Sunday, April 30, 2006

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis. A word that is a delight to many, a mystery to some, and downright scary to others. Stop by often as we explore hypnosis and other subjects relating to mind over matter.

But, what exactly is hypnosis? The state of hypnosis is actually a state of intense focus and concentration, much like meditation. Have you ever been hypnotized? Before shaking your head "no," remember those times you've "lost yourself" in a good book, movie, tv show, or even your favorite video game. Have you ever "lost yourself" daydreaming? You tend to lose awareness of things around you because you're so focused on what you're doing or thinking. You may lose track of time. You were in a state of light hypnosis. The period of time before falling asleep is also a state of light hypnosis. So, you see, we've all been hypnotized.

Hypnosis also slows your brain waves. In normal waking state (or, beta state) your brain waves are operating at 14-30 hertz. When you close your eyes, relax and begin to daydream (a light state of hypnosis) your brain waves slow to 8-13 hertz. This is the alpha state, a state that is conducive to creativity, a state where your conscious, critical mind is less dominant and your subconscious mind begins to come forward.

The theta state is a deep state of hypnosis, where the brain waves slow to 4 to 7 hertz. This state is experienced by those in a deep state of hypnosis, during intense meditation and also experienced by athletes who are "in the zone." In this deep state one can experience dental and medical procedures without the use of anaesthesia.

The interesting thing about the subconscious is that it can't tell the difference between imagination and reality. This is important for hypnosis. When you are in a state of hypnosis and you imagine yourself giving a great speech free of anxiety (when normally you would be experiencing stage fright) your subconscious just accepts it as fact, free of the interference of the critical, conscious mind which says "you can't give a speech - you have stage fright." And when you're subconscious mind is on board, then it's easier to make the desired behaviour a habit.

Hypnosis is used for many, many things, including conquering stage fright, overcoming fears and phobias and as an aid in some medical conditions. In the upcoming blog entries, Hypnosis 411 will explore the many uses of hypnosis and how hypnosis (along with self-hypnosis) can help you get motivated, learn new behaviors, or just improve your overall well-being.

We'll also explore "what hypnosis isn't," to help alleviate any concerns about hypnosis you might have.