Is it time to de-stress?
If you are feeling stressed there is more than one way to tackle it; hypnosis and positive affirmations are unique methods that can help.
This blog will answer the following questions
- What is hypnosis?
- What are the benefits of hypnosis?
- What are positive affirmations?
- What are the benefits of positive affirmations?
- How can I use hypnosis and positive affirmations for change?
Hi. I’m Linda from Awaken the Change. My main mission is to help people with stress and anxiety to feel so much better, by learning to cope and enjoy life again.
Several years ago I realised that using bespoke combinations of evidence-based practices I can empower people to make positive changes in their lives.
I help people with stress and anxiety as it is such a common condition that can lead to ill health, relationship problems and work-related problems. It can also make people feel unworthy, lacking in confidence and squeeze that sparkle out of life.
One method I discovered that helps with stress and anxiety-related problems is by using hypnosis and positive affirmations together for some of my clients.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is difficult to define however it’s about a person moving into a place of focused attention when they can let go of the barriers to change, imagine and take up positive suggestions. Some people call it an altered state of consciousness.
Hypnosis is often called self-hypnosis because it’s about you allowing yourself to be guided by a hypnotherapist to change what you want to change.
People can also hypnotise themselves without a hypnotherapist but this takes practice and may not be so effective for some people. Another option of accessing hypnosis is to listen to an audio recording but they won’t be bespoke to your needs.
The American Psychological Association defines hypnosis as
n. (pl. hypnoses) the procedure, or the state induced by that procedure, in which suggestion is used to evoke changes in sensation, perception, cognition, emotion, or control over motor behavior. Subjects appear to be receptive, to varying degrees, to suggestions to act, feel, and behave differently than in an ordinary waking state. The exact nature of hypnotic suggestibility, and its possible therapeutic uses, are still being studied and debated. As a specifically psychotherapeutic intervention, hypnosis is referred to as hypnotherapy. See also altered state of consciousness; heterohypnosis; posthypnotic suggestion; self-hypnosis; waking hypnosis.
Hypnosis is relaxing so it feels pleasant when you understand it and have a good rapport and trust with the therapist.
What are the benefits of hypnosis?
- Hypnosis can help you to change thoughts, feelings and behaviours
- Hypnosis is relaxing so it helps feelings of wellbeing
- Hypnosis is safe when practised by a competent hypnotherapist (Hauser 2016)
- Hypnosis helps some medical problems
- There is an increasing body of research and evidence that shows hypnosis is effective especially for stress and anxiety (Hammond 2010).
Hypnosis can help people with:
- Fears and phobias
- Unwanted habits
- Some medical issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, pain management etc.
- Achievement in such areas as sports or learning
- Personal development. This includes building confidence and self-esteem.
- And much more.
It can be a stand-alone therapy or combined with other psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
For many people, hypnosis is all they need to change how they are thinking and feeling about something..
But I like to help people move out of the pain fast so I sometimes introduce positive affirmations that the client can practice at home or I introduce the positive affirmations in the hypnosis session.
What are positive affirmations?
Affirmations are ways that you can tell yourself to be positive. In other words, it is the self-talk that helps you to reduce perceived threats.
Positive affirmations, although similar, are different to mantras as mantras come from a religious background.
I like to use affirmations with clients who are stressed or anxious as worry is energy wasted thinking about a threat that might not happen. Using affirmations can help them focus on the positives.
2. the assertion that something exists or is true.3. something that is affirmed; a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.4. confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc.5. Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath
Positive affirmations are about valuing ourselves and believing in ourselves. It’s not about making everything in life positive because that is impossible. Rather it helps us to see a different perspective.
There is science behind affirmations, but as usual, studies are continuing.
The self-affirmation theory is a psychological theory developed by Claude Steel in the 1980s. To self affirm people need to link the positive thoughts with their values and beliefs. It’s about self-integrity and it helps to reduce stress.
Studies also show us that parts of the brain light up producing new neural pathways when we repeat positive affirmations, so we know it’s not just a placebo effect (Cascio 2016).
Positive affirmations help us ‘let go’ of the negative although this might feel difficult at first especially if there is a big gap between the current self-talk and the wanted change. So positive affirmations are not for everyone.
They are best suited to people who already want to change and are emotionally stable and able to deal with change. Some studies suggest that they are not so good for people who are suffering from low self-esteem and want to lift their mood although the way the affirmations are delivered could make a difference.
Positive affirmations can be said to ourselves or written down. But the person must choose if they want to do them or not.
Repeated use of affirmations in a meditative state can help to rewrite messages—but only if an individual is ready and willing to manifest positive change. (Gupta 2017)
However, I believe that they are also very helpful when someone is in a hypnotic state because the person is responsive to suggestions. Hypnotherapists can repeat the positive affirmations that are relevant and wanted by the client although they must fit with the client’s values.
I like also to use the words that the client has told me as I don’t want to change any positive words for something that I think they mean because words can have different meanings and relate to different experiences. Another way of looking at this is that my language must be a good fit with the client’s language.
One known disadvantage of positive affirmations is that they need to be repeated regularly however I have never worked out what regularly means and it’s probably different for different people! I suggest that people can choose to repeat the positive affirmations at home as often as they can and that could be several times in a day at first.
Where else can positive affirmations be used?
They can be used to help many things as well as stress and anxiety.
- For Weight management (See my hypnotic audio recording with affirmations)
- In education to learn
- At work to stay focused
- To boost self-confidence and self-esteem
- For creativity when you think you can’t do something
- For personal development
Examples of positive affirmations
I am calm and relaxed.
I can learn to cope.
I choose to let go of the stress and anxiety.
I am grateful for my health and family.
Even on the days, I feel I’m not achieving something, I am learning.
I believe in myself and my capabilities to succeed.
Benefits of positive affirmations
- Simple and easy to do
- Makes you feel good
- Is a way of taking control and coping
- It is an evidence-based practice
However, positive affirmations must always be framed in a positive way and are only one useful technique that you can use to assist yourself to change.
If you need further help with stress and anxiety or would like to discuss this further, please contact me for a free initial consultation.
Cascio, C. N., O’Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2016). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv136 Accessed 30.01.22
Häuser, W., Hagl, M., Schmierer, A., & Hansen, E. (2016). The Efficacy, Safety and Applications of Medical Hypnosis. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 113(17), 289–296. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2016.0289