Hypnosis as a means of weight loss may sound far fetched – closing your eyes and talking helps you lose weight, yeah right. Rather, hypnosis helps you adjust attitudes and habits that keep you from living the life you want. Think about this. What do you do when something is lost? You look for it! Then, why are we looking to lose weight? There’s something wrong with that way of thinking. And yet, we can all relate. That’s why we look for weight control.
Still, you may be asking, how does this help you find weight control? Let’s start with changing that weight loss perspective, you aren’t looking to lose anything. What are you are looking to gain? To feel more comfortable in your own skin? To live a healthier lifestyle? To feel better? Think of the possibilities if you were free from feeling that food is controlling your life.
Engage me for a moment, hypnosis causes a very real physical response within the body:
I would like you to close your eyes and using that creative part of your mind—your imagination if you will—-see a lemon. Now see yourself cutting into that lemon and the juice flowing or squirting out. Now slice into it—one single slice. See yourself actually now picking that slice of lemon up and taking a big bite. What happens? Do you notice a physical response? Did you begin to salivate as you took that bite? Did you taste the sourness of the lemon? This is just one small example how the mind can affect the body. The mind is amazing! Whether you are physically engaging or engaging in thought—the same response will occur within the body.
Now that you have a better understanding of how hypnosis can help you reach that part of your mind, let’s talk about how hypnosis can help you find your goal. We realize habits in ourselves: not exercising enough, not eating well, binging on junk foods; we blame it on lack of willpower. Hypnosis helps you shift from blame to understanding. First of all, we all have a choice and it is a choice. Once you realize that, there are no excuses. Do you choose to put yourself first? If you don’t take care of yourself first and foremost, you cannot be there to take care of others. Put on your own air mask before assisting others.
Excess weight, we know, puts strain on the heart, lungs, joints and bones, decreases mobility, and in general, prevents you from living your best life. When I am talking with someone about weight control, I ask why now? What is the motivating factor? Many clients explain that they have tried everything but just can’t get there. They worry they have a lack of willpower.
Let’s talk about willpower; it’s not meant to be a long term resource. Willpower is finite and very short lived. Willpower lasts as long as you have enough sleep at night or enough glucose in your system. The more willpower you use, the less you have. Willpower lives in the conscious part of the mind. It’s also where our critical thinking is stored – our ability to analyze and problem solve. It’s also where our short-term memory is located and gives us our rationale and reasons why we think a certain way. With all that going on, the conscious part of the mind thinks it is in charge, but it’s not. While the conscious part of the mind, the subconscious is making sure you stay alive. While I write this, my subconscious makes sure I keep breathing and my eyes blink but I am not actively thinking about it. Although it is harder to type while you are thinking about it! Think about all of the processes your body is going through right now, it’s easy to get caught up but your subconscious handles all of that with ease. It keeps us safe from every kind of threat, real or imagined. There may be something there in that part of the mind that is not letting something go, afraid it may somehow occur again somehow—trying to protect us. That is just a sticking point. Hypnosis helps you work through those sticking points so you can change who is in control of your life.
Helping others to stop smoking is deeply personal to me. Both of my parents had smoked for many years. I was with them through my father’s multiple heart attacks and triple bypass surgery, having to carry oxygen with him to be able to breathe, and his lung cancer. My mother also struggled and needed oxygen due to COPD. A few years ago, she also passed from lung cancer. While I have never smoked, helping a client to stop is very close to my heart.
We all know the health risks associated with smoking. There is an entire industry devoted to smoking cessation: pills, patches, vaping, and numerous others, all focused on breaking the habit. Hypnosis focuses not on the issue, but on the solution. For this reason, it is imperative that a client is quitting for themselves rather than others. Much like smoking, quitting is a choice but it’s a choice that needs commitment. Making yourself and your health a priority is the first step to successfully stop smoking.
Hypnosis also addresses any underlying stressors that may be hindering you from quitting. Often, individuals substitute one negative habit with another such as overeating. I also ask my clients ‘why now?’ Former smokers celebrate their non-smoking birthdays, there are stories and reasons behind these. Often it is making themselves and their health a top priority. I have yet to hear of anyone who wishes they hadn’t stopped.
Every time I work with a client to become a non-smoker, I know their life will forever be changed for the better.
Stress! It seems to follow us wherever we go: traffic, work, relationships, expectations and obligations. But stress is not always negative; at times stress keeps us motivated to keep moving forward. Stress is nothing more than our body’s response to a threat, real or perceived. Our body is attempting to protect us, also known as “fight or flight” response.
There are numerous causes of stress: financial difficulties, employment, injuries and illness, a loss of some kind, emotional or personal issues, and many more. After a certain point, stress is no longer useful, but harmful. It is this type of stress that never seems to go away and seems to be in control of our lives. This is chronic stress and it can be a silent killer. Chronic stress is hard on our bodies and can lead to high blood pressure, strain on the heart, heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Our minds cannot tell the difference between an emotional stress or a physical threat. The body will react to a heated argument with someone in the same way as an actual life or death situation: redirecting blood flow in the body, increased heart rate, and a burst of energy and strength. Maintaining this level of stress over time, the body will become overloaded and unable to handle that stress. Chronic stress lowers the ability of the immune system to function properly, disrupts our digestion, and it even speeds up the aging process. It can also cause sleep difficulties, pain, weight gain and skin conditions.
With chronic stress, we may no longer be aware of the underlying stressors. I call these sticking points. These sticking points are stressors that continue to affect us on a subconscious level even though the threat has passed. These stressors when not released in a positive way can build in our bodies and make us ill.
There are many ways to alleviate stress naturally. Exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and hypnosis are all great ways to release stress in a positive manner. Hypnosis is a natural, everyday process that allows for focus and absorption. We all have the ability to change any feeling, to into something we want to feel. I see myself something like a coach. Hypnosis is not something I can do to you or for you. I will guide you to the place where change can occur. This allows you to be in the “zone”, mindful in that very moment.
Hypnosis also teaches skills. These are skills you will possess for a lifetime. Life will happen and having these skills in your toolbox will allow you to know that you have control of any situation that may arise in your life and the situation will no longer control you.
In previous blogs, I mentioned that I am certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) but I have yet to discuss the importance of this distinction, and what it means to you.
The National Guild of Hypnotists, a non-profit international organization for professional hypnotists, founded in 1951 and currently located in New Hampshire includes over 144 chapters worldwide in more than 80 countries. The NGH sets standards for the practice of Hypnotherapy and was recognized in 1993 by Congress for maintaining a high code of ethics and educational resources in the field of hypnosis. The guild was recognized again in 2013 by Deval Patrick, then Massachusetts Governor, awarded NGH with a citation for their 63rd anniversary and in 2014, Texas State Representative, Steve Stockman, recommended the NGH as one of two organizations to seek referrals for hypnosis.
National Guild of Hypnotists also holds presentations to educate public audiences on hypnosis therapy and its many uses. As well as producing certification programs, continuing education and training programs for those looking to study the field of hypnosis. To become certified through NGH, an individual is currently required to obtain a minimum of 100 hours of training and to maintain certification, the guild requires a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education credits. NGH has utilized a core curriculum since 1991, which means no matter where the individual has studied, all certified NGH members have received the same training and education. Courses include Forensic Hypnosis, Train the Trainer, Pediatric, Emergency, Sports Hypnotism, and Hypno-Coaching. Trainings continue to expand and are translated into 60 different languages.
The National Guild of Hypnotists also requires members to maintain an updated file of rules and regulations of hypnotists of the state where services are provided to ensure compliance with local laws.
The guild had previously published the Journal of Hypnotism and now publishes a bimonthly newsletter: Hypno-gram, to keep members up to date on news in the field. NGH also holds a yearly convention for its members to share with one another and grow the community of professional hypnotists, allowing for the highest quality of service for their clients.
I am proud to be a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists and I hope this blog has helped you better understand hypnosis!
I am often asked what is Hypnosis? Many only know of hypnosis from stage or television shows. Stage Hypnosis is purely for entertainment, as the hypnotist knows volunteers are there to have fun and select individuals who are outgoing and would do well with instructions to maximize entertainment experience.
Hypnosis is not mind control. As a matter of fact, the client has control at all times. Many have asked, ‘Will I bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken?’ I cannot make you do anything. Unless that is why you have come to me to do, it’s not going to occur. In fact, clinical hypnosis was utilized in the field during the Civil War as anesthetics were not available. Over time, awareness and research has grown in the field and is recognized by the National Institute of Health, Stanford University, among others.
Hypnosis is a normal, natural process that occurs within us every day. Have you traveled a route familiar to you but do not remember the details of your travels? Have you been so deeply engrossed in a movie or book that you tune out everything around you? Have you found yourself daydreaming or lost in thought? These are all examples of Hypnosis.
Hypnosis at its root is simply focus and absorption; allowing yourself to be fully present and mindful in the moment. I call this, “being in the zone.” While not a substitute to medical or mental health therapies, hypnosis supports both. Our minds are simply amazing and are capable of great things. My position is similar to that of a coach; I am here to help guide you through the process but the work and success are within you. Hypnosis is a process of accessing the subconscious portion of our minds.
Within your subconscious is every moment of your life from birth to this very moment. This is where habits, fears, phobias and emotions are stored. While on a conscious level we may not always be able to access this information. Hypnosis allows individuals to access the subconscious to process this information. An individual may appear to be asleep, conscious mind and physical body relaxed but the subconscious is aware and alert.
Clients have complete control to ask questions or even stop during a session. The stages of hypnosis and sleep are similar. You will not say or do anything you wouldn’t normally do, nor will your core values and beliefs be affected as your subconscious is always with you. It is the little voice that gives advice; the voice that reminds you of how awesome you are!
While individual experiences vary, I focus on results and assist you to find a solution to the aspects of your life that you feel are holding you back. Hypnosis is not a long-term process, but one within us. I welcome you to discuss how Hypnosis may be able to help you reach your goals.
A little over two years ago, I was in what I believe to be one of the lower points in my life, that turned into a blessing. I have worked full-time in the healthcare field for over 30 years and I found that despite my love for the field, my personal health suffered due to the stress of my position. I had previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure and increased glucose levels. Although my condition was being monitored by medical professionals, the symptoms continued despite medication. I was having headaches, bouts of dizziness, and having problems concentrating and sleeping. I noticed my blood pressure and glucose readings were higher than usual but I told myself it was just stress and kept going.
One evening, while at work, I noticed that my vision was blurry. I had numbness on one side of my body and had trouble speaking. Knowing these are signs of a possible stroke, I went to the emergency room and was seen right away. While I nervously waited the results of the CT scan, I thought to myself this isn’t just stress.
The doctor came back and told me that it had not been a stroke and there weren’t any signs of permanent damage. The relief was short lived, if it wasn’t a stroke, what could it have been? I was admitted to the hospital for several days, underwent several tests, and medical personnel monitored my blood pressure and glucose levels closely. It was determined that I had suffered from a TIA; it’s like a mini-stroke. This was a wakeup call for me. I was told that the likelihood of a full stroke was not a matter of if, but when, unless I made some life changes.
When I was discharged, I knew I needed to change how I managed stress but did not know where to begin. I needed to take control of stress. I was given a second chance and I didn’t want to waste it. I continued follow up care with my primary care practitioner, but I was looking for something more than medication. I was in search of a modality that had no side effects, but more importantly allowed me to be in control of my health.
Unsure how to make this change, I did what we all have done; I went to the internet. I searched for self-help modalities to manage stress. The results were overwhelming. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, diet, exercise, the list went on. Hypnosis popped up but I dismissed it. Hypnosis was mind-control or performance art, I told myself, there’s no way it could help. But yet, my curiosity was peaked. It couldn’t be real, right?
Days passed and I couldn’t get it out of my mind, it didn’t seem to fit with the other results. I decided to research it to satisfy my curiosity. What is it? How does it work? My online research led me to an excellent, well experienced, practitioner of Hypnosis who specialized in my needs. We had our first meeting via Skype so that I could learn more and within a week, I had scheduled my first appointment.
I was nervous. I didn’t know what exactly to expect but I was willing to give it a try. What was there to lose?
My first appointment was amazing and nothing like what I expected. I felt as though I was no longer a prisoner of stress. I honestly do not remember how many sessions we worked within, but it was only a few. I was surprised how quickly I felt relief. When the sessions ended, I knew my life would never be the same again. That is when I realized this is what I want to do for others as well.
As I have spent my life taking care of others, those experiences have allowed me to have an insight, empathy, an understanding, to better assist my clients. I am grateful for my second chance and as I have continued my work with Hypnosis, I have found that I continue to grow as an individual. I am still amazed by what our minds are capable of and find it a privilege to offer Hypnosis services locally. If you too, feel that stress is controlling your life, please give me a call. Being able to help others fills my heart with joy. It would be a pleasure to help you bring about the change in your life that you are looking for.