How to Significantly Reduce Stress in Less than Two Months.
Are you seeking to reduce stress in your life? A recent study looked at reducing stress and increasing mindfulness using mindful hypnotherapy. The researchers found that eight one-hour sessions and regular use of meditation recordings at home resulted in significant and large decreases in perceived distress and an increase in mindfulness.
Stress and anxiety are similar states of mind. Stress is considered the response to a threat and anxiety the reaction to the stress. To learn more about the process within the body when you are feeling anxious please read my blog post on meditation for anxiety.
The physical feelings you will be experiencing with stress or anxiety are as follows. If you are unsure you can take a quick test here to see whether what you are feeling is anxiety.
- Rapid shallow breathing
- Pounding heart
- Irritability / headaches
- Increase in blood pressure
- Muscle aches
Hypnosis & Mindfulness Together
Due to their phenomenological and physiological overlap hypnosis and mindfulness work exceedingly well together. Mindfulness targets a shift in the relationship towards experience, and hypnosis creates a shift in the experience.
Mindful hypnotherapy is, “an intervention that intentionally uses hypnosis (hypnotic induction and suggestion) to integrate mindfulness for personal and therapeutic benefit” (Elkins & Olendzki, 2019)
As explained in my blog describing the difference between hypnosis and meditation, found here. Hypnotic induction achieves focus and an openness to suggestion. Consequently, by incorporating various techniques the hypnotist can include the intention of a mindfulness experience. This combination of techniques can give you the outcome you seek more quickly.
If you want to begin your mindful hypnosis journey today you can start at home by following this simple technique that will help you to reconnect your mind and body. Find acceptance for your feelings and let go of the fight against them.
A Technique to Reduce Stress.
- Take yourself somewhere quiet with no disturbances, and rest comfortably.
- If you have a time restriction set yourself a timer in case you fall asleep.
- Close your eyes and use one of the meditation techniques to take yourself to the meditative state of mind. A favourite of mine is the progressive relaxation. I slowly take myself through each part of my body from the head down. It works well for me to ‘switch off’ each part of my body. Other people prefer to actively tense and relax the muscles. If meditation is new to you, you can practise the meditation techniques a few times before adding in the hypnosis technique.
- When you are in your focused state of meditation, or hypnosis think of an emotion you have been experiencing recently.
- Consider where you feel that emotion in your body.
- Use your imagine to visualise that emotion into a shape or an object.
- What characteristics does your shape or object have? Think about its colour, texture, weight, size. In your mind’s eye make it as vivid as you can.
- Allow the shape or object to be present in your body. Does anything change when you accept it?
- Does it travel to other parts of your body or does it remain in the same place?
- Spend as much time as you need exploring this feeling and the physical item you imagine it to be.
- When you feel at ease with your body and the experience you have had you can bring your focus back to your body
- As you switched your body off, or relaxed it you can bring awareness back to each part
- When you feel more alert slowly open your eyes and take enough time as you need to come back to full alertness
An aspect of living mindfully is acceptance. This alone can reduce stress. Acceptance of feelings means allowing them to be present as you live in the moment. Those who live mindfully do not focus on the past. Neither do they focus on the ‘what ifs’ of the future. Mindfulness does not mean that you cannot plan. Rather, that future planning involves a consideration of the present with ‘how’ questions instead of ‘what’ questions.
When you turn your emotional feeling into a shape or an object you can separate it from your identity. It becomes something you are feeling at the moment opposed to something that you ‘are’. You can do the same exercise with physical feelings.
Hypnotherapy alone can be a solution focused therapy with a goal in mind. Therefore, if you would prefer to use this technique without a mindfulness base you can manipulate the feeling for positive change. Using visualisations, you can imagine yourself removing the shape or object from your body and throwing it into an imaginary fire. Using the power of your imagination to reduce stress gives you the ability to do anything you wish.