3 Hypnosis Inductions To Try At Home

I have a problem with the term “hypnosis”. It still conjures up too many negative ideas and images for too many people. Visions of swinging watches; people making fools of themselves for stage hypnotists;
Svengali-type characters controlling poor vulnerable innocents.

I often wish we could choose a new name for what hypnotherapists do, to help move past the negative associations. 200 years ago the term hypnosis didn’t even exist, although the idea of putting people into a “trance” had been around for thousands of years. For many years, what we now call hypnotism was called Mesmerism, after Franz Mesmer, a German physician. However, the term Mesmerism fell out of favour once the underlying theories behind it, of all objects possessing a special energy called animal magnetism, was debunked.

In 1842, the father of modern hypnosis, James Braid, first used the term “Neurohypnology”. This was the first time that “Hypno”, from the Greek for sleep, was used to describe the phenomenon. Although Braid used the term metaphorically, the idea that hypnosis is a form of sleep has stuck ever since.

Personally, I prefer the term that Braid developed later in his career, “monoideism”, which simply means a state of prolonged absorption in a single idea. That’s all hypnosis really is, focused attention. By engaging fully with the suggestions or ideas that are made (either by yourself, the hypnotist or on a hypnosis recording) those suggestions are more easily accepted and personal transformation is more likely to take place. By focusing on those suggestions, to the exclusion of all other distractions, a client can utilise their imagination or creativity in more positive ways.

Most hypnotherapists are keen on the phrase “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis”, meaning it’s not really the hypnotherapist who is creating a hypnotic state in the client, but rather it is the client doing it for themselves. As hypnotherapists, it might be us saying the words, but it is actually the client who chooses to focus their attention, engage their imagination and go into hypnosis.

So, to start a hypnosis session we always conduct a hypnotic induction. This is just a process to allow you to focus your attention more easily. Below are 3 simple inductions that you can try at home to create a pleasant, relaxing state really quickly. Although these inductions focus on creating relaxation there are hundreds of other inductions that don’t. However, for many clients I work with, particularly those dealing with stress, anxiety, panic attacks or phobias, learning to relax is very beneficial. It is also a good “convincer” for new clients, proof that something different and interesting is happening.

I always explain to clients that hypnosis feels no different to sitting in a room with your eyes closed – unless I give suggestions for them to feel different. The inductions below include suggestions to feel more relaxed or heavier. The key to a successful induction is to follow the instructions, to act “as if”, to imagine or simply pretend that the suggestions are happening. Therefore, if the suggestion is for your eyes to become heavy, just act “as if” your eyes are becoming heavy – imagine what it would be like to have eyes that were really heavy!!!

If you are interested in trying out these inductions then find somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed for 5 minutes. Sit or lie in a comfortable position and keep your arms and legs uncrossed. Make sure you understand the process you are going to follow before you start, or make a recording beforehand.

There is no right way or wrong way of doing hypnosis – just have a try and see what happens. Please let me know how you get on.


Mindfulness Breathing Induction

This hypnotic induction is based on a simple mindfulness technique. By taking your attention to your breathing for just a few moments you are learning to become more present and less focused on negative thoughts.

  1. Take a nice deep breath, hold it for a moment, and as you breathe out, close your eyes
  2. Take a few moments to make yourself comfortable and settle down into your seat
  3. Take your attention to your breathing for about 8 breaths. Don’t change your breathing patterns, just breathe gently and easily. Become aware of the sensation of the air coming in through your mouth or nose and the feeling of your chest as it gently rises and falls.
  4. With each breath that you take allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed. Becoming more relaxed with each breath that you take.
  5. Sense your muscles becoming warm, comfortable and heavy as they all switch off. Sense your breathing slowing down and becoming more gentle.
  6. Once you’ve completed about 8 breaths take your attention to your hands. Imagine your hands becoming so relaxed and heavy and comfortable that you can’t lift them. If they aren’t heavy just act “as if” they were. Imagine having hands that are so heavy you couldn’t lift them.
  7. Take that feeling of heaviness and let it spread throughout your body.
  8. Take a few moments to scan your body for any tension, releasing any that you find.
  9. When you are ready, slowly orientate yourself back to the room you are in and then gently open your eyes.


Triple Eye Lock Induction

This induction is based on a very famous one called the Elman Induction. It uses an example of hypnotic phenomena – the eye lock – to induce hypnosis.

  1. Make yourself comfortable, settle down and close your eyes
  2. Take your attention to your eyelids. Relax your eyelids completely so that you simply can’t open them.
  3. Once you are certain they are completely relaxed, gently test your eyelids to make sure they don’t work. Remember, you are acting “as if” your eyelids can’t open. You are testing your eyelids to make sure that they are so relaxed they don’t open – if you can open them then they are not totally relaxed!!! Even though you know you can open your eyes you can use your imagination to pretend that you can’t open them.
  4. Once you’ve tested them allow the feeling of relaxation in your eyelids to spread throughout your body.
  5. Take your attention back to your eyelids, as well as all the muscles around your eyelids, your brow and cheeks. This time relax all those muscles so much that your eyelids won’t open. Test your eyelids again to make sure they won’t open and then take that feeling of relaxation and allow that to spread throughout your body.
  6. For the third time take your attention to the muscles in your eyelids as well as all the muscles in your face. Relax your face muscles completely and once again test your eyelids. Finally take that feeling of relaxation and allow it to spread across your body, becoming even deeper relaxed.
  7. Take a few moments to scan your body for any tension, releasing any that you find.
  8. When you are ready, slowly orientate yourself back to the room you are in and then gently open your eyes.


Eye Fixation Induction

James Braid devised the original version of this induction more than 150 years ago and it is still being used by hypnotherapists across the globe. I remember my first attempt at being hypnotised, staring at a spot on a wall and not understanding why nothing was happening. Of course, for this induction to be successful you need to engage your imagination and act “as if” your eyes are getting heavy. The induction is set up in such as a way that it also starts to put a slight strain on the eyes, making them naturally start to feel heavy and tired.

  1. Sit upright in a chair, make yourself comfortable and look straight ahead at a wall about 8 feet away.
  2. Without tilting your head upwards, gently turn your eyes upwards and focus on a spot at the top of the wall or on the ceiling.
  3. Focus on the spot intently, give it your full attention.
  4. As you feel the slight strain in your eyes really engage with the idea of how pleasant it would be to relax your eyes and let them close.
  5. Slowly give in to that feeling of needing to close your eyes. Allow your eyelids to become heavier. Enjoy that feeling of letting go of that tension.
  6. You might start to feel your eyelids flutter as they become heavier. Don’t fight that feeling, allow it to grow until you must close them. It should only take about 1-2 minutes at most for your eyes to become so heavy that you must close them.
  7. As you close your eyes embrace that sense of relaxation, let it flow through your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
  8. Take a few moments to scan your body for any tension, releasing any that you find.
  9. When you are ready, slowly orientate yourself back to the room you are in and then gently open your eyes.

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Get Organised: 6 Steps To Less Stress

I always find it interesting how clients can be brilliantly efficient and effective in some areas of their life but not in others. For example, clients who can manage so well in stressful working conditions,
who can manage large teams of staff or complex working environments, can fall apart when dealing with a difficult home life. The skills and knowledge that they draw on in the workplace go out the window when confronted with a stroppy toddler or intrusive parent.

Using effective time management and organisational skills throughout our lives is a great way to reduce our stress and anxiety. Many clients find themselves overwhelmed by emotions when dealing with life’s challenges and it is usually linked to a feeling of losing control. Learning to relax and slow down, by using techniques such as hypnosis or mindfulness, can really help but so to can making some very simple and practical changes.

If you want to get back that feeling of self-control, and start to feel less stressed, try to incorporate these 6 changes into your life today.

Ditch Perfectionism

Striving to do your best can be a good trait to have. It can lead to great achievements in your life such as passing exams or a successful and rewarding career. However, research shows that the dark side of perfectionism can lead to poor physical health and even an early death.

Setting high standards for yourself can help you to achieve personal and professional goals, but setting unrealistic standards throughout your life can lead to unwanted stress.  

The key to ditching perfectionism is starting to accept that you can’t be perfect at everything that you do. Begin by changing your “self talk” – the words that you say to yourself. Replace “I must…”, “I should…”, “I have to…” with more realistic words such as “I hope to…”, “I’d like to…”, “I wish to…”.

Then make sure that you start to set yourself goals and targets that are realistic and achievable. No one can be the perfect parent, perfect partner, perfect employee and the perfect son or daughter.  

Finally, congratulate yourself on your successes but be more compassionate with yourself when things don’t go the way you had hoped.

Stop Procrastinating

Do you find yourself putting tasks off or avoiding them completely? Perhaps you are avoiding them because you’ve just got too much on, or perhaps you are just not motivated to do it. If you are a perfectionist perhaps you are avoiding it because you don’t want to do it badly or wrong, or perhaps it’s a task that you know (or assume) you are just not going to enjoy doing.

Procrastination, and the worry that sometimes comes from putting off a task, especially with an impending deadline, can lead to additional stress. Much better to tackle the task head on as early as possible.

A great way to avoid procrastination is to start by reaffirming your goal.  Is it a task that really needs to be done? Are you the best person to do it? Do you know anyone else who has completed it who can give you some advice? What is the outcome if the task isn’t completed?

Then set yourself a realistic deadline and allocate sufficient time in your diary to complete it.

Finally break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps.

Set Priorities

When we have so many competing tasks and deadlines it can be hard to see the wood for the trees and easy to become overwhelmed by negative emotions. To prevent this from happening take some time to set your priorities. What are the key tasks that you need to complete and what can be pushed back, or is simply no longer required?  Once you’ve made a decision on your most important tasks you can begin by completing those tasks first.

Have A System

For many people who are stressed, when their brain is ramped up and on high alert, their mind becomes filled with all the things that they have to get done. In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen stresses the importance of moving planned tasks and projects out of your head and having a proper system for filing and recording them. In Problem-Solving Therapy: A Treatment Manual the authors discuss the value of “externalising”, getting all the clutter out of your head so that you can think more clearly.

Many of us might be really organised in work, but allow our personal life to become chaotic. To get organised quickly and simply there are 4 essential steps:

  • Set up a filing system – invest in some folders and something to store them in (you don’t need to buy a filing cabinet, a small expander file might be sufficient). Collect everything in your house that needs to be filed away eg bank statements, theatre tickets, instruction manuals, post-it notes and create a file for each. Make sure you create suitable systems for electronic documents and email as well.
  • Get a note taking device, either a physical notebook or an electronic one such as the Evernote app. Use it to jot down ideas or anything that comes to mind – get it out of your head!!
  • Buy a calendar/diary or make the most of online calendars such as Google Calendar. Put everything in it – birthdays, anniversaries, appointments. Start to use it to book time out for things that are important to you eg going to the gym, meeting friends, taking the kids swimming.
  • Start a task list/things to do list – again, this can be physical, such as an A4 pad, or electronic, such as the app Remember The Milk. Write down everything that you need to do, no matter how small. Review it regularly and keep it updated.

Start to say “No”

Are you a people pleaser? Does it feel wrong to say “No” when others ask you for help? Are other people’s responsibilities getting in the way of your goals?  Then you need to start saying “No”.

It might seem hard at first, you might feel that you are letting other people down or are worried that other people will think badly of you. However, learning to say “No” can be liberating. Consider how much extra time and energy you would have if you had said “No” more often.

So, start to practice saying “No” to the small requests and work your way up to bigger things. Don’t apologise and avoid the trap of saying things like “I will try to do it later if I’ve got time”. Learn to be polite but firm and accept that you can only be responsible for your own feelings and you can’t influence how other people feel.

Learn To Delegate

Just as many people can’t say “No”, others find it difficult to delegate tasks. Perhaps it’s the fear that another person won’t do the job as well as you (see Ditch Perfectionism) or perhaps you don’t want to be seen as being weak. Whatever the reason, now is a great time to start delegating tasks.

The 4 D’s is a classic productivity system for deciding what to do with the tasks you have:

  • Drop it – Does it really need doing? If not, drop it
  • Do it – Can it be done straight away? Then do it now
  • Defer it – Is it going to take more time or resources or knowledge than you’ve got now? Then defer it
  • Delegate it – Are you the best person to do this task? If not, delegate it

In the workplace if you are a manager, then delegation is a skill that you should be developing anyway. Even if you are not a manager there may be opportunities to delegate tasks to colleagues who are better suited to the task. Perhaps in return you could do something that you are better at or would enjoy more.

Even within a family setting, tasks can be delegated effectively. Including children in household chores is a vital part of learning life skills. Teaching children to tidy their own room, wash up or make their own breakfast can free up your time considerably. Make sure you explain the task fully to them and learn to accept that they aren’t going to reach your standards straight away.