Self-hypnosis is a fascinating and empowering tool that individuals can use to improve various aspects of their lives, from mental health issues to physical pain management. It’s a practice where one induces a hypnotic state, often similar to a meditative state, to achieve specific personal goals in a highly focused and relaxed state.

Understanding Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis involves entering a state of deep relaxation and heightened awareness, where the subconscious mind becomes more receptive to positive changes. This state is often achieved through different relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly and focusing on a particular point or mental imagery.

Learning and Practicing Self-Hypnosis

To practice self-hypnosis, you don’t necessarily need a trained hypnotherapist. However, initial guidance from a professional hypnotherapist can be beneficial. Self-hypnosis training often includes learning to become self-aware and use mental imagery in the present tense to promote positive changes.

Techniques of Self-Hypnosis

Relaxation Techniques: Begin by finding a quiet room, sit or lie down comfortably, and start breathing slowly. Focus on each breath and allow your body to relax deeply.

Mental Imagery: Visualise a peaceful scene, like floating in a hot air balloon. This imagery can help your mind transition into a relaxed and highly focused state.

Post-Hypnotic Suggestions: Use positive affirmations or suggestions. For example, if you’re aiming to promote weight loss, you might tell yourself about choosing healthy meals consistently.

Applications of Self-Hypnosis

Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Self-hypnosis can be a powerful tool to reduce stress. By entering a relaxed state, you can calm your mind and find inner peace.

Pain Management: Clinical and experimental hypnosis have shown promising results in managing physical pain. Through self-hypnosis, individuals can learn to control and reduce their perception of pain.

Improving Sleep: For those suffering from sleep disorders, self-hypnosis can be used to induce a state conducive to sleeping peacefully. It can improve sleep outcomes by helping the mind and body relax before bedtime.

Smoking Cessation and Weight Loss: Self-hypnosis has been used effectively for smoking cessation and to promote weight loss. Hypnotic suggestions aimed at altering habits and behaviours can be highly beneficial in these areas.

Boosting Self-Esteem and Confidence: Regular self-hypnosis sessions can significantly improve self-esteem and self-confidence. Speaking confidently or feeling more in control are often outcomes of consistent practice.

The Science Behind Self-Hypnosis

While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of self-hypnosis, there is scientific evidence supporting its benefits. Clinical hypnosis, which is similar but conducted by a professional, has been reviewed in systematic reviews and international journals, showing positive outcomes in areas like stress reduction and mental health.

Getting Started with Self-Hypnosis

Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve through self-hypnosis, whether it’s to stop smoking, manage pain, or simply reduce stress.

Learn the Basics: You can learn self-hypnosis through books, online resources, or by attending a self-hypnosis training program.

Regular Practice: Like any skill, self-hypnosis requires regular practice. Dedicate a few minutes each day to practice and refine your technique.

Detailed Techniques of Self-Hypnosis

Practising self-hypnosis involves a series of steps and techniques designed to guide you into a deeply relaxed and focused state. Here’s an expanded guide on how to perform each technique effectively.

Preparing for Self-Hypnosis

Find a Quiet Space: Choose a room where you won’t be disturbed. It should be comfortable and free from external distractions.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere: Dim the lights, or use soft lighting. Some people find gentle, ambient music or white noise helpful.

Comfortable Position: Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. Make sure your body is supported so you can relax fully without holding any tension.

Relaxation Techniques

Start with Deep Breathing: Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale through your mouth. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Starting from your toes, tense each muscle group for a few seconds and then relax it. Gradually work up to your head, tensing and relaxing each part of your body.

Mindfulness of the Body: Pay attention to how your body feels. Notice any areas of tension and consciously relax them.

Use of a Focus Point: Pick a point in your mental imagery or in the room (if your eyes are open) to focus on. This can help in maintaining concentration.

Mental Imagery

Visualise a Calming Scene: Imagine a scene that’s peaceful for you. It could be floating in a hot air balloon, lying on a beach, or sitting in a lush forest. Engage all your senses in this visualisation. What do you see, hear, and feel?

Deepen the Visualisation: As you become more engrossed in this scene, allow yourself to feel the sensations of relaxation and peace. Imagine the stress leaving your body with each exhale.

Transition into a Hypnotic State: Let this visualisation lead you into a deeper state of relaxation. Your body should feel heavy and relaxed, your mind clear and focused.

Post-Hypnotic Suggestions

Prepare Your Affirmations: Think of affirmations that align with your goals. For weight loss, it could be, “I enjoy eating healthy meals,” or “I listen to my body and eat only until I’m satisfied.”

Repeat Affirmations in the Present Tense: Use the present tense to make these affirmations. For example, “I am confident and strong,” or “I am in control of my cravings.”

Integrate Emotion and Belief: As you repeat these affirmations, really feel and believe in them. The emotional and mental investment in these suggestions is crucial for them to take effect.

Visualise the Change: Imagine yourself acting out these affirmations. If your goal is confidence, visualise yourself speaking confidently in a meeting.

Concluding the Session

Gradually Return to Full Awareness: Don’t rush out of your hypnotic state. Slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch your muscles, and when you feel ready, open your eyes.

Reflect on the Experience: Take a moment to think about the session. How do you feel? What thoughts came up?

Regular Practice: Consistency is key. The more you practice self-hypnosis, the more natural and effective it becomes.

Post-Session Activities

Journaling: Write down your experiences and any insights you gained during your session. This can help you track your progress.

Mindful Activities: Engage in activities that keep you in a relaxed state, such as gentle yoga or a walk in nature.

Remember, self-hypnosis is a skill that develops over time. Be patient with yourself, and don’t get discouraged if it takes several attempts to feel comfortable with the process. With practice, you’ll find that you can enter a hypnotic state more easily and start to see significant changes in your life.


Self-hypnosis is a valuable skill that taps into your own power and innate skills to make positive changes. Whether it’s to manage pain, improve mental health, or work towards self-improvement, the practice of self-hypnosis offers a route to a more focused, relaxed, and empowered life. Remember, while self-hypnosis is powerful, it is not a substitute for professional medical or psychological treatment when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is self-hypnosis and how does it differ from clinical hypnosis?

Self-hypnosis is a process where you induce a hypnotic state by yourself to achieve specific goals, such as stress reduction or self-improvement. It's different from clinical hypnosis, which is performed by a trained hypnotherapist. While clinical hypnosis is often used for more complex psychological treatment, self-hypnosis is more about personal empowerment and self-managed change.

How can I learn self-hypnosis?

You can learn self-hypnosis through various resources, including self-hypnosis training programs, books, or online guides. Initially, guided self-hypnosis sessions led by a professional hypnotherapist can help you understand the process and techniques involved.

Can self-hypnosis help with smoking cessation and weight loss?

Yes, self-hypnosis can be an effective tool for smoking cessation and promoting weight loss. By using hypnotic suggestions focused on changing your habits and mindset, you can tackle the psychological aspects of these challenges.

What are some common self-hypnosis techniques?

Key self-hypnosis techniques include deep relaxation, mental imagery, and post-hypnotic suggestions. These techniques help you enter a relaxed state, focus your mind on positive changes, and reinforce your goals.

How do I induce self-hypnosis?

To induce self-hypnosis, find a quiet room and get into a comfortable position. Start with relaxation techniques like breathing slowly and progressively relaxing each muscle group. Once relaxed, use mental imagery to enter a deeper state of concentration.

What can I do if I fall asleep during self-hypnosis?

Falling asleep during self-hypnosis is common, especially for beginners. To avoid this, remain seated instead of lying down and focus on maintaining awareness of your thoughts and body. If sleepiness persists, consider practising self-hypnosis at times when you are more alert.

Is there scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of self-hypnosis?

Yes, there is growing scientific evidence supporting self-hypnosis, especially in areas like pain management, stress reduction, and improving sleep outcomes. More research, including systematic reviews and studies in international journals, is ongoing to fully understand its benefits.

How can self-hypnosis aid in pain management?

Self-hypnosis can help manage pain by altering the perception of pain signals in the brain. Through hypnotic suggestions and mental imagery, you can learn to reduce the intensity of pain or divert attention away from it.

Are there any risks associated with practising self-hypnosis?

Self-hypnosis is generally considered safe. However, it's not a substitute for professional medical treatment. People with severe mental health issues or those experiencing deep psychological trauma should consult a professional hypnotherapist or healthcare provider.

How can I ensure that my self-hypnosis session is effective?

To enhance the effectiveness of your self-hypnosis session, practice regularly in a quiet room without interruptions. Be patient and maintain a positive mindset. Having clear, achievable goals and using affirmations in the present tense can also help make your sessions more productive.