Stress IS a killer. YOU can counteract it’s effects. One of the best remedies is right here in this article.
Yes, I started another article with pretty much that same line about stress. Because it’s true.
According to the American Medical Association, stress either creates or makes worse 85% of all disease and illness.
And the AMA is a pretty conservative organization. Prior to the impact of Herbert Benson’s book The Relaxation Response in the late 60’s, the AMA’s official line was that there was no connection between stress and illness. So, a swing of that magnitude in a little over 3 decades leads you to wonder if that 85% number might even be higher.
Stress is also a reality.
And growing more so every day, every decade. You can’t escape it entirely. But you can reduce its effects on you.
Stress management helps. And you can pick up some tips and listen to another hypnosis session in the second half of my “Address Your Stress” podcast.
In this article I want to give you even more resources to help manage your stress and focus on stress relief with hypnosis.
“I’ve never felt that relaxed before in my life.”
This is a comment I hear frequently from my clients who have their first hypnosis session. It both delights me–that they had a great experience and feel the value of hypnosis from a relaxation/recentering perspective–and saddens me.
Because you shouldn’t reach 20, 30, 40 or 50 some years old and have never been that relaxed before.
We are designed to relax to that degree on a regular basis. We’re neurologically wired for it, and that neurological state, call it meditation, hypnosis, trance, or “Steve,” produces some neurological and physiological changes that are highly beneficial to the body. Just a few of these:
- A three month study of managers and employees who regularly practiced meditation showed that they displayed more relaxed physiological functioning, grater reduction in anxiety, and reduced tension on the job when compared to control subjects with similar job positions in the same companies. (Anxiety, Stress & Coping International Journal, 1993)
- Twenty out of twenty-two anxiety prone people showed a 60% improvement in anxiety levels following an eight week course in meditation. (University of Massachusetts)
- 75% of long-term insomniacs who have been trained in relaxation and meditation can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. (Dr. Gregg Jacobs, Psychologist, Harvard)
- Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that hypnosis and related relaxation techniques can actually prevent the weakening of the immune response that often follows periods of acute stress. A new study suggests that hypnosis may even slightly enhance the immune status. (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology)
- Studies show a significant reduction in plasma cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) as a result of hypnosis. (JAMA Psychiatry)
- Meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta and delta brain waves–the opposite of the physiological changes that occur during stress. Herbert Benson, MD, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Relaxation Response
And there are so many, many more studies that I could cite.
The results above and other studies that have crossed my desk over the years, show that a regular hypnosis/meditation practice improves the quality of sleep, reduces the effects of stress on the endocrine system (cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline production) increases production of serotonin and GABA, improves immune function, and reduces the thickness of artery walls (Stroke Journal, reported in Psychology Today, 2001).
For something so effective, so adaptive (there are no negative side effects), and so pleasant, why wouldn’t you give these mind-body techniques a try, to see if you can reduce or even stay off of some medications (check with your doctor, of course).
That’s why the name of this site is “HypnosisFirst.” My own experience showed that significant improvement can be had in behavioral issues, even in cognition, through the use of these skills (“skills not pills”). And it’s not JUST hypnosis–it’s mind body medicine, which includes a number of different approaches. Hypnosis and meditation just happen to be “my thing” but there are many other appropriate and effective methods.
Wait, hypnosis, or meditation, or trance? What is it????
While there are arguably differences between meditation and hypnosis or self-hypnosis, they are mostly difference in the use of the neurological state, not primarily differences in the state itself (yes, I use the word “state.” It’s convenient, and this site is not a forum for getting into that debate). The hypnotic or meditative state is one of reducing the speedier brainwaves (which are more prone to producing worry, anxiety & panic) and increasing the calming brainwaves (alpha and theta, predominately). The specific frequencies of alpha and theta have focusing and calming effects on the mind, and trigger these physiological changes such as increase in serotonin, decrease in cortisol, increase in GABA (a calming neurotransmitter that, among other things, reduces anxiety).1
Once you get into that neurological state it is what you intend to do that determines whether it’s hypnosis or meditation. If your intention is to deliver suggestions to your subconscious mind to make specific physical or behavioral changes, then I call that hypnosis. If you are using the state to train your mind to respond to your conscious intention, to access intuition, to experience “the space between the thoughts,” and all the benefits that provides, I call that meditation.
However, there are so many different types of meditation, that the line certainly gets blurred. If you’re doing a loving kindness meditation with the intention of creating a more loving and kind attitude and behaviors in yourself, is that not suggestion?
At the end of the day, I feel that it matters less what you call it (these academic discussions are just that) and more that you find a practice that works for you, that feels good, that creates the results you are looking for and that, therefore, you will stick with. Because one thing all the studies agree on — the benefits of a trance state practice are more significant with an on-going, consistent practice. Just like going to the gym once won’t get you in shape, one session of hypnosis or meditation won’t give you the ongoing benefits discussed above.
Try it for yourself. Here is one of my hypnosis/meditation audios, Deepest Relaxation, free, right on the next page. Remember, many of the neuro/physiological benefits of the trance state come from just being in it, and aren’t connected to specific suggestions. So using hypnosis and/or meditation for relaxation is a great way to start experiencing the benefits.
I truly believe we were built to experience this daily. Why else would we be wired to go into a trance state? It’s so easy to get into. Staring into a fire. Listening to a ticking clock. And the benefits are so profound — mental, emotional and physical benefits.
Get these benefits for yourself. Scroll down for a free “Deepest Relaxation” hypnosis experience.
Here is my challenge to you:
Use the audio below every day for 30 days, and see what a difference it makes in getting better sleep, feeling calmer and more centered during the day, reducing your stress responses. (If you miss a day, that’s OK, just pick up your practice the following day. And yes, you can use this to go to sleep with, but your best results will be from adding trance state time to your daily routine–and trance is different from sleep.)
Here’s how to do it:
1. Pick a time that works well for you. First thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, or evening when you have some “me” time. There’s no wrong time to listen. The best time is the time that will allow you to be consistent, and undisturbed.
2. Pick a place that allows you to relax. No cats or dogs or children jumping on you. Mute the phone. Dim the lights.
3. Pick a position that is conducive to hypnosis. Many people fall asleep if they lay down during hypnosis, because that position is a trigger to your mind and body that it’s sleepy time. And the brainwaves of hypnosis are slower and naturally lead into sleep. So, you may want to sit up. Thomas Edison sat in a straight backed chair for his self hypnosis practice.
4. Commit to using this audio every day for 30 days. If you miss a day, that’s OK, just pick up your practice again the following day.
5. Optionally, jot down or journal what changes for you. Do you find yourself feeling less emotional? Slower to anger? Better able to let things roll off your back? If you have health issues, note the change and improvement in those. Are you sleeping better? Blood pressure lower?
After you use this audio for 30 days, please, let me know how it went for you in the comments below!
Please contact me and let me know how this is working for you and what changes and improvements you’re experiencing!
Remember: You are lovable just because of who you are!
Cindy Locher, BCH
1 Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans; Adham M. Abdou, S. Higashiguchi, K. Horie, Mujo Kim, H. Hatta, H. Yokogoshi; Article first published online: 19 DEC 2008