Taming the Beast - Article 3 of 3 Dialing down the volume using hypnosis and meditation
Welcome to article three in my new series - Taming the Beast.
The articles in the series are excerpts from my booklet, Taming the Beast, the Little Book of Stress Management (availble in my bookstore on Lulu.com). Follow along as we look at ways to make your life a little smoother, calmer and more relaxed.
Dialing down the alarm
In the first two articles, we examined the drivers of stress, what makes the problem worse in your life. Then we examined different ways to reduce stress factors in your life. In this article, we examine ways in which we can use hypnosis and guided meditation to directly reduce your levels of stress. We will further examine ways we can replace that stress with relaxation.
The loudest and most troubling element of the stress response is the emotion reaction that often accompanies stressful events. It is like the alarm bell within your mind. Like the claxon on the battleship, the alarm can be deafening. And each time it sounds, your body prepares for battle. So, one of the simplest ways to relieve stress is to dial down the volume of the alarm bells. By reducing the volume, it allows your mind to cope a little better. It gives you time to think, to work out the solution without the accompanying fear.
Here is a little trick I have found useful to bring down the alarm bells in the mind. At a time in which you feel stress, I invite you to do the following:
- While in the stressful situation, picture some kind of a volume knob or dimmer switch.
- Turn the knob ever so slightly and picture your stress level changing. First turn it up, just a little bit. Then turn it down slightly. Each time, picture your stress level changing in response.
- Now dial down the volume a little more and imagine your stress level decreasing even more. Continue this as far as you wish and let the feelings decrease to a more comfortable level.
- Each time you use this little trick, as the feelings decrease, touch a finger to your thumb. This can serve as a reminder to your subconscious that it can reduce the volume of the alarms.
In hypnosis terminology, this technique of touching your fingers together is known as an anchor. When the brain detects such an input, the anchor, it can remind the subconscious of an associated feeling or action. In this case, we are associating the finger touch with reducing the alarm level. This offers us a powerful tool to trigger the healing response, allowing you to reduce the noise level of that moment as needed.
As you repeat this technique multiple times, your subconscious mind may learn to associate stress relief with that finger-to-the-thumb reminder, turning the stress response to a relaxation response. As with any learned technique, practice makes perfect. The more you use it, the more effective it becomes until, at some point, it might even become automatic, with cues in the world triggering you to touch your finger to your thumb and dial down the volume on your own.
Turning Stress into Confidence
Another way to relieve stress is to remember on cue, a moment of strength innate within you, and then to replace stress with calm and confidence. Regardless of your present life circumstances, you most likely had some moment in which you succeeded, achieved a goal, felt confident and secure. Even if at the moment, those times might seem few and far between, deep within your mind, you have the ability to recall those positive feelings. So here is another little trick I’ve learned over my years as a hypnotist:
- Pretend that you are back at a positive moment.
- Take a moment to remember what it was like. Recall the emotions. How did it feel? What it was like to experience that successful time and place?
- Just like in the previous exercise, you can once again touch your finger to your thumb. This will associate your memory of that moment with the finger touch – again using our good friend, the anchor.
- Rub the finger against your thumb slightly and let the intensity of the feeling in your finger tip increase. Allow the feeling of calm and confidence to deepen similarly.
- Repeat this little trick as often as needed, training your subconscious mind to associate the two, the touch stimulus and the positive emotion.
- Now let’s imagine that we’re back in a stressful situation and put our subconscious anchors to use. Picture a moment of stress, perhaps when you had that all-important speech, or perhaps a confrontation with your boss. Or maybe a project deadline was approaching. Whatever the case may be, as you recall the moment you begin to feel the pressure. Stress builds up and you again feel that familiar sensation of concern rising within you.
- At the point in which you begin to feel the mounting stress, again touch your finger to your thumb, suddenly recalling the positive emotions you previously captured.
- Picture the less-confident emotions instantly turning into the positive ones. As if by magic, you can begin to recall the calm, secure, confident feelings you had at your moment(s) of success.
- Again rub the fingertip against your thumb and feel the sense of calm and confidence deepen.
Repeat this trick as often as needed, training your subconscious mind to associate the finger touch and the positive emotion. In doing this, we are reminding the subconscious of the confidence you felt at that earlier positive moment. Yes, you can succeed. You can do it because you did do it.
Taming the beast
The techniques described above are just two of many ways to bring relief from stress. There are many other techniques within meditation and hypnotherapy by which we can tame the beast.
One such additional way is to find the programming, the associations of the events in your life and the corresponding stress responses you experience. The first step is to ask yourself, does this reaction feel familiar? Have you felt this way before, perhaps sometime earlier in life?
Just as when, during a daydream, you might have lost yourself within your memory. Using hypnosis we can recreate that daydream state and return to the memory of an earlier time in which this association began. We can then use the healing technique above, re-invoking the positive emotion anchor we used earlier, to disconnect the negative associations. In effect, we can turn off the programming.
By finding the right event in your memory, it may be possible to greatly reduce the stress reaction you initially felt, perhaps even stop it entirely. And when this happens, it is as if someone lifted a heavy weight from your shoulders. Fear turns to freedom. Darkness turns to light.
Often, during my hypnotherapy sessions with clients, when this deep subconscious healing happens, I see the client’s shoulders square up. I see the person sit higher in the chair, taking a deep relaxed breath – maybe for the first time in years. It is a joy to behold, and an even greater joy to experience for yourself.When the client emerges from hypnosis, he/she feels far happier, far more confident. At least for the moment, they have tamed the wild stress beast within. They have set aside the burden and become free.
Summary and beyond
In this brief series, we have looked the stress monster in the eye. We have discussed ways to help tame the beast and hopefully, to bring peace and calm to your life. In the references at the end are some materials I have found useful in managing stress, both for myself and in helping others.
I invite you to try out one or more of the techniques we examined in this booklet. Use them repeatedly and allow yourself to notice the changes. Like any skill, your results will improve with use, so you can feel better regardless of the level of success the first time you use it. Practice makes perfect.
In addition, I have found hypnosis and hypnotherapy to be a powerful tool for relief and healing. I invite you to look through the information available with these references. If you wish, please feel free to contact myself, another hypnotist/hypnotherapist or any physical/mental health professional. Please also feel free to check out my own website, Explore with Hypnosis,[i] or view my self-hypnosis CDs and downloads on-line at The Hypnosis Store. Let me know how any of these work for you.
You can also contact me or call me at the address below: Craig R. Lang, Certified Hypnotherapist Minneapolis, MN 612-888-4976(HYPN) e-mail: email@example.com www.explore-with-hypnosis.com
I wish you the best of luck, smooth sailing and a safe journey down the path of life.
I also invite you to visit The Hypnosis Store at www.hypnosis-storefront.com for the latest in self-hypnosis CDs and MP3 downloads to help you boost self-confidence,reduce stress and improve your quality of life.