Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Meditation vs. Self-Hypnosis

By Myrene Dickinson B.S., M.A., C.Ht

You are probably wondering what is the difference between meditation and self-hypnosis.  Both exercises, if done correctly, help us deal with stress, anxiety, and putting things into perspective.  In most cases meditation and self-hypnosis give our minds a sense of selflessness since the less baggage we carry around, the more attentive we can be to the world outside ourselves.

Both practices require us to find a comfortable, quiet spot and practice mindful, slow, and deep breathing.  We will obtain maximum benefits in both practices if we can remain in the total stillness of mind and body.   That requires looking into our inner-being and allowing thoughts to come into our minds while we quickly sweep them aside using imagery. 

When we meditate, we perceive the present for what it is.  We silence our minds by being attentive to our breathing and surroundings.  We live in the moment and observe the reality of our environment and circumstances.  We don’t try to target specific issues when we meditate; we view in our minds the wholeness of our lives.  Meditation anchors us to earth, helps us discriminate between good and bad, and keeps us grounded. 

Similarly, self-hypnosis requires mindful breathing to help us achieve maximum relaxation or a trance-like state of mind.  As opposed to meditation, the intention of self-hypnosis is to target certain emotions; there is a purpose or ulterior motive for this practice.  A Hypnotherapist uses affirmations, imagery, and visualization to create an altered state of mind. As we achieve this total relaxation, we are more suggestible and hence, find it possible for hypnotherapy to solve issues by conditioning our subconscious and altering our mental state.

Both practices have been found to be effective in controlling mental-health issues and general ailments.  Self-hypnosis targets behaviors such as addictions, weight management, pain, smoking cessation, and many more issues that in combination with mainstream therapies, effectively enhance positive outcomes. 

*Self-hypnosis does not take the place of in-person therapy and should only be used as a reinforcer to conventional therapies. 

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