I don’t remember where I got the information from, but I was in the fourth grade when I read (most likely) or heard something about self-hypnosis. At any rate I decided to try it in order to solve a problem I had at the time.
If you are wondering if a nine year old really did try self-hypnosis the answer is; I certainly did. I carefully made one of those special spirals sometimes used in hypnosis. Maybe I saw something on TV. That was the year we got our first television.
Once I’d created my spiral using construction paper and crayons I put it on the turn table of my record player and proceeded to try to hypnotize myself. When I thought I’d succeeded I then told myself I loved fractions. I especially loved to multiply and divide fractions. Because that was my problem; I was not doing well at all with fractions. After making high grades in arithmetic up until this point I was getting notes to take home saying my work wasn’t up to standard. I didn’t like that and determined to do something about it.
You know what? It worked. I convinced myself I loved fractions and therefore worked more diligently on them; which in turn meant I learned how to do add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions easily and well.
Entering a state where you can effectively use self-hypnosis is fairly easy. The spiral or a gently moving object works, but are not necessary. Naturally the first few times take longer, but with a little practice you can do it quickly.
Just sit somewhere comfortable and relax. I like my recliner for this. Close your eyes and carefully breathe in to a count of five, hold for five, breath out for five, hold for five and repeat several times until you feel almost as if you might be going to sleep.
Another way enter the relaxed state you need is to tense up every muscle and then, beginning with your toes, relax each set of muscles until you reach the top of your head. This relaxed state is where you can use self-hypnosis.
There is also the every popular counting backwards from a hundred while telling yourself you are relaxing. In other words, you are using self-hypnosis to hypnotize yourself.
Later when I tried self-hypnosis it didn’t work very well or sometimes not at all. Eventually my spotty results led me to believe that the first time was a fluke.
In the course of teaching riding, driving and horsemanship though I discovered why that first attempt at self-hypnosis worked and subsequent attempts failed. I noticed that every time I told a student NOT to do something they immediately did it.
I pondered over the problem for a long time before attempting to reverse how I taught. Instead of telling students what I didn’t want them to do I began figuring out what I wanted them to do and told them that. It worked. Apparently the word don’t just sails right past our ears and we do whatever we hear.
With this crucial key I realized that the reason my very first attempt at self-hypnosis was successful was because I gave myself something to do; love fractions. That set me up to do what needed to be done to achieve my goal of learning how to do fractions.
With this tool I’ve since used self-hypnosis for a number of self-improvement projects with varying rates of success. The ones it works best for are the ones that I can tell myself something very simple with a positive statement. From there the steps to accomplish the ultimate goal fall into place.
One such attempt was to make the BIC principal of writing work for me. What is BIC? It means Butt In Chair. You sit down and start writing. I told myself I loved to write and just couldn’t wait to get to my chair to begin a day of fun with my writing. This has worked a little too well. I had the family fussing at me over the weekend because I had “Just a few more minutes of writing.”
I’ve also used it to convince myself to take a two mile walk. That was pretty easy since I like to be outdoors anyway.
Where self-hypnosis has not worked for me is weight loss. I’ve not yet found the few key words that would make that into a winning suggestion for me.
The key is to give positive, doable suggestions to yourself and that seems to be my sticking point. What do you say to yourself that is positive about losing weight? I mean in a dynamic fashion, not the litany of you are healthier when you are slimmer etc.
I’ve also heard from friends that using self-hypnosis for quitting smoking is hit or miss as well. When we discussed it we decided that, here again, finding just the right positive words to make the suggestion work is elusive.
If you can give yourself positive statements such as, “I love to write. I can’t wait to write every day.” Or “I love to walk. Walking every day makes me happy.” while in a light trance the results are impressive. Without this short positive love it, do it command though self-hypnosis doesn’t seem to be very effective. If you can find a positive twist though, self-hypnosis can have amazing results.