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Using Self-Hypnosis to Reduce Stress

JoeDeSousaThis is the time of year when stress begins to spike for many people. Family conflict, custody disagreements, loneliness, financial pressures and unmet expectations can create the perfect environment for anxiety and stress. Finding ways to lower your stress and to combat the anxiety you are feeling is a necessary step to keeping you healthy through the upcoming months and events. Self-hypnosis is one method that you can use.

Self-hypnosis is the ability to lead yourself into a state of consciousness that includes a higher level of internal concentration and focus with a reduced awareness of external activities. While hypnosis has long been used as a method to achieve goals or change habits, it can also assist in increased relaxation and reducing stress.

Many individuals choose to follow a guided recording or CD that focuses on your specific goal, but you can also achieve the desired effects of your own.

Here is one technique to try:
  • Identify your goal, positive statement, visualization or affirmation. For example, “Stress is leaving my body. I choose to stay calm under pressure.”
  • Reduce distractions around you and find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take a deep, full breath in and exhale completely. Focus on slow, full breaths. Cleansing air coming in and anxiety going out. Repeat this 3-5 times.
  • Focus your attention on your feet. Let go of tension and feel your toes and feet relaxing. Now follow this pattern up to your ankles, your knees and then your thighs. Continue your slow breaths in, and then out. Relax your hips and continue up over your chest, your neck, your shoulders and then down your arms. Slowly moving from one area to the next.
  • Feel the tension slip away from your face. Letting your tongue relax, your eye lids staying softly closed and your forehead relaxing. Your face is now smooth and relaxed. Your jaw is relaxed and your teeth are not touching.
  • See your fear, anxiety, worries and stress leaving your body. The tension is slipping away, leaving your body relaxed and feeling weightless.
  • Deepen your thought and state (to yourself or out loud) your chosen affirmation. Repeat this 8-10 times, continuing to feel the stress melt away from your body and thoughts.
  • Take a deep, cleansing breath and slowly begin to move. First with your fingers and toes, and then with your legs and arms. Open your eyes. Feel the change in your body and in your mind. You may feel as if you have woken up from a long sleep or dream. You feel a sense of energy coming into your body and are left feeling refreshed and clear.

Strive to go through these steps daily or at least 3-4 times a week to begin getting used to the technique. With practice you will be able to reach a deeper level of relaxation in a shorter amount of time.

Some individuals may be more susceptible to self-hypnosis than others, but everyone can benefit from the techniques used. Achieving a state of self-hypnosis will like not occur instantly. It is something that takes time and practice. If you find that one technique, guided CD or set of affirmations is not working for you, try another. Even a slight change in approach, language or music can make a difference in how you are affected. The goal is not to force yourself into a state of relaxation, but to instead gently guide yourself to a place of calm.

Using Self-Hypnosis to Reduce Stress

Amy Bellows, PhD

Amy Bellows holds a PhD in Psychology and has had the opportunity to work in various settings including leading adolescent group therapy sessions, working with victims of sexual assault, helping woman inmates adjust to post-prison life, conducting parenting education classes and assisting with drug and alcohol dependency treatment plans. The unique challenges and opportunities that come along with being a part of a step-family is a special interest of hers. Amy is currently working in the corporate environment with a interest in group dynamics and change management. You can find her on her website, or on Twitter @AmyBellowsPhD.

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APA Reference
Bellows, A. (2015). Using Self-Hypnosis to Reduce Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Nov 2015
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