Lets be clear about this. What you do is controlled by your brain. The mind is in charge of the body. This is a simple concept that we all understand. When it comes to achieving goals however we can often be sidetracked into being concerned with external factors that we have little or no control over. Often people wanting to lose weight will blame their genetics, or their bone structure, or their hormones, or some other health factor that we have little control over. These are simply a distraction. In life we all have to work with what we have now, not how we wish things were. In fact, it is better to stop the ‘blame game’ entirely. Blaming ourselves, others, the world, etc. is most likely completely unproductive as well as draining and demotivating.
What is key is recognising that in order to achieve new goals we need to change our actions, and changing our actions can only be done by changing our mind.
Note that I am not just talking about changing what we think. Yes, this is important, but far more important is changing our subconscious drives. Our behaviour is directly driven by the emotional/subconscious mind. This fact was recognised by all the early psychiatrists and neurologists like Freud, Charcot and Jung.
Freud compared the mind to an iceberg with the smallest visible part compared to the conscious mind, and the deeper, larger, driving part of our mind being hidden beneath the surface.
Given that it is the subconscious mind that drives behaviour and that behavioural change is what is needed for new goals, how do we access that part of the mind?
Hypnosis. This is the key. Now hypnosis can be done formally with the help of a qualified hypnotherapist or you can use it yourself. There are several aspects of hypnosis that should be achieved:
1. Relaxation. This allows the ‘critical facility’ of the pre frontal cortex to be quietened. Slowing down the critical facility means that changes are more likely to be accepted into the deeper regions of the mind.
2. Visualisation/emotional recall. Purposefully triggering emotions or triggering visualisations that are connected with emotional states allows us to directly manipulate the emotional ‘subconscious’ mind.
3. Hypnotic suggestion. The best forms of suggestion, including hypnotic suggestion for weight loss, are done by a second party. Suggestions that are delievered by someone else are usually more effective than suggestions you give yourself. However autosuggestion (giving yourself suggestions) that you really can believe in is also effective.
Whether it is hypnosis for weight loss, hypnosis for depression, performance or motivation it doesn’t really matter. Follow the simple steps below:
1. Relax in a comfortable position. It can be either sitting or lying. Then close your eyes.
2. Starting with your toes, clench and relax progressively every muscle group in your body until you reach the top of your head. As far as you can, focus on each muscle group. Especially notice the muscles in your abdomen.
3. As you release the muscles in your abdomen, take three slow deep breaths ensuring that your abdomen rises and falls. Do not breathe from your chest. This is the time to let it ‘all hang out’.
4. Breathe normally and continue the relaxation process. Remember to clench and relax the shoulders, neck, upper arms, lower arms and hands.
5. Remember to relax the muscles of the face and jaw if necessary by clenching them first.
6. Mentally scan your body and re-relax any areas that you need to.
7. Introduce mental relaxation by imaging any worrying thoughts or nagging thoughts disappearing. You might like to image them floating away or disappearing into a mist or being breathed out with every out breath.
8. Visualise a favourite place. This can be a place from your memory or a place you can create in your imagination. It should be somewhere you feel relaxed and safe. Spend some time visualising each element that exists in this place – the floor, the walls, the view et cetera. Importantly also imagine the feeling of being there.
9. Recall the old feeling, the one you want to move away from. It could be a feeling of craving junk food, or it could be a feeling of dissatisfaction with a small meal, or it could be a feeling of anxiety that belies the secondary feelings. Think about what the feeling is that really drives your behaviours; then recall it. Just feel it for a few moments if you can, and now SWITCH as quickly as you can to a replacement feeling. The replacement feeling will be one of contentment, fullness, relaxation, achievement or success. Invoke a pleasant memory or imagined scenario to create the new emotion. Do this process a minimum of three times.
10. Recall any unhelpful ‘old’ thoughts. Replace them with a new, more helpful thoughts. For example replace ‘It’s OK to have one more’ with ‘I have the right to chose what I put in my body’ or ‘I am chosing to be in control’. Say the new thought to yourself and experience as much as possible the new feelings that are associated with this new, more balanced approach. You might imagine erasing the old thoughts by rubbing them off a chalk board. Do this a minimum of three times with each unhelpful thought you have identified.
11. Anchor the new feeling and thoughts by performing some movement like pressing together the thumb and forefinger. Alternatively you could pay extra attention to the relaxation in a specific part of your body. You could also recalling a piece of music or say a phrase in your mind that reminds you of this state.
12. Recall the old behaviour. Really imagine it as much as you can, like it was a scene on tv or a movie screen. Now imagine you had a rewind button. Hit rewind to get back to the beginning of the scene and then play events forward again, this time with the new behaviour. Again do this a minimum of three times.
13. Say to yourself ‘this old problem is fading, every day I move further and further away from the old behaviours and old feeligns’ ‘I am creating a new destiny’.
14. When you are ready, gently come back to a normal state of awareness and open your eyes.
This whole process should take somewhere between about 10 and about 30 minutes.
When you have practised this a few times use the anchor that you created (the touch of the thumb and forefinger, or relaxation in part of your body or the phrase) whenever you need to feel and think the way that you planned. Make sure the thoughts and emotions are enough to overcome the situation; if they are not then you will need to practise the self hypnosis more often or get professional help.
I recommend that you practice this procedure around once a day for a week and then about once or twice a week until you are confident that the new thoughts, feelings and behaviour are firmly installed.
Changing your thoughts, feelings and actions through hypnosis is easy once you have practiced it a few times.
Best wishes in achieving your full potential!