Hypnosis is something I have been mildly interested in since I worked in a comedy club back when I was in college. At the club one of our regular performers was a guy named J. Medicine Hat – a stage hypnotist. He created ridiculous spectacles on-stage ranging from the typical “human acting like a farm chicken” to the more extreme “adult show” where things happened that aren’t necessarily designed for this professional forum.
That is what most people think of when they think of hypnosis. People do not realize that hypnosis, or “trance,” is a regular part of your everyday life. Think of hopping on an elevator, hitting the button of your floor and then glazing over while your elevator takes you to your destination – awakening you with the jolt of the elevator and a simple “ding.” Or maybe your routine drive to work where you know the route by “muscle memory” and you zone out lost in your favorite song or podcast. On that drive you are not consciously thinking about every turn you are making. You just drive. Even binge-watching your favorite Netflix show is a type of trance. Why do you think you feel uncomfortable, maybe even stressed, when you a watch a suspenseful show like Ozark?
Hypnosis is mostly just about shifting the focus of your attention and subtle suggestions. For example, if I talk about how people’s conscious minds, while they are sitting, do not feel their feet on the floor. The overwhelming majority of you who just read that sentence will distinctly feel your feet on the floor.
Imagine now if you are reading an influx of news articles and social media shares saying things like, “during quarantine people often feel anxious, nervous, or socially isolated.” How long will it take for you to start taking the suggestion? To start feeling "anxious, nervous, or socially isolated"? Even though the article was just talking about the nameless people in quarantine, your brain (without your permission) will make the jump for you. You are the person who is in quarantine. And you now hold these feelings.
Think about the reverse. Perhaps at some point in your life, you listened to a motivational speaker or heard an inspiring story and applied the lesson to your own life even though their exact challenges were not your exact challenges. Taking stories about others and applying them to yourself is the natural response of the brain and why all this discussion about all the negative emotions we are supposed to be feeling might have the opposite effect of what they are supposed to be having.
Take for example this article from Psychology Today:
It’s OK to be afraid. If not for our fear, we’d live recklessly.
While I am certain this author has good intentions, she has constructed a scenario where it is impossible to NOT be anxious. She even gave us three choices of who we could be and all of them lead to the inevitable reality that YOU are anxious. And once they give you your new pathology, they can get you help in their paid listings:
Understanding and empathizing is an amazing benefit to the world. It is amazing to see people put themselves out there and connect with people through their struggles. My goal for you is to make sure that you have power over your mind as you consume everything the media (which now also includes your friends and business contacts) is feeding you – OR to get you to tend to the garden of your mind by getting rid of the weeds that may be overrunning the things that you actually want to grow.
“Mental health” is the most important thing in your life. It will benefit you to not default to the standard position of the media. People who can practice controlling their own focus will have a happier life than those who do not.
Today, get out a piece of paper and write down the different feelings you have experienced: happiness, sadness, anxiety, excitement, overwhelm, etc. Write down what happened immediately preceding and during that state. What were you focusing on? What were you reading or listening to? What were you doing with your body? This simple activity will give you a blueprint for how you experience your emotions and thus the world – a tool that will help you immensely as you work towards the life that you want.
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: