Imagine someone with a problem. Let’s say they have a bad habit such as smoking. This problem comes from their unconscious thinking. Maybe it’s something they picked up as a child. If it were conscious thinking, they could choose to change it. For changing unconscious thinking, hypnosis is the answer.
A hypnotic trance brings unconscious material into conscious awareness. It also loosens up your thinking, allowing you to view a problem from more angles. These allow you to change your patterns of thought that are usually invisible to you.
This is why I adore hypnosis. All of your problems – everything from phobias to business failures – have their roots in your unconscious. All of your greatest resources are there, too. If you’ve ever surprised yourself by being extra talented, charismatic or creative, this is how.
Hypnotic trances are wonderful. If the only way to experience one is by seeing a hypnotist, though, then that’s a shame.
But is that the case?
Or can you hypnotise yourself?
The answer is that you certainly can. This surprises some people, who view a hypnotic trance as like being asleep. That isn’t the case. If anything, hypnosis makes you hyperaware of what’s happening. The idea that you’ll forget everything is a myth.
A hypnotic trance is a way of engaging your unconscious mind. The conscious mind has its uses – it’s great at planning and predicting, for example. But it’s slow and likes simple models. If you need speed and complexity, then you’ll enter a hypnotic trance.
Have you ever zoned out while driving, only to arrive at your destination safely? Have you ever driven your usual route, such as from home to work, even though you meant to set off elsewhere? The reason is that driving needs the rapid processing of a lot of information. Your conscious mind can’t handle it.
It’s only possible to drive while in a self-hypnotic trance.
The best way to think about trance is that it’s a specific state of mind. Your states shape the way you think, act and see the world. For example, a happy state makes you open, trusting and eager to explore the world. A fear state makes you want to hide somewhere familiar.
A trance state emerges when you need to think in new ways. Can you simply choose to be in a trance? Well, yes and no. You can’t choose to be happy, but you can do things to increase your chances of happiness. Seeing pictures of puppies and thinking of fun memories will do the trick for most of us.
You can encourage a trance state in a similar way. How? By creating conditions that welcome new thoughts. You don’t need to think when there’s a tiger in front of you – action is the better choice. In other words, new thoughts are only useful when you’re safe and relaxed… but facing a problem.
Set the scene by getting comfortable and focusing your mind. More often than not, you’ll begin to think in different ways. Welcome to the trance state.
If you’re after specific techniques to hypnotise yourself, it varies from person to person. The answer that’s right for you is in my guide to self-hypnosis, which you can read all about here: