What is the trance state?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘trance state’ before. Especially if you’re familiar with hypnosis. A question you might ask is: what is the trance state?

Hypnosis activates the trance state. It’s a way the brain likes to operate sometimes. In this state, you think more creatively and are open to new ideas. You are more willing to accept things as true in a trance state.

Now, if that last line concerns you, then I can assure you that you can relax. You might be more open to suggestions but you’re still fully aware and in control. If someone says something wrong or harmful, you’ll consider the idea… then reject it. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to – whether or not you’re in a trance.

But if there’s something that you know is true – something like smoking is harmful and you should quit…

… then you’ll accept the idea more readily in a trance state.

What happens during a trance state?

How does a trance work? Why are you more open to new thoughts and ideas? It’s simple. There’s a part of your mind that rejects information. And it tends to be very busy. After all, there’s a lot of bad advice and poor reasoning in the world.

And it tends to be quick. If someone tells you to touch fire, you can’t feel yourself considering it. Straight away – or so it feels – your mind says ‘NO’. The truth is, your mind does consider the idea. After all, it has to know what it’s rejecting – the way it does that is by accepting the idea, then assessing it.

This system is effective at keeping you safe. At least, what some part of you thinks is safe. The bad news is that it also keeps you the same – even when you want to change. Back to the smoking example – someone tells you to quit, and your brain as assessed and rejected it before you even become aware of it. Even though you want to agree, some part of you has decided.

But in a trance, this system works differently. Because you are so relaxed, this assessing/rejecting system can slow down a little. After all, if you’re relaxed, then there can’t be any urgent danger. So the rejection slows down just enough for you to be aware of the idea.

If someone tells you to touch fire, you still reject the idea. Consciously and unconsciously, you know that’s a bad idea.

If someone tells you to quit smoking, you think ‘hang on, why shouldn’t I quit? I know it’s bad for me!’ There’s just enough time to accept the idea – if you want to, that is.

How do you go into a hypnotic trance state?

The good news is that you’re already an expert in going into trance. After all, you go into one dozens of times during a normal day. Have you ever been daydreaming and someone calls your name? There’s that moment of feeling disjointed or confused. Why? Because you were in a trance state, then suddenly pulled out of it. Same thing when you ‘zone out’ doing something simple, like driving your usual commute.

Going into a trance is easy. It’s what your mind does when it doesn’t need to focus. If you can relax while doing something – say, doing the dishes – your mind likes to wander. If it starts to wander then, perhaps quickly, maybe slowly, you’ll slide into a trance state.

The opposite is also true. Paying attention can also lead into trance. Think of an athlete in a pure state of focus. Like a tennis player whose eyes are locked on the ball. All other thoughts fade to the background. Even their sense of self fades as they focus on hitting the ball perfectly.

What does a trance feel like?

What a trance state feels like varies from person to person. And even from trance state to trance. But there are some common themes.

One is relaxation. Being in a trance state is like being open and connected to a world of possibilities. It’s not the sort of thing you can do while tense. If you see a tiger, you don’t need to consider the idea that it’s friendly – you need to run. But if there’s no threat, no stress and no tension, you can slip into a nice trance. Being relaxed makes you go into a trance state, and going into a trance feels relaxing. A virtuous cycle.

Another sensation is focus. Like the tennis player, your awareness of the world might sharpen. Or like a monk in prayer, awareness of your thoughts and feelings grows. Distracting thoughts often fade to the background.

Often it feels like falling asleep. Imagine yourself falling asleep. Your muscles relax, your breathing shifts, your thoughts soften, sometimes you twitch a little. If any of these happen while you’re awake, it’s a good sign that you’re in a trance.

Another common experience is strong, positive emotions. For me, it feels like pure joy rising from my stomach or chest. It’s difficult to resist – even if I want to.

There are other sensations, but I won’t list them all. In time, you will learn how you respond to being in a trance state. It’s a complex phenomenon with no set rules. Just like everything else in the human experience.

But above all, trance is a positive experience. It feels good because it’s your mind’s way of rewarding fresh thinking, openness and a new way of thinking. When you learn to recognise it, you’ll see the hallmarks of trance in all the best moments of your life. The trance state is many things, but it’s always fascinating.

And if you’re intrigued and want to know more, Unlock the Vault exists for people like you. Check it out right now.