed that. If so, you may want to look out for the new self-hypnosis programme that I will be releasing for sale very soon. It is very different than anything we have offered before – it is a new model, a different system – it is very evidence based and I am so proud of it. Watch this space.

 

References:

 

Barber, T. X., Spanos, N. P., & Chaves, J. F. (1974) Hypnosis, imagination and human potentialities. Elsmford, NY: Pergamon Press.

Chiasson, S. W. (1973). A syllabus on hypnosis. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Education, and Research Foundation.

 

Golden, E., Dowd, T. & Friedberg, F. (1987) Hypnotherapy: A modern approach. Allyn & Bacon, MA.

 

Using Self-Hypnosis and Boredom To Get To Sleep

It has been a wonderful week. The sun has continued to shine while in the midst of this heat wave we are experiencing here in England, and on the south coast in particular it has been unbelievably hot and wonderful.
 

Additionally, here at the Adam Eason School of Therapeutic Hypnosis, it was the final module of this year’s monthly diploma last weekend. As well as presenting certificates at the end, we have our annual Summer Dinner Dance which was a real hoot. We danced and sang and had a lovely time.
 

Immediately prior to dinner, a small section of those present took part in our own version of the Harlem Shake. Which I posted earlier in the week here on the Hub. 
 

In the afternoon of the Saturday, prior to the evening event, I gave a lecture about using hypnotherapy to treat insomnia. The footage will be posted in our Platinum members area in the next couple of weeks. The irony of this lecture being that it was an incredibly hot day to be in a room with no air conditioning and many of those in the audience were struggling to keep their eyes open.
 

I blamed it on the heat and lack of breeze coming in through the open windows and not my own presenting style!
 

Even more ironic is that so many people complain of an inability to sleep when it is so much warmer in the evenings at home and I have had lots of message from people, and seen many people saying as much on Facebook.


Whilst discussing it with some attendees in the bar after the lecture, we recalled what it was like at University or at school when fighting fatigue or incredibly boring subject matter. I have also been researching and writing for many hours a day as I complete my latest book. Whilst reading a section of a 1970s book by Arnold Lazarus about mental imagery in preparation for this lecture a few weeks ago, Lazarus himself described using scenarios which were incredibly boring to help lull back to sleep and explained similar scenarios he used with his clients to teach them how to get to sleep too.
 


As I mentioned in class on Saturday afternoon, many people who experience insomnia often report substantial improvement when they use specific mental imagery processes. These are the kinds of processes that are often advanced and enhanced when combined with self-hypnosis.


The classic ‘safe place’ type of mental imagery has been shown to help people get to sleep. The individual engages the imagination and takes a journey to their safe place of their own design; a place where they are absolutely secure, comfortable and can enjoy sensations of safety due to being so secure in an environment that cannot be breached.


However, a place of complete and utter boredom provides us with a brilliant way of overcoming insomnia too. I am going to use a lecture scenario here today, but you can adapt it to be any environment where you are doing something you find to be totally boring, maybe even imagining doing something you dislike, or struggling with boredom at work, in a classroom, or any other circumstance – then apply similar steps to those I am presenting here today. Who’d have thought that being bored would ever come in so useful?


So if you are lying staring at the ceiling in a warm room over the next week, or if you ever struggle to get to sleep, follow these simple steps while lying in bed.
 

5 Steps To Use Boredom To Drift Off To Sleep:


Step One: Induce hypnosis.


You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method

 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis

 

The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Method video clip

 

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction

 

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis

 

 The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction

 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
 

Step Two: Imagine being sat in a reclining arm chair. Let it be made of your favourite material, upholstered in a way that you like, and although it is in an upright position, it is comfortable and relaxing to sit in.
 

The comfortable chair is in the centre of a lecture hall or lecture theatre of some kind.
 

Notice the sights around you; the colours, the shade of light, the people around you and the décor of this place. Notice the sounds; the sounds of people moving, breathing, sounds that are distant and those that are closer, most importantly notice the sound of the droning voice of the lecturer. Notice the feeling of boredom, how do you know you are bored? What are the signs? Really notice how you know you are so bored.
 

All the sights, all the sounds and all the feelings take you deeper into hypnosis, deeper into the boredom and you relax more and more physically. Once you have really got this boring scene in your mind, move on to the next step.  
 

Step Three: Try to focus on the lecturer and the lecture being given. As you listen to the lecture, the voice becomes a monotonous drone. It just goes on and on. It becomes harder and harder to make out the words, it just blends into a moving set of tones, a noise that makes you feel even more bored.


The sound seems to make you feel sleepier and sleepier. Convince yourself that you are there. Believe in the scene.


Notice how you fight and struggle to stay awake, maybe even attempt to shake off the weariness. The boredom grows and it starts to effect your physically.


Heavy feelings spread through you, weighing you down, you imagine your eyelids getting heavier and that heaviness seems to be in your limbs and your head and neck and your head droops from time to time and you struggle to lift it up.


All the time, the sights, sounds, feelings take you deeper and deeper in to hypnosis, making you more physically relaxed, and bored…


Move on to step four.
 

Step Four: As you gaze vacantly around the place, feeling restless, trying to fight the boredom and fatigue you feel, you notice the other attendees in the lecture have their eyes closed or their eyes are closing slowly. You notice that most have their chairs in the full recline position.
 

You recline your own chair, and hold your head so that you can vaguely make out the lecturer and you continue to struggle to listen to the droning as it starts to fade… The droning starts to fade…. It fades more and more into the background.


The sights in front of you are fading, they are getting darker and dimmer and you can see less and less detail…. You notice your eyes are closing gradually and surely. You fight it, you try to fight it and not give in.


The heaviness in your body is spreading and deepening. All the energy seems to be draining from you.
 

You continue to struggle, you struggle to keep focused, you notice the deeper feelings spreading through your body as your senses drift and drift… When ever you are ready, you surrender to it….
 

Step Five: Sleep.... zzzzzzzzzzz
 

I struggled to stay awake just writing that process. Practice it and use it in helping you get to sleep.I'll be back next week … In the meantime, have a great weekend and enjoy using self-hypnosis for getting off to sleep using boredom ...

Using Self-Hypnosis For That ‘Deep Heat’ Effect

In my work in this field, I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing some truly remarkable applications of hypnosis. On my self-hypnosis seminars, when people create self-induced anaesthesia, we often notice a difference in colouration in the localised area.  It happens as a bi-product of the other aims of the session, however such things can be done volitionally too.

One of the other ways of using the ability to control flow of blood is to be able to control, to some extent, body temperature. Which is an application I have used a great deal within my running training and recovery.

 

We have all experienced this kind of body temperature fluctuation effect before on an involuntary basis; perhaps you have blushed, or when you got sexually aroused, or as a response to something fearful (cold response).

This is an area that benefits from a good level of research, which has shown that anybody can gain a pretty impressive level of control over body temperature in a fairly brief time, and without much difficulty.
 

The trick here is to practice and condition the response before you start to use self-hypnosis to advance it and get it to become a cue-controlled skill to use whenever you choose. I’ll come on to that shortly.

 

Even though I stated that I use it for enhancing recovery and relieving pain in joints and muscles, I have also used it to warm my throat when I have had a cold or flu. This process can be used by anyone wanting to warm parts of the body that feel cold, for safely warming the entire body in cold scenarios, or for enhancing the healing of wounds and other injuries by increasing blood supply to the affected area. I have also seen this kind of application used in studies for shrinking warts and tumours by restricting blood supply to a specific area. It also has applications for enhancing sexual response or controlling a migraine headache. What’s more, and as crazy as it sounds, hypnotically suggested hyperthermia has even been used to control cancer metastases (August, 1975).

 

Preparation:

 

Before you start using hypnosis, a beautiful trick to develop your skill is to practice the response you wish to experience in real-life terms and allow your mind to record it and have the right details of it.

You might use the warm water in a bath, or washbasin. You might use a fireplace or heater of some kind. You might use the sunshine on a hot day.  You might use close proximity to an oven when cooking or baking.

 

Get safely seated or in close proximity to the heat source. Move your hand close to it as you start to notice the increase in temperature. Notice all the tiniest of details as your hand gets warmer due to it being so close to the heat source. Once you have done this a few times, remaining safe and careful, start to move your hand closer while you tell yourself using your internal dialogue, that your hand is getting warmer. In a relaxed, simple fashion, advise yourself that your hand gets warmer as it moves closer to the warm area. Repeat this several times (5-10 times) and each time you do it, commentate to yourself in your mind about as many of the sensations that you notice. All the tiniest of sensations, record them and be aware of them.

 

Get every detail of this scene vivid in your mind. Watch the hand going closer to the heat source, notice changes in colour and really be sure you notice as much as you possibly can.

 

Once this has been done, then proceed with the remainder of the self-hypnosis process.

 

6 Steps To Learn How To Warm Yourself Using Self-Hypnosis:

 

In a place where you’ll be undisturbed, be sat upright, in an attentive posture with your feet flat on the floor and your arms and legs uncrossed, follow these steps.

 

Step One: Induce hypnosis.
 

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method.
 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.
 

The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Method Video Clip.
 

 Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.
 

 The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.

 

Step Two: Now imagine being in the scene where the heat source was. Notice the colours, the sounds, and all the details of the place as vividly as possible.

 

Imagine moving your hand closer to the heat source (you can move it in actuality if you want to, but it is not essential) and then imagine the hand getting warmer and warmer. Notice and imagine all the sensations happening that you experienced earlier.

Use the same internal dialogue, tonality and repeat the same words to yourself that you used previously (when you told yourself that your hand was getting warmer in the real-life scenario you did prior to step one).

 

Imagine your hand getting warmer, imagine all the qualities of the hand changing to really be a warmer hand (colour, sensation, etc.) and start to notice it getting warmer. Tell yourself that it is feeling as if it is getting warmer – convince yourself, say it as if you truly believe it 100%, undeniably convince yourself by imagining it so realistically that it becomes your reality.

 

Once you have done that, once you have really generated warmth in that hand, move on to step three.

 

Step Three: Now move your warm hand toward your face and right up to your cheek.  Imagine that all the warmth is draining out of your hand and into the cheek.  As you exhale, imagine the heat growing and leaving the hand and moving into the cheek.

 

At this stage, whether you can actually feel the increased temperature is not the most important thing. Just imagine that you can. Pretend and convince yourself that your cheek is getting warmer. The more you practice this, the more you’ll notice it in real terms.

 

Now move your hand away from your face and start to imagine that the heat in your cheek is intensifying. Imagine it becoming warmer, stronger and more noticeable.

 

When you really notice it, move your hand back towards your face, touch your cheek again. This time as you inhale, imagine that you are drawing in all the warmth—real and imagined—back into your hand. Imagine that with every exchange (from hand-to-face or face-to-hand) you can feel the warmth increasing and intensifying.

 

Step Four: Repeat step 3 as many times as you like and really develop and build this skill.  Each time imagine the heat getting stronger and more intense. Convince yourself in a gentle, assured way. Do not grasp at the effect you want, just trust yourself and make your imagined responses as vivid as possible.

 

Once you have repeated this several times, once you have developed this skill, move on to the next step.

 

Step Five: Now move this hand that is experiencing the warmth hand to any other part of your body where you wish to increase temperature. Then repeat the process as you touch that area; as you exhale, let the warmth transfer from the hand and into the other part of the body.

 

You can be as precise as you like and really imagine the warmth going to that area. Take your time and let the warmth really spread into that part of the body. When you notice the warmth, move on to the final step.

 

Step Six: Finally, move your hand away from that area, breathe comfortably and deeply, and exit hypnosis.

Open your eyes as you count yourself up and out from 1 through to 5.

Now respond as if you can actually feel the warmth, and go about your day. Behave as if the area is warm, think as if the area is warmed.

 

Do note that at times, it might take a short while for the warmth to be really noticeable in the new areas you move it to. Trust yourself, trust that it will happen, be assured without pushing yourself or grasping at the response you want.

 

You will also benefit by using your internal dialogue to remind yourself of this ability and congratulate yourself, as well as affirming to yourself your ability to do this. Do tell yourself that each time you practice this, it works better and better and is more intense and effective. The more you help yourself to believe in your ability to do this, the better it becomes.

 

Once you have done this a few times, you’ll find that it happens quicker also. You may also develop the skills so well that you can start to do it out of hypnosis altogether. Many people get so good at it that they simply imagine the area warming, spread it to whatever body part you like and notice it working and developing.

 

The more you practice, the better it becomes.


Studies that support this ability using hypnosis:


I read lots of blogs and lots of articles where people claim that evidence supports what they are writing about, and I find it frustrating if they do not quote some of that evidence. So here is a list of some studies to get you started in case you wished to explore this topic in more depth. They are starting points, and there are plenty more studies too.


Barabsz, A. F. & McGeorge, C. M. (1978) Biofeedback, mediated biofeedback and hypnosis in peripheral vasodilation training. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 21: 28-37.  


Clarke, R. E. & Forgione, A. G. (1974) Gingival and digital vasomotor response to thermal imagery in hypnosis. Journal of Dental Research, 53: 792-796.

 

Dikel, W & Olness, K. (1980) Self-hypnosis, biofeedback, and voluntary peripheral temperature control in children. Pediatrics, 66: 335-340.


Wallace, B. & Kokoszaka, A. (1992) Experience of peripheral temperature change during hypnotic analgesia. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 40: 180-193.


Hypnotically suggested hyperthermia has even been used to control cancer metastases – August, R. V. (1975) Hypnotic induction of hyperthermia: an additional approach to postoperative control of cancer recurrence. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 18: 52-55. 

Using the Worst Case Scenario For Benefit With Self-Hypnosis

I had been saying it to my current students, my friends, my clients, my family… “As soon as my cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy certificate is completed, I’ll have much more time to focus on getting things straight and into a routine again…”
 

The course was wonderful. We had a great bunch of students, all from differing backgrounds and with a range of experience, but were united in their readiness to learn. We are going to announce new dates for that course next year and the video footage will be posted in our Platinum members area in the next 1-2 weeks or so.


Then, back in the office, I remembered that we are launching our new self-hypnosis programme mid-July and it has not been fully written, let alone recorded.

 

Then I also remembered I am running two marathons in less than 3 months time which I need to train hard for following injury.

 

And on top of everything else… Pah… Who needs routine anyway? Who needs to feel up straight, eh? It is overrated.

 

I know I’ll cope, I know I have the skills to deal with it, I know I have done much more than this in shorter timeframes… So I am not too stressed about it… In fact, a little bit of stress keeps me firing on all cylinders and working smart.

 

I am not imagining the world caving in, and I am not imagining the worst things that could possibly go wrong… Though I did do on Monday when I had the day off. I went to the beach with my son, we went to the Bournemouth flying club café and watched the planes, then we went out for dinner and had a lovely time…. When I put him to bed, I spent some time imagining the worst case scenario of what could go wrong with the crazy workload I have right now… Yep, you read it correctly, I imagined the world imploding in on itself when I got to work the next day….

 

Let me explain.

 

One thing I have been working on in recent weeks while running the course and preparing the new self-hypnosis audio programme is looking at a number of ways (that fit in with the new model) of using self-hypnosis to deal with a wide variety of anxiety-related issues. 

 

The strategy that I am going to share with you today involves you rehearsing your desired outcome in your imagination while hypnotised so that you feel capable of doing the same in the real world. Which sounds pretty regular to those who are accustomed with cognitive behavioural approaches to well-being.
 

This self-hypnosis process works with the fact that we spend much of our time running simulations of reality through our minds. Some consider it a benefit, but it can also cause us problems -  we often react to our own thinking and imagining about our reality, just as we do to actual perceptions and real-life experience of it.

 

Possibly more importantly though, as we react to our own thoughts and internal dialogue, we can become more detached from the reality we actually perceive of our life. For example, so many people tend to negatively dwell upon events and circumstances, imagining the worst possible scenario happening or imagining be unable to cope with the event or it turning out to be catastrophic in some way.

 

It is a bit of a relation of our ‘fight/flight’ response.

 

Those people tend to feel anxious about and avoid situations that seem likely to turn out badly for them. Scenarios that generate strong negative feelings of this sort tend to stick in our minds, perhaps because these feelings make them seem so real to us.

 

We get snared by this way of thinking! Each time we imagine life turning out in these negative ways, we generate feelings and real physiological responses associated with danger and catastrophe. Before we know it, we may have convinced ourselves that this negative interpretation of the situation is inevitable. Oh no! We’ll then either avoid the situation altogether, or cause it to go wrong in the way we imagined.

 

This type of thinking blocks our ability to make the situation turn out in the best way, and achieve a potential desired outcome. Rather than really going for it and engaging with the event to the best of your abilities, you end up self-fulfilling your worst fears.

 

This is widely referred to as performance anxiety. Performance anxiety describes a situation where you are so fearful about how you will do that your attention and imagination get stuck and results in you becoming tense or anxious, and so you prevent yourself from being able to do what you could have done relatively easily if you had simply relaxed.

 

Sooooooo, this self-hypnosis technique capitalizes on the relationship between thinking, feeling, imagining, and the resulting performance. It ends the anxiety and generates positive self-fulfilling prophecies.

 

You’ll start this process, as unusual as it may sound, by imagining the worst possible outcome, letting yourself experience all the bad feelings and negative consequences that go with that unwanted outcome.  

 

Then you imagine a completely contrasting scenario, making everything work out well in your mind. By practicing this kind of imagined scene, you show yourself that there is really nothing to get anxious about. You show yourself that the very worst that could happen is not anywhere near bad as you may have previously feared. You show yourself that you really are capable of making it work out right for you and for you to perform at your best. You don’t even have to imagine the best outcome – you might simply imagine the most likely, the most realistic and get your mind accustomed to reality according to your intelligently reasoned thoughts.

 

 

5 Steps To Use The Worst Case Scenario For Your Benefit:

 

Get yourself into a comfortable position, ideally sat upright with your arms and legs uncrossed, in a place where you’ll be undisturbed for the duration of this exercise. Have in mind the situation that you’d like to feel comfortable and capable in, then follow these simple steps. 

 

Step One: Induce Hypnosis.

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method.

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.

The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Method Video Clip.

 Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

 The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.

 

Step Two:  Start to imagine that situation, event or circumstance that you want to have an agreeable outcome with. Imagine that the more vivid you make the scene, and the more you focus upon it, the deeper you go into hypnosis.

 

Continue to imagine the scenario progressing now. The day of the event/circumstance arrives.

Imagine everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. This might involve you getting up late, or waking in a bad mood or with a headache or feeling under the weather in some other way.

 

Then imagine the entire day occurring in stages, and everything continues to wrong throughout. Move through the day, all the way up to the actual event or crucial important moment for you to act, engage, perform or whatever it is you wanted to do.  Again, imagine that everything that could go wrong, does go wrong and turns out badly.

 

Add further negative details to this scenario – maybe add physiological symptoms that are evidence of you not coping well such as your hands shaking, sweating profusely, thinking calamitous thoughts or your mind going totally blank… Maybe even imagine making a fool of yourself and any other fears you had about this scenario actually occurring.  

 

Now start to consider the impact of this imagined failure. Let the unwanted feelings grow.  Notice how other people respond and react to your failure. Colour this scenario with any relevant frustration, embarrassment or other unwanted emotive response. When you have enough of those negative feelings as is useful for now, move on to the next step.

 

Step Three: Take a couple of deep breaths. Imagine a curtain closing across your mind, or ‘white out’ your mind, or imagine the scene getting smaller and fading into the distance. Then focus exclusively upon your breathing.  

 

Upon your exhalation, imagine your body relaxing more and more. As you breathe out start to state some progressive, strong cognitions. Consider saying to yourself something along these lines:

"I don't have to feel this way. I'm free."

“I’m in control of my life, I choose what happens.”

“I feel good being me, I know I am capable.”

“I am better than this.”
 

Say these words with belief and conviction. In a way that you truly believe in them. State them with assurance and a sense of ‘knowing’ them to be true.
 

Repeat the words to yourself as you breathe out strongly. Start to imagine you are breathing out the unwanted feelings and the last remnants of the old unwanted scenario, let it be gone. Breathe out strongly and powerfully, relax your body, dispel the old images and feelings – this should happen completely with about 5-6 breaths or so.
 

If you feel a little bit light-headed, just relax, let your breathing regulate, imagine you are going deeper into hypnosis. Then once the old, unwanted feelings have fully dissipated, move on to the next step.
 

Step Four: Consider how you want things to turn out, think about your desired outcome. Think about how you want to think, feel, act, and react in that situation so that things turn out as you want them to. Tell yourself that you are consciously choosing for this desired, progressive, healthy outcome to happen. Tell yourself you are taking control.
 

Run through events in your imagination again. Make it all as vivid as you possibly can. Imagine everything going ideally for you. It does not have to be perfect; it can be grounded in reality. See the sights (details, colours, shades of light etc) hear the sounds (those that are near and far away) and feel how good it feels for this outcome to be happening.


Perhaps imagine waking up in the morning after a revitalising and invigorating period of sleep. Maybe you imagine yourself doing self-hypnosis before getting out of bed, imagining the day ahead going wonderfully well – planning for it and expecting an ideal outcome.
 

Work through the day, being in a good mood, with high, expectant spirits. Notice things going well and turning out right throughout the day.  You might imagine that on occasions throughout the day, you prepare by using self-hypnosis and seeing things turning out right.
 

Imagine the day working out exactly as you would realistically and ideally hope it to turn out. Again, notice the reactions and responses of those you come into contact with – notice how they respond to you in every way. Enjoy their responses and reactions, let those feed your own positive response to this scenario. Work your way right up to the action, the key point, the performance….
 

Then notice it going ideally and wonderfully well. Experience  the thoughts, ideas and feelings that accompany your success. Let the good, personal feelings spread through your body, You might imagine them as a colour, spreading through you, building and amplifying.  Feel accomplished, feel proud, feel in control and spend all the time you want just basking in these feelings, continuing to encourage and support your self with your thoughts.
 

Once you have enjoyed this for long enough, move on to the final step.
 

Step Five: Exit hypnosis. Count yourself up and out, or wiggle your fingers and toes, breathe a couple of deeper energising breaths and open your eyes as you get reoriented to your surroundings.
 

This is a great process to "psych yourself up" and boost performance in a wide number of areas of your life. It is best used to prepare yourself for what lies ahead by mentally rehearsing in a focused fashion. For it to be the most beneficial, you ought to practice it repeatedly for a few days or even a couple of weeks leading up to your desired outcome or event.
 

If you have no strong concerns, worries, or anxieties about the situation to begin with or if you feel too tense, fearful, or uptight to feel comfortable about imagining your worst possible scenario then you can simply omit step 2 and 3. 
 

This type of imaginative rehearsal combined with self-hypnosis is one of the most easy strategies to apply and can yield some of the most impressive results when it comes to overcoming or dealing with a range of anxiety-related matters. Enjoy it!
 

I’ll get back to my crazy schedule…. Which I am enjoying and feeling in control of! 

Using Self-Hypnosis and ‘The Healing Force’

Next week heralds a couple of big moments for me. Firstly, I’ll be back running after my injury. Woo-hoo! Secondly, I’ll be back running with the guys and gals at my running club. Woo-hoo again, but scared about how far back I’ll be for a few weeks! Thirdly, I’ll make the finishing touches to my marathon schedule as I prepare for Bournemouth’s inaugural marathon in October – with the Purbeck marathon as a training run 3 weeks prior to it.
 

So my head is back in the game as far as my running is concerned, and my body is soon to follow. I could have got back running this week after the fracture of my medial meta-tarsal in my left foot, however, after I had a couple of light forays out on it, I decided I needed another week to be absolutely sure.
 

A number of my friends ran PBs at London marathon, and my brother is currently getting a weekly PB at his local ParkRun, so it has been hard not to resist getting out there and running when I have wanted to so very much.
 

n.b. Bournemouth is getting it’s own ParkRun very soon, which I am delighted about, can’t wait for it. I am sure I’ll still find my way to Poole from time to time though.
 

Before I start charting my training plan and getting back into the swing of things here, I thought I’d offer up the other techniques and strategies I have been using for enhancing my recovery. In the next week or so, I’ll add the techniques I used to help with the initial pain I had in my foot, which can be applied to all kinds of injuries, but today I thought I’d share the use of ‘the healing force.’
 

I know, I know…. Sounds a bit ‘wooo’ which I hope that you know is quite unlike me, however, the process has some sound principles and is wonderful in it’s simplicity which means it is easy to apply, even if you are not totally motivated to engage in psychological processes whilst injured.
 

The use of the term ‘healing force’ does have a bit of ambiguity within it, and it is also a little bit tongue in cheek… I mean, how many times do I get to incorporate a Star Wars-ish type of phrase into my work, eh? When I say ambiguity, it is actually something that you get to interpret in a way that suits you best rather than being utterly spoonfed by my own preferences.
 

The process is based on a process I read that Donald Liggett (2000) trialed with a group of 10 athletes who were injured and used this type of technique when hypnotised and compared their recovery to 20 other athletes, and although the study was not able to be published, it is encouraging none the less. The recovery rate of the hypnotised group was quicker than the control group who tended to recover at the same rate as the estimated timeframe given by the professionals they were dealing with.
 

Ok, onto it then…. Prior to starting with the session, think of a positive, healing cognition (an affirmation or phrase) that you can use later in the upcoming session. A good example might be “I am healing faster” or “I feel more comfort” – just make it present tense (i.e. it is happening now) and use the kind of language and phrase that suits you best.
 

6 Steps For Using Self-Hypnosis and The Healing Force:
 

Ensure that you are in a comfortable position, ideally seated, but if you have an injury, just get in whatever position you can to experience the most comfort. You’ll want to ensure your arms and legs are uncrossed and that you are going to be undisturbed for the duration of this exercise. Then follow the steps.
 

Step One: Induce hypnosis.

You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
 

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method.

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.

The Betty Erickson Self-Hypnosis Method Video Clip.

 Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

 The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction.
 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
 

Step Two: Take a few deeper breaths, and then allow your breathing to continue to be gently deeper. Imagine that you go deeper into hypnosis with each deeper breath. Tell yourself as much too. That is, use your cognitions and tell yourself with belief that you are going deeper into hypnosis. Notice the sensation that you get as you breathe deeper. For some it is like an energised feeling.
 

Become aware of an uplifting, energised sensation as you breathe deeply and gently, enjoy the sensation and once you have noticed it for a couple of breaths, move on to the next step.
 

Step Three: As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in an energised, healing force. Imagine a spark of healthy, well-being somewhere inside you. Notice a small sign of the good feeling, like it is a spark of light of some kind. Then start to imagine that each breath starts to make that feeling bigger.
 

With each breath inwards, imagine that you are building up a ball of concentrated energised healing force, whatever that means to you, however you interpret it, just imagine that in your own way. Let is get bigger and more concentrated and more more powerful. Notice the qualities of it – the colour, the movement, the sound of it, and how it feels to have this powerful, concentrated ball of healing well-being there in that place within you.
 

I imagine it being like a shimmering, golden globe, but I think that is because I am inspired by a particular sci-fi film I love…. I digress…
 

When the ball is at a good size, then move on to the next step.
 

Step Four: Now send this mobilised, concentrated ball of healing force to the area of the injury… Take some time to imagine it arriving there and dominating that area with it’s colour and sound (ideally they are healing sounds and colours).
 

Then start to imagine the ball just melting into the area in and around the injury. Imagine that the area becomes free of pain and discomfort. You might notice a slight sensation of some kind as it melts into the area, especially if you expect it… Some people imagine that curative fluids are being transported to the area of the injury and start to enhance and speed up the natural healing process.  Some people imagine it is like an ointment or cream has been applied and is soaking into the area, having a fabulous effect. Use your imagination and do what is best for you.
 

Once you have moved the ball to the are and it is melting in and being absorbed by the injured area, move on to the next step.
 

Step Five: While the healing force continues to get to work, start to repeat your progressive cognition to yourself. That you chose prior to starting this process.
 

Say it in a way that is convincing and that you believe. Say it like you absolutely mean it and repeat it over and over with a gentle reassured sense. All the time imagine the effects of the healing force getting more profound and beneficial.
 

Then move on to the final step.
 

Step Six: Take a couple more deeper breaths, then wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes to bring this session to an end.
 

With my own use of this process, I’d use this 3-4 times in a day and I think you’ll notice the difference (in a beneficial sense) when it is repeated often.
 

Ok, so the running blog is on the marks, getting set and will be “GO” again as of the next couple of weeks…. Yay!