For the first four or five attempts you should not try to find out how deeply you have gone. It might be discouraging if you learned it was only a very light stage or none at all. Each time you practice you should slip in a little deeper. After the fifth session some tests may be made. Of course, if you are sure you are reaching a deep state after one or two attempts, you can proceed sooner with tests.
* After your deep relaxation exercise, take two or three minutes to feel heavy. In feeling heavy I you may imagine yourself as weighted down. Imagine your body is made of lead pushing you down in your seat.
* Next, take two or three minutes to feel light. Imagine how it would feel to be a feather floating around in air, or imagine you a balloon floating with each air current.
* Next, take two or three minutes to feel warm. Imagine yourself in a sauna bath or steam room or out in the sun on a very hot day. Relate to an experience you have had. Your memory and imagination will do the rest.
* Finally, take two or three minutes to feel cool. Imagine yourself in the snow or in a cold shower on a cold morning. Again, relate to physical sensation you have experienced before.
Following your four explorations of heavy, light, warm, and cool, next give yourself a few suggestions regarding how you want to think, fell, act, and react that day. If you are practicing at night, give yourself a few suggestions on how you wish to be the next day.
These exercises are a training set to help you condition your mind and body for auto-suggestions. The more you practice the better you will become. The better you become the deeper your trance will be.
Count to yourself from one to five, and at the count of five you will open your eyes; you will be fully awake and clear headed.
"One, slowly, calmly, easily, and gently returning to my full awareness once again.
TWO, each muscle and nerve in my body is loose and limp and relaxed; I feel wonderfully good.
THREE, from head to toe I'm feeling perfect in every way.
FOUR, my eyes begin to feel sparkling clear, and just as though they were bathed in cold spring water.
On the next number my eyelids will open, fully aware; I am feeling wonderfully good and clear headed.
FIVE, my eyelids are open now; take a deep breathe fill up my lungs, and stretch."
PRINCIPLES OF SUGGESTIONS
A suggestion should describe the goal desired rather than means to achieve it. The lower levels of conscious and subconscious awareness will map the way. All suggestions should be phrased in an emphatic and positive manner. Use the personal "I, "I AM", "I SHALL", or "I WILL" to lock down your intent and preset your subconscious with firm intent. Be specific as well as positive. The most powerful words in the English language are "I am". How you conclude that sentence will determine whether you will be constructive or destructive; pleasant or unpleasant; motivated to success or apathetic and listless. The completion of that sentence beginning with "I am determines your self-image.
Use positive sentences such as "I am fully confident in myself and my abilities." This etches the suggestion in your mind like your signature on a contract.
Do not phrase a suggestion "I will not doubt myself or my abilities." The subconscious "hears" the NOT and may reverse the original intent. Therefore, at all times in phrasing suggestions are sure they are worded in an emphatically positive way. For example, "I am fully self-confident at all times, in all areas and with all people," is a highly desirable state of begin and your suggestion imprints your intent into subconscious. Incorporate, too, a strong emotional reason for acceptance of the suggestion. Use your imagination to fan desire. Feel the "warm glow" of satisfaction as your enthusiasm and optimism grow. The warm glow of self-satisfaction, self-esteem, and self-worth adds emotional strength to the suggestion and acts as reinforcement and a reward.
If the suggestion is to be used repeatedly I extract a "cue-word or short phrase to identify it to your subconscious. In time it will only be necessary to use the cue word or phrase. With practice this will impart the suggestion, the image, and the warm glow to the subconscious as effectively as repeating the complete sentence or suggestion.
After becoming relaxed, the suggestion becomes the vehicle for change, while the image to see you as that person is the process. The warm glow strengths both the suggestion and image, which is responsive to reinforcement and/or reward.
First - the vehicle - make the suggestion positive.
Second - the image - see yourself as you would like to be.
Third - the warm glow - a strong feeling of self-esteem, self-satisfaction, and self-worth.
A suggestion is accepted in the mind by the virtue of concentrated attention, reversed effect or dominant effect.
Repetition of a suggestion for periods of time will result in acceptance of the suggestions. Once accepted, the mind reshapes behaviour to internalized attitude and actualizes the suggestion. This principle is utilized in "The Power of Positive Thinking. - As we are all aware, commercial advertisers employ this principle to ingrain brand names and company slogans into our minds. The magic of repetition is the very essence of concentrated attention in hypnosis.
When a suggestion is accompanied by doubtful or negative thoughts, the mind will usually react inversely to the intent of the suggestion. This often happens in the dentist's chair when we tell ourselves that it will not hurt. The result is that more pain occurs than if we had thought nothing at all. As you can see apprehension to "hurt alerts the mind to realize the experience". This is the reverse effect of a "split thought". To think nothing of the possible hurt in the dentist's chair means greater relaxation and mentally turning away the discomfort.
Therefore, since it is positive suggestion you desire, under no circumstances follow it with a negative thought or doubt or feeling that would counteract and possibly destroy your intent. Persist in (1) your suggestion, (2) the image, and (3) the warm glow, and you will eliminate the reversed effect.
When the mind is presented with more than one suggestion, the emotionally strongest suggestion will usually predominate. This does not mean that you can only give yourself one suggestion at a practice period. It simply means that the more emotionally aroused you are, either with desire or need or both, the more effectively will the suggestion register in your subconscious.
Emotions are feelings that have become intensified. When we get stirred up about some area of our life, we become emotional about it. In self-hypnosis, if you are giving yourself several suggestions for improvement, the one with the greatest emotional feeling attached to it will become more intensely and penetratingly recorded in your conscious and subconscious.
How we feel about ourselves in any given area can be used constructively in hypnosis to improve, to expand and explore. For this reason the dominant effect of the suggestions you give yourself will be determined by the priority in which you feel or are emotional about your desires, hopes, and goals. If there is a single isolated area in which you feel stronger than others. Then as you give yourself suggestions, that one will predominate. This is the dominant effect.
In conclusion, remember to allow time for the suggestions to become effective. The subconscious must go through extensive mental operations to consolidate the information given before it can respond.
To summarize- Formulating Suggestions:
1. Describe the goal and be specific.
2. Personalize with "I am- or I will.
3. Make the suggestion positive.
4. Cue an emotion.
5. Use a key phrase.
To summarize- Principles of Suggestions:
1. Concentrated attention.
2. Reversed effect.
3. Dominant effect.
4. Emotion can act as a motive (Motivated action).
5. Allow time for effective response.
In constructing suggestion, always think in the end result. Be concerned with what you do want, not what you do not want. Do not be concerned with your bad habits. Rather, concentrate on what it is that you do want in your life.
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Finally, give yourself the post-hypnotic suggestions "each and every time I hypnotize my self I relax even more easily and freely. I look forward to practicing because I enjoy it; its fun and it's good for me."