A man with a long chained pocket watch swims in and out of focus, saying “You are feeling sleeeepy…. You shall obey me. You will do as I say… when I count to three.. you will fall asleep.. 1..2..3!” Usually, this also follows the hypnotised person doing something funny like duck walking, or acting like a cat.
Does this situation ring a bell? At one point or another, we’ve come across the mention of hypnosis or hypnotism, and we’ve seen something ridiculous as this, either on stage, or in a TV show (chances are, we’ve seen a stage show on TV), where someone is being “mind-controlled” and bent to the will of the creepy man with a deep voice and a pocket watch.
What is Hypnosis?
But that’s not really what hypnosis is! Let’s learn a little about hypnosis. By definition, hypnosis is a state of human consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness and an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion. A person in a state of hypnosis is relaxed, has focused attention, and has increased suggestibility. The person can concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory, while blocking out sources of distraction.
Thus, the subject under hypnosis isn’t a zombie like slave to the will of the pocket watch master. In fact, the subject is hyper attentive, and does have free will, although, they are also highly suggestible compared to what they would be in their normal state.
How Hypnosis Works?
Studies show that hypnotism is simply a way to access the subconscious mind directly, thereby inducing trance state of heightened awareness and suggestibility. Although the methods to achieve this are varied, they all depend on a few basic prerequisites:
- The subject must want to* be hypnotized. (* not necessarily aware of being hypnotised)
- The subject must believe he or she can be hypnotized.
- The subject must eventually feel comfortable and relaxed.
The most common Methods of Hypnotism
- Fixed-gaze Induction or Eye Fixation – This brings us back to the pocket watch. In this method, the hypnotist usually induces the trance state in a subject by getting them to focus their attention on a single object.
- Rapid Command – This method is most commonly used on stage, where the subject is overloaded with firm commands, and they obey if the hypnotist is convincing enough.
- Progressive Relaxation – This method is mostly used by psychiatrists. The hypnotist uses a soft, relaxing and soothing voice to lull the subject into a relaxed state, and gradually, into a trance state. This is also the method used in self-hypnosis, and relaxation meditation.
- Loss of Balance – This method creates a loss of equilibrium using slow, rhythmic rocking. Most commonly used by parents to put babies to sleep.
Where it is used?
Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviours or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain. It’s important to know that although you’re more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you don’t lose control over your behaviour.
Most commonly, hypnosis is used to
- Help Alleviate Pain – Hypnosis is widely used to treat pain associated with headaches, toothaches and even pain related to cancer treatments.
- Change Undesired Behaviour – Hypnosis is used with some success in getting rid of addictive behaviours and problems like smoking, drinking, insomnia, bed-wetting, etc.
- Entertain People – This is where the creepy pocket watch man actually comes from. On-stage entertainment is what his forte is!
Did you know that you can Hypnosis yourself? It’s called self-hypnosis. Look it up and see what you can make yourself do!
Read 12 Interesting Facts about Hypnotism here http://mocomi.com/hypnotism/