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“Are you going to make me bark like a dog, or quack like a duck?”
As a hypnotherapist, I hear comments like this all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already jumped to a conclusion about hypnosis yourself. Perhaps you’re convinced it’s woo-hoo, voodoo, and a bunch of hoopla wrapped together to entertain crowds at the county fair.
Technically, you wouldn’t be wrong…people have used the skill of hypnosis to entertain crowds. Mainstream media loves to drive our imagination wild with outrageous storylines. Have you seen the movie, Get Out? Makes you think twice about drinking tea with anyone. These exaggerated fiction tales make us leery. It’s no wonder most people stay away from hypnosis. Plus it’s our brain’s job to keep us away from the unknown and otherwise seemingly dangerous. We don’t like things we don’t understand. But, it’s also a part of human nature to question what seems invalid. It’s good to question, research, investigate, and come to your own educated decision.
The thing is, hypnosis has been studied and researched extensively for decades. Award-winning doctor Dr. David Siegel, was exposed to hypnotherapy by his father—a psychiatrist and trained Freudian analyst who first experienced hypnosis in World War II to provide aid to soldiers and offer an alternative to anesthesia. The golden child of hypnosis research, Dr. Spiegel is the Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and the Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. He’s legit. He’s even talked with the Dalai Lama about how hypnosis relieves pain and depression in cancer patients and how “feelings lead to healing. ”Hypnosis has also been studied and utilized by well-known psychologists like Carl Jung.
Hypnosis is more than just some weird county-fairground trick. I often describe hypnosis as meditation with a goal while harnessing the power of a mind-body connection.
Hypnosis is the act of guiding someone into a state of trance to bring the mind and body into absolute agreement. Although each hypnotherapist may describe trance differently, they can agree on a few key qualities. Trance includes a deep state of relaxation, hyper-focus or intentional concentration, and openness or increased suggestibility.
A stage hypnotist makes suggestions to evoke an external response from the hypnotized volunteers, to entertain the crowd. A hypnotherapist’s suggestions are intended to create internal changes within the client. The stage bunch is open to performing simple tasks (laughing until you cry, dancing like nobody's watching, etc.) that they otherwise would allow themselves to do in their normal day to day life. They are open to it, the hypnotist suggests it, and in a deeply relaxed state, they react accordingly. “They are not thinking about themselves doing it, they’re just doing it.” It truly is that simple.
If it sounds too simple, it’s because it is. The truth is, most of us go in and out of trance every day, multiple times a day. It happens when you’re very relaxed or very focused and can feel similar to a daydream like state. Have you ever completely zoned out on your way to work and couldn’t recall how you got there? Could you, without a doubt, retrace every red light, stop sign, or right turn you made? No? It’s because you were in trance.
The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state for a specific reason or goal: healing, pain relief, stress relief, fear of public speaking, or increasing self-esteem, to name a few. The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
Hypnotherapy allows us to communicate directly with the subconscious mind, while letting you be in the driver's seat. The subconscious mind is the part of the brain that is on autopilot, running in the background, a reservoir that holds your ideas, beliefs, and perceptions. The interesting thing is that ninety-five percent of the time, we’re totally unaware of what’s running in the subconscious mind.
Imagine your mind is like an iPod. When you first get it, there are no programs to run or songs to play; you have to download them first. The mind at birth is like a brand new iPod, ready to download. From birth to about eight years old, your brain is in a theta brain wave, simply recording or downloading.
Theta is the brain wave we experience during trance and the same brain wave we desire in hypnotherapy. During these first eight years of life, each person is recording the world around him or her and loading the “programs” that we use for the rest of our lives—downloaded and stored in the subconscious mind. These programs are downloaded into our subconscious mind and run in the back of our mind forever. Just like an iPod, we can skip the song or program altogether, but it’s only a matter of time before it comes up again.
The purpose of hypnotherapy is to rewrite those old songs (or programs) you’re tired of and want to skip. When you’re deeply relaxed, open to suggestion, and truly desire that specific goal or outcome in your life, you allow that program to be overwritten. Hypnotherapy can reduce stress, anxiety, or aid you in reaching your specifically desired goals to enhance your life.
If you’re new to hypnotherapy, curious, or want to want to try it out for yourself, download this free deep hypno-meditation.
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.