Can hypnosis improve your memory?
Research studies say yes.
Hypnosis has a reputation for helping people find lost objects, remember vague or forgotten events from the past, and even to remember events from a crime scene, as is done in forensic hypnosis. (My friend Marx Howell is the foremost authority in the world on forensic hypnosis and has a very interesting website, training program and tons of great stories if you’re intrigued — you can find him here: http://www.marxhowell.com)
Having a reputation for improving memory is all well and good, but what does science say? Research suggests that, yes, hypnosis can improve recall, both of specific events and finding objects and also improve the memory in general. This is good news for people with cognitive decline and brain injuries, and research is ongoing into using this aspect of hypnosis to improve the quality of life for such folks.
How does hypnosis improve memory and recall? The mechanism has to do with the brainwaves. The brainwaves are the electrical impulses your brain produces and they are measured in frequency. High frequency brainwaves (beta) are associated with conscious effort — figuring out math problems, for instance. Memory gets accessed most efficiently at slower brainwaves — alpha and theta.
When you try harder and harder to remember something, you’re creating more speedy, beta brainwaves. And when that happens, the slower brainwaves are reduced, making it more difficult to remember what you’re trying so hard to remember.
We’re all familiar with this phenomenon. It’s what is happening when you’re out with friends trying to remember the name of a movie, or an actor or whatever, and you just keep wracking your brain trying to come up with the name but it just slips further and further away from you, because you’re producing more beta brainwaves. Then, a couple hours later when you’ve forgotten all about it and you’re relaxed, you produce more of the relaxed alpha and theta brainwaves and the answer pops right into your mind – “Oh! Marlon Brando!” And then you text all your friends, right?
When you relaxed and the brainwaves slowed down, the requested information became accessible.
Hypnosis slows down the brainwaves, and allows access to information stored in memory that can’t be accessed consciously, therefore. I’ve run experiences in classes while teaching my hypnotherapy certification program and had people re-experience being in their second grade classroom, remembering with amazing detail things that they had not remembered in decades and could not remember without being in the hypnotic state. Who is sitting around them, the names and faces of classmates, the teacher, what was on the board and bulletin boards around the room, come back to people in trance with the clarity of what you are seeing around you as you read this article.
Moreover, experience shows that regular use of hypnosis (or meditation, too) will balance out your brainwaves and THAT is what gives you a better day-to-day memory all around. So, whether you have goals of weight loss or becoming more charismatic or increasing abundance in your life, using hypnosis on a daily basis will have the happy side-effect of improving your memory, too!
Who is this helpful for? Well, I’m at that age (ah hem) where all of my friends start worrying about their memory. And start paying for a variety of online programs that promise to improve memory and cognitive abilities, or stave off the effects of aging. I’m sure they’re great, but hypnosis is my solution. I also teach clients who are either adults going back to school, or teens and young adults in high school and college to use self hypnosis both when they study (hypnosis improves retention of material) and when they are taking a test, to improve recall. Anyone who is interested in having better recall abilities will benefit from a daily hypnosis practice. (As another side effect, these people find themselves also calmer and with reduced anxiety, because of the same changes in the brainwaves.)
Links to articles on hypnosis and memory: