When you find it difficult or impossible to change an unwanted habit, it often has to do with the way you relate, or communicate, with yourself. Hypnosis works because its highest goal and purpose is to help you develop a caring and compassionate relationship with your inner self. Essentially, you realize greater integration or alignment of different parts of you, inside, that may be failing to communicate because they ‘think’ they are at odds with one another.
When you feel stuck in some area of your life, it can seem as if part of you wants to change and another part does not. It may annoy or perplex you not to be open to your own suggestions.
It seems like it should be easy to stop doing something you’ve decided is harmful, such as stop binge eating or angry outbursts, or start doing something beneficial to your health, such as enjoy a lifestyle of regular exercise and nutritious food on your way to a strong, trim and fit body.
More often, this resistance means differing parts of you are in conflict.
Similar to conflict in human relationships, it also means the way one or both parties communicate is the problem. The words and approach they are using do not foster empathic listening, mutual understanding or reciprocity, and rather promote anxiety, lack of trust and reactivity instead. Thus, the essential connection each needs to gain one another’s heartfelt cooperation is absent.
Absent an empathic connection, each person likely feels confused why the other person doesn’t “see” or understand their perspective. As a consequence, both come to erroneous conclusions about one another and the situation, i.e., they may personalize the actions of the other, conclude the other is unloving or incorrigible, or perceive self as inadequate, forever unable to stop the other from getting upset or get the other to understand. Neither realizes the real problem has to do with the misguided methods they are using to matter to the other, to be heard, and so on.
Similarly, when you try to change one of your habits, the approach you use will determine the extent to which you succeed in influencing subconscious parts of you to change. Your conscious mind may want to realize a strong, trim and fit body, for example, and thus is willing to learn to enjoy healthier lifestyle habits, however, the question is whether your subconscious mind is on board.
If your efforts have been repeatedly thwarted, it’s not.
You may feel confused why you do not simply stop doing something that is unwanted or harmful, or why you don’t maintain habits that would be really beneficial. For example, you want to stop smoking or stop using disparaging put-downs when stressed, or you want to start getting up earlier, get organized or throw out clutter, yet, part of you very much opposes the realization of these goals.
Any idea that involves changes to some of your current thinking, beliefs, wants and needs, etc., are likely to be met with some resistance, particularly if the perceived emotional discomfort is greater than the perceived benefits. The sense that “part” of you resists your efforts to change tells you there is a misalignment between the objectives of your conscious mind and your “subconscious mind,” also known as unconscious, nonthinking part of the brain.
Old habits may be toxic, but they are also familiar and thus, ‘comfortable.’ Your body is hardwired to resist what is uncomfortable, and change often falls in this category. Typically, most persons do not change old stuck patterns unless the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing.
You may be wondering, “How does hypnosis work with parts that resist change?”
Hypnosis gives you tools to self-direct changes, and makes otherwise grueling processes easier. You can more easily and effortlessly transform what is uncomfortable to comfortable, even enjoyable, as you learn how to consciously shift your mind to perceived benefits.
Primarily, hypnosis helps you to develop the healthy relationship with your inner self that, for one reason or another, you have not learned to establish. It’s not a question of capability; all the equipment you need is built-in. It simply involves learning to build rapport – a sense of safety and trust – between your conscious or thinking mind and your subconscious or emotional body-mind, which is the part of you that runs your entire body, also known as the “unconscious” or “nonthinking” part of the brain.
If you’re a citizen of the Western civilization you have been conditioned by major cultural institutions – to include science – not to trust your inner self and emotions.
With hypnosis, you engage processes of awareness that make it possible to increase the communication and thus understanding between the conscious mind and subconscious mind, a striving that improves the shared sense of cooperation necessary in working together toward a common goal. In this, you come to new understandings that allow you to integrate disowned parts to increase sense of wholeness.
This largely comes about by learning how to communicate with ‘hidden’ parts of you, in a sense, wounded parts that have been neglected, shamed, wittingly or unwittingly, in early experiences in childhood. You need to communicate with compassion and respect for yourself because your subconscious mind is always listening to what you tell yourself inside. The cells of your body are always eavesdropping on the stream of thoughts that flow in your mind.
Simply put, words are very powerful because they are loaded with emotional meanings that shape our life and behaviors. Emotional meanings are felt in your body and are expressed non-verbally – for example: tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, body posture. Emotions are the language of your body. It understands two primary emotions, one that overall relaxes and creates feel-good sensations, and one that overall stresses and produces feel-bad sensations, respectively, varying degrees of either love- or fear-based emotional states.
Awareness is key. In the process of accepting all of your self, you develop your awareness and connection to your thoughts, feelings, wants, yearnings and so on, essential in expressing who you are and the gifts you bring.
You need a conscious awareness of what you tell yourself in your mind, your self-talk. You also need an awareness of any limiting beliefs you may hold, since these can form the basis of problematic self-talk. Additionally, you need an awareness of how to communicate with yourself that conveys respect, empathy and compassion, a conscious process of caring and nurturing of your self, mind and body.
When you are in a relaxed state of mind, your brain is in ‘learning mode’ and the systems of your body are in open communication with one another. In contrast, when you are anxious, your body is at risk of triggering your brain’s ‘protective mode’ in which communication is severely limited to that which is essential to that which ensures your survival. Notably, your body handles threats to your physical survival, i.e., a tiger in the jungle, in the same way as threats to your emotional, i.e., a critical comment from a parent or spouse.
Essentially, all emotional healing involves learning a nurturing, responsive way to communicate with yourself, realizing also that there is a direct connection between how you communicate to yourself and how you communicate to others. The words you use and the emotional resonance with which you deliver them can accordingly empower healing or more stuckness in old patterns.
Hypnosis allows all parts of your mind and body to remain in communication, and thus to work together toward the same goals and vision, even when you face triggering situations that would normally activate high stress for you. These triggering events are associated with wounded parts of self, perhaps parts that were neglected, shamed or denounced in early childhood experiences, which you learned to disown or repress as a way to literally help you survive periods in your life when your physical survival literally depended on your emotional survival. At the time, you needed ways to release the ‘safety and love’ hormone oxytocin, and thus had to repress parts of you that seemed to threaten your level of ‘safety and love’ in relation to caregivers.
By rewriting or reconfiguring these early experiences to create a new way of experiencing your past and present, you allow integration to take place, to achieve wholeness and authenticity. It is only by learning to genuinely accept all parts of you that healing and integration of any disowned, hated or rejected parts of us occurs. We feel authentic as our entire self, our thoughts, feelings, wants, yearnings and behaviors are more and more aligned in the direction of our goals. A relationship of trust develops that brings us increased sense of honest, balance, and presence in our lives.
This brings you an increased sense of honesty, balance, and presence to life in and around you. The goal and purpose of hypnosis is to experience greater integration of self, heart and mind and body.
Ultimately, hypnosis is one of the fastest, easiest ways to form a working, healing and caring authentic relationship with your self and life around you.