Auto Hypnosis

by | Sep 9, 2020 | Change |

change the tape

Years ago, one of my colleagues had the ability to power nap anywhere, anytime. He would get himself into a specific position and put his fingers to specific spots on his head. Within seconds he was asleep.

As someone who rarely sleeps well, I marvelled at this. And of course asked him how he did this (when he woke up!). He told me it was all about training your body and your mind. And a lot of practice. He also said that in some ways it was self-hypnosis but he didn’t like using that word because of the connotations most people associated with it.

My colleague was intentional about training his body and mind to relax and then sleep. He was a highly anxious person and this was one way he managed his anxiety. And it helped.

Most of us have sayings, beliefs that are on all day repeat in our heads. Many of them are negative thoughts about ourselves. I am not good enough. I am a terrible speaker, manager, dancer, and so on. We often forget or don’t realise is that voice in our heads. shapes how we view ourselves and the world.

Our minds seek out confirmation of the beliefs rattling around on repeat in our heads. Therefore, if the story in our heads is that people are going to hate the change we seek or be angry with us, then our minds will interpret reactions through this lens and seek out confirmation it is true. And here’s the thing, confirmation will be found. However, to find it, our mind will need to disregard the stimulus that is countering the belief.

So what can we do? Firstly, when managing change, there will always be diverse opinions. Approach reactions with that belief. Expect it.

Secondly, change the ‘tape’ that’s on repeat in your head. How? Changing the tape is hard, so be patient with yourself and embark on a ‘training’ programme. For some of us, professional help is needed. Seek it out. However, for some of us, we can attempt a bit of ‘self-hypnosis’. Before you freak out, let me explain.

We are what we repeatedly do

Attributed to Aristotle, but this is also debated.

The negative tape that is on repeat in our heads is powerful because it is on repeat. Many ancient traditions incorporate repeating phrases while focusing on breathing. These repetitions become part of our fabric of our being, reminding us of truths about ourselves. Who we are. Who we want to be. That we are loved. And so on.

It sounds strange and weird, it even sounds like snake oil, and yet it is proven to work. The more the tape changes, the more our minds seek confirmation of this in our interactions with the world. And we will find the confirmation. No, it won’t happen overnight. Change never does.

But over time it can change how we see ourselves. And that is worth it. It worked for my colleague, why not you and I?

Photo by Sage Friedman

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