In order for you to change your behaviour, you must first change your behavioural programming. Self-hypnosis allows you to change old behavioural programs into new and more positive ones. This is done through auto-suggestion. Auto-suggestion is where you implant suggestions into your subconscious using your own internal voice and language; this can be done both in and out of hypnosis. When you implant positive suggestions into your deeper mind, the old program is replaced by a new and more beneficial one. As a result, the new behavioural pattern now acts in accordance with the writing of a new program. The chosen program then remains until such time as you wish to change it.
Through self-hypnosis you have the ability to change your behavioural pattern to reflect the type of person you desire to be. The reason self-hypnosis works so effectively is that there is no intrusion of conscious thinking when you are implanting positive suggestions; it is by-passed through breathing, concentrated attention, deepening (ability to deepen the level of trance) and auto-suggestion. The subconscious does not have the ability to reason, so it simply accepts what it is told as truth, even if it is not true. Like a child, it takes everything literally, so when you tell it you are confident and relaxed, it believes it, especially when you imagine it. This process of behavioural change comes about when you allow it to happen naturally in a relaxed state of mind.
If you are going to change your present behavioural pattern, you first need to master the art of relaxing. Relaxing is different from sleeping; if you find it difficult to stay awake while practicing in the hypnotic state, you can suggest to yourself not to fall asleep. The time it takes you to relax may be longer in your first attempts at self-hypnosis, but before long, what took 15 minutes will eventually only take a few seconds. As you become skilled at relaxing, you will be able to recognize a deeply relaxed state and achieve it easily. Some people have a natural ability to let go, while others have to work harder at it. Humans are the only animals on earth who try to fall asleep; all other animals just allow themselves to fall asleep.
Trying involves effort, and effort is a conscious process that only tends to keep you awake. If you want to fall asleep you must first relax the mind and body and then allow it to happen naturally; the same goes for self-hypnosis. You must not try to move into the hypnotic state; rather you should simply allow it to happen, as hypnosis is a natural manifestation of the mind. Hypnosis happens all by itself and by relaxing the mind and body completely through breath, you can move into a trance state easily and naturally. The main thing is to take your time and use your breath well. A brand new program is in the making, so relax and enjoy making it.
Cathal O’Brian is an author, hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and hypnoanalyst.