Try Self-Hypnosis to Fight Stress

Self-hypnosis is the process of directing yourself into a deep state of relaxation and suggestibility. Similar to classical hypnosis, this method allows you to "program" your unconscious mind with suggestions to help you experience fewer stress symptoms, sleep better, stop smoking, or to achieve other goals or improvements in your lifestyle. 

Self-hypnosis has been used successfully in a number of situations, including:

  • sports psychology

  • stress control

  • smoking cessation

  • weight loss

  • childbirth

  • stage fright

  • fear of flying and other phobias

Before you try out self-hypnosis, decide what suggestions or ideas you would like to impart during the procedure. Try to crystallize these into a short verbal phrase or word. Examples might be "I don't need to smoke," "eat healthily," or " I am calm and relaxed." Alternatively you can embed the idea of becoming relaxed upon hearing or thinking of a specific word.

The basic steps in self-hypnosis are as follows:

  1. Make yourself comfortable, sitting or lying, in a place free of distractions (once you've mastered the technique, you can practice it in many varied places and situations, but a comfortable environment is best for the learning phase).

  2. Begin to relax - close your eyes and imagine "waves" of relaxation flowing through your body. Pay attention to specific muscle groups and concentrate on relaxing them, group by group. Think of stress as "flowing out" of your body. You may also try this step by fixing your gaze at a specific point on the wall.

  3. Allow the relaxation to deepen - tell yourself that you are becoming more and more relaxed.

  4. Begin to focus on the suggestions you've previously chosen and "embed" them into your mind.

If you're having trouble, there are hundreds of books, training sessions, tapes, workshops, and counselors to assist in learning self-hypnosis.

For more information: is a guide to the practice of hypnosis, including books and resources on hypnotherapy.

The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis provides information related to medical and scientific studies on the use of hypnotherapy.